Warning! SPOILERS for Voltron: Legendary Defender season 6 ahead!
Following the release of Voltron: Legendary Defender's momentous season 6, Screen Rant had the opportunity to talk with the series' executive producers, Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery. This isn't the final season of Netflix and Dreamworks Animation's Voltron reboot - in fact, season 7 will premiere at San Diego Comic Con - but season 6 does answer questions fans have been asking for a long time, wrapping up arcs the series has been exploring since season 1. In our discussion, Dos Santos and Montgomery provide insight on some of season 6's biggest surprises as well as confirm a few of our suspicions for season 7 and beyond.
Screen Rant: First off, whose idea it was for this season's "Monsters & Mana" episode? It was such a fun departure from the usual stories.
Lauren Montgomery: I don’t recall if it was one person’s idea. I know we just kind of had our little wish list of episodes that we wanted to do. Obviously we have our big, arcing story, but then we're like, ‘Oh, if we had throwaway episodes, what would we want to do?’ And I always wanted a mermaid episode, Joaquim wanted a wrestling episode - that, unfortunately, never came to fruition.
Joaquim Dos Santos: Well, we got a space wolf instead.
LM: But the kind of the fantasy/RPG/Dungeons and Dragons episode was one of those, and during our time on Voltron, we learned that Mitch Iverson, one of our writers, plays D&D pretty routinely. So, we thought it’d be appropriate to have him write it. And then it just kind of lined up in the story line that we were at a good place with our characters, where Zarkon wasn’t constantly chasing them down and they weren’t being total jerks if they just took like a little bit of time off to play a silly game like D&D.
SR: The episode is so much fun. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting a D&D spinoff for Voltron.
JDS: We're with you. We kept saying that after we worked on it and were watching the subsequent edits and stuff. We kept saying, ‘Let’s work on this show! After Voltron, let's work on this show.’
SR: Season 6 sees Allura and Lotor growing even closer. But then there's that big moment where he's accused, and it doesn't take any time at all for Allura to turn on him. Was she always a little suspicious of Lotor or does it just take that moment for her eyes to be opened?
JDS: It’s definitely a pressure cooker situation. She’s got her teammates on one side, she’s got an Altean that she had no idea was even in existence there, basically, talking about how bad a guy Lotor is. And you’ve also got Lotor, basically, admitting that he has done this. He’s basically come clean, he’s telling her like, ‘Hey, it’s for the greater good. I have good intentions.’ But at that point, he’s let her know that he’s gone to some pretty crazy lengths to make things happen.
LM: Allura, she started out very skeptical with Lotor. But as they got to know each other, he said a lot of the right things. And they weren’t necessarily lies, they were things that they really lined up on. He could understand her in a way that I think a lot of other characters couldn’t. They shared a lot of the same experiences, maybe in separate times in different ways, but they could kind of line up. And I think that made her - through their bonding moments - really want to accept him more. She was at this place where she was looking at him through rose-colored glasses. And I think this realization at the end just kind of cleared that up pretty quickly when you hear they’ve done something so horrible. All of those passes that she had been giving him are no more.
SR: Oh yeah, she is ferocious in her anger. And it's good to see her angry and grappling with the obvious guilt she has over being involved, but there's also no doubt in her mind who's really at fault here.
JDS: She judo-threw him, Atlean-style.
SR: Yeah she did! And it was awesome.
SR: One of the biggest mysteries revealed this season is 'What's up with Shiro?' It turns out Shiro really did die back in season 2 and that the Shiro who's been with the team ever since is actually a clone. But then there's even another twist in revealing that Shiro's consciousness is inside the Black Lion, allowing them to revive the real Shiro. Was it always the plan to save Shiro in the end? And was it how popular the character became that influenced this decision?
JDS: It’s not super clean. Like, this answer is not going to be the cleanest answer. Our original intention was for Shiro to, basically, kick the bucket at the end of the first run.
LM: Yeah, the Zarkon arc. End of Netflix season 2.
JDS: We had internally already started discussing way further down the line how we could, y’know, potentially if we wanted to, bring him back and have his conscious be in the Black Lion and all that stuff that ended up coming to be. We had sort of planned to maybe do that down the line. Or, y’know, reserve the right to no do it and have Shiro ride off into the sunset.
But we started getting word that Shiro was one of the more popular characters. And, y’know, without doing a disservice to the character because we’re really, really proud of the story that we ended up telling. We had to do a truncated version of what our long term plan was with him, and figure out a way through the clone story to kind of keep him around and keep him on the roster in some fashion. Again, we don’t want to do a disservice to his character or the story. We are really, really proud, but it’s a version of the original idea we had for his character.
LM: Right. And I just want to clear something up so that fans don’t get confused. Sometimes they think the production schedule for animation is a lot shorter than it is. We hadn’t really gotten fan feedback of how popular Shiro was. I think it was just amongst the executives and the people working here in anticipation of how popular they believed Shiro would become. And I think they just grew to like the character because he’s such a likable character that there was a desire to keep him around longer. It wasn’t really a matter of internet feedback that Shiro was “Space Dad” and then like, 'Everone change the story', like that generally can’t happen because animation is so farther forward in production.
JDS: Honestly, the term “Space Dad” hadn’t even entered the lexicon when we were making these decisions and got word from on high that they would prefer to keep Shiro around on the roster. Like Lauren said, animation happens so far out that it was more of an internal decision.
SR: Well, the decision to keep Shiro around led to times throughout the series where there were more Paladins than Lions. And with Keith returning, Shiro coming back to life (for real this time), and Allura remaining, it's again six pilots and five Lions. Will we see Shiro get to enjoy some well-earned retirement, or will Allura be stepping down?
LM: Are we answering this one?
JDS: We’re answering this one.
LM: All right, well, I think story-wise the way we see it is when Allura took that consciousness of Shiro from the Black Lion and placed it in the clone body, she essentially pulled everything that was Shiro out of the Black Lion. His link to the Black Lion is no more. So the Black Lion, essentially, has only one pilot and that is Keith.
JDS: The Black Lion is still cool with Shiro. He’s like, ‘You’re cool, man.’
LM: Yeah, he doesn’t hate him. But Shiro is a retired Paladin.
SR: Wow! That's super cool to know, thanks for clearing that up. Along with that, we also learn in season 6 that there's this whole colony of Alteans out there that no one knew about. That's sure to have an impact on future stories, yes? Especially for Allura and Coran.
JDS: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a super good train of thought you got going there and we’ll see how that all plays out without giving any spoilers away.
LM: Yeah, that will affect them in a big way.
SR: Okay, that's fair. We'll just wait and see. Thanks again to both of you for taking time to chat with us. We can't wait for Voltron season 7!
Voltron: Legendary Defender season 6 is now available to stream on Netflix.