Pidge Gunderson’s garnered a lot of attention in the past three years. Voltron was always a thing, but Voltron: Legendary Defender helped launch them into the spotlight and gave the character a very different backstory from what it previously was. Yes. Previously. There have been three other incarnations of Pidge. If anyone’s watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Transformers, then they have probably used to the concept of a multiverse and well-versed in reboots. However, Voltron and Pidge are a little different. We’ll mostly be focusing on the Voltron: Legendary Defender (VLD) Pidge, but in order to know where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Pidge.
10 Voice Actors
Pidge has had four voice actors in three series. Well, more if we count the international actors. For now, we’ll focus on the English-speaking ones. Sorry, GoLion. The first of Pidge’s American voice actors was Neil Ross in 1984. Voltron coincided with the massive 1980s toy cartoon craze, so it fit in perfectly with He-Man, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so you may recognize Neil Ross from those franchises as well.
Billy West took over in 1998 for Voltron: The Third Dimension, though Neil Ross stayed on as Keith. West is probably most famous for a role he picked up a year later: Philip J. Fry from Futurama. In Voltron Force, Pidge was voiced by Samuel Vincent. It was a very short-lived show, premiering only on Nicktoons Network when they were distributing Iron Man: Armored Adventures. Bex Taylor-Klaus took over the mantel in Voltron: Legendary Defender, ushering in a new age for representation and inclusion to the franchise. Up until the last few seasons, the show was really good about not referring to Pidge as he/him or she/her. Many fans took this as Pidge being non-binary, though, in canon, it was never outright stated.
9 Pidge’s Birthday
During the height of VLD’s popularity, the creative team announced the birthdays of most of the major characters in the show. Pidge’s was announced at the 2017 WonderCon panel, along with the Season 3 teaser trailer and subsequent April Fools Day Lotor/Kaltenecker photoshop reveal. Pidge’s birthday is April 3rd, making them an Aries. Given Pidge’s spirit, determination, and occasional frustrated outbursts, it makes sense.
In most incarnations, Pidge is male. VLD decided to shake that up a bit, making Pidge a girl who cross-dressed in order to get into the Galaxy Garrison unnoticed. As mentioned previously, Pidge’s gender is played pretty ambiguously. In canon, we don’t get confirmation of whether or not Pidge identifies as non-binary. The show plays around with this a lot, though mostly decided that Pidge is a girl. Bex Taylor-Klaus came out as non-binary in 2018, coinciding with the end of the show, so many fans interpret Pidge as non-binary as well.
7 Gunther Bae-Bae
It’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment from Season 1 of VLD. During one of Pidge’s flashbacks in “Fall of the Castle of Lions,” we see the entire Holt family at the dinner table. This is where the wonderful “freeze-dried peas” meme comes from, if that counts as a meme outside of the fandom.
The family’s dog can be seen begging for food at the table. Originally, on the official Voltron website no less, the dog’s name was Gunther. This led to some fan theories about how Pidge came up with the last name Gunderson due to the similarity. The show producers later changed it to Bae-Bae. Why?
In VLD, Pidge has an older brother, Matt, who becomes a major part of Pidge’s character development and the series as a whole. After being abducted by the Galra on Kerberos, Matt was later rescued by rebels and joined them in hopes of finding his father and a way back to Earth. In the original series, Pidge had a twin brother named Chip. They were taken in by foster parents and when the family decided they wanted to adopt Pidge, Pidge wouldn’t let them without adopting Chip as well. As a nod to twin Chip, Pidge and Matt contribute to building a metal brother named Chip.
5 Katie Holt
Making Pidge a girl in VLD was a decision largely made and pushed for by Lauren Montgomery. As executive producer and co-showrunner, Montgomery wanted to show that female characters could share the space of male counterparts while not changing the plot. Thus, Katie Holt was born and somewhat unintentionally became a non-binary icon. In general, this Pidge is the first female pilot of the Green Lion to retain that title through the series. Pidge’s age was also specified for VLD, claiming that she was 14 at the start of the series and 16 by the end. She remains the youngest of the Paladins, though Keith probably really had her beat due to the whole asteroid thing.
4 Not From Earth?
The only Pidge to come from a planet other than Earth was the original one. Hailing from the planet Balto, it was implied that Pidge was either of Earth descent or born on Earth and transported to Balto at some point during his childhood. At one point, Voltron Force responded to a distress signal coming from Balto. Though they attempted to help, the planet wound up exploding.
3 Wait, There’s a Comic?
Yes, and we’re not talking about the VLD tie-in. In 1985, Modern Comics took on the Voltron brand and released a mini-series based on Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Since then, Pidge has also appeared in the Devil’s Due Voltron comics. He had a very different upbringing, being abandoned at a convent at the age of 6. Bullied by kids in the orphanage who felt threatened by his intelligence, Pidge was given an out by the New West Point military. When that social situation proved to be just as bad, if not worse than the orphanage, Pidge jumped on a search for Voltron just to get away from it all.
2 Frageelay? Must Be Italian!
Pidge, aka Katie Holt, was confirmed off-screen as Italian. The other paladins were given the same treatment since some of their ethnicities were ambiguous. Without a doubt, Shiro is Japanese, retaining his original Japanese name all the way from GoLion. Lance and Hunk are Cuban and Samoan respectively. Keith is left super vague, only being defined as half-human and half-Galra.
1 Batman in Disguise
Voltron: Legendary Defender has three sets of comics that tie into the show. The first run of comics takes place between the Balmera episodes and “Crystal Venom.” In one chapter, the Paladin, minus Pidge, are mind-controlled by mushrooms. Well, they look like mushrooms. They all start attacking Pidge.
This is when we find out that Pidge is kind of, you know, the strongest Paladin (that is until Allura takes her rightful place as the Blue Paladin). She not only takes down everyone, but she outsmarts Shiro by hacking into his Galra arm via the coding she learned from other Galra tech and knocks him out with his own arm. Yeah. She literally has a takedown plan for everyone.