SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Season 1 of “Voltron: Legendary Defender”
We hope you weren’t stuck in a wormhole during the Season 1 finale of “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” which saw the universe coming to a grinding halt. The DreamWorks/Netflix reboot of the classic cartoon was one of 2016’s most critically acclaimed shows, with Voltron diehards applauding the updated and reimagined galaxy, the nostalgic ’80s-era synth-soundtrack and even the humor that helped tick the action along. If its surprise-hit first season was any indication of how great it was to have Voltron back, its second season brings with it even more hype!
The recently-dropped Season 2 trailer shows the team left in a most precarious position after a defeat at the hands of Emperor Zarkon, whose enigmatic history proved key to Team Voltron’s undoing. Now scattered throughout the cosmos, the Voltron team finds itself journeying, regrouping and finding new allies, as well as enemies, as its members aim to tackle the now-firmer grip that Zarkon has over the galaxy. With all the tantalizing possibilities on the table for that conflict, CBR takes a look at some of the cosmic goodies we’d like to gobble up in Season 2.
15. Zarkon Origins
We got a glimpse at the true power of the man ruling the Galra Empire and who wreaked havoc against King Alfor of Altea. Jaws dropped when Zarkon was revealed as the original Paladin of the Black Lion, possessing the lost bayard that Shiro needed. He transformed it into several weapons and showed immense knowledge when combating the Lions, whether joined or individually; as seen with Keith’s Red Lion. Apart from his power and apparent insight into beating Voltron into submission, we saw the witch Haggar harness the energy of Quintessence from the galaxy, which could well be the key to Zarkon’s mental and physical longevity over millennia. With these revelations coming fast and furious at the end, we’d like to know more about just how he came to commandeer the Black Lion. Just where did things fall apart with King Alfor? How did this despot link with Haggar? Basically, what caused his fall from grace and why does he so desperately want to conquer the galaxy? After all, what’s a great story without that plot twist of betrayal?
14. The Original Paladins
With Zarkon revealed as former Paladin of the Black Lion, we’re left scratching our heads as to the identities of the other four. We’ll just ignore the four mice the team encountered when meeting Princess Allura for the first time. Conspiracy theories aside, while Zarkon surviving for millennia doesn’t mean that the others did, it would still be epic to get the backstory of the originals. Where did things crumble and for what reasons? Zarkon clearly has his motives, so what did King Alfor and the others do when the strongest of them went rogue? What makes this even more intriguing is that this universe is one which blends science and mysticism; so whether it’s time-travel, some sort of astral connection or a spiritual gate, getting the true history, untold and uncut, from something other than the A.I. of the King could well be worth an episode. It only took one to raise the interest level in the originals, so we’re all in now!
13. Voltron Into Darkness… And Beyond
After literally being plunged into the dark abyss, we saw that Season 2 will either be taking the individual Paladins back to the places where the Lions were hidden, or to new frontiers that they will boldly have to explore. Yes, you might even call it a Star… Trek? Given that the Lions are tied to the Guardian Spirits of the Sky, Water, Fire, Forest and Land, who knows where they’ve all been marooned at present. But making their way across the galaxy and back to each other would make for great stories as they connect with potential allies and threats. How far has the legend stretched? Is Voltron revered across the cosmos? Maybe we’ll even get the team back on Earth staving off attacks? If the Lions are down, this is a great time to build that emotional web between species and add that touch of humanity and familial resonance to the show. However the showrunners decide to go, Season 2 is positively ripe with potential, and we would love to see all of the worlds and their peoples exploited to the fullest.
12. The Judas Mystery Revealed
Just why did this person commit that act of treason and betray Zarkon’s army? Thace was the one who lay in the shadows as Commander Prorok did Zarkon’s bidding. Thace ended up shocking us all, leaving no clue as to why he’d switch allegiance after letting Voltron out from the enemy’s grips in the final moments of the finale… only for Haggar throw them into limbo. We haven’t had many double-crosses that were noteworthy in Season 1 (Rolo and Nyma felt like filler and nothing of major importance), so it’s plausible that the King did have a mole inside Zarkon’s lair as a back-up. But a lot of what emerged is pure speculation, simply because Thace wasn’t expanded on at all last season. Needless to say, we’ll all be glued to our seats hearing why he did what he did. Is it part of a bigger play? How long can he hide what he did from his superiors? This Judas has a lot to answer for, even if he is a force for good.
11. Keith’s Ancestry
“You fight like a Galran,” Zarkon told Keith in their one-on-one, which got us thinking about this orphan. When he first found the Red Lion, Keith seemed connected and knew what to do, subconsciously at least. Also, how did he know to intercept Shiro when the latter crash-landed in the pilot episode? A lot of mystery surrounds the team leader, who, let’s not forget, was the first to successfully instigate the Blazing Sword against the first Robeast. Then again, when the Galran crystal caused the Castle-Ship’s training drone to attack Keith, it had some further questioning for the man who somehow always conveniently knows how to navigate Galran danger. The internet ran amok after the finale linking Keith to Thace (perhaps a son?). And with the Quintessence healing his injured hand in the penultimate episode of the season, compounding the fact that he took Zarkon head-on, Keith’s past raises huge questions. Fans of “Voltron Force” could attest to this as he had alien lineage there. So if there’s some series spillage, this could be a nice spot for it.
10. Bigger and Badder Robeasts
We were impressed with what the Robeasts brought last season.But at the same time, they lacked a certain flair, character development and distinctive personalities, which are all elements of the modern comics, as well as the older cartoons. That kind of impact, which felt like “Power Rangers” met “Transformers,” was sadly lacking. While Haggar mixing science and the dark arts to breathe life into them does work, maybe injecting more fire through pilots, such as Sendak or selecting avatars as the polar opposites of the Paladins, would make more sense. We’re hoping all this, in addition to the Quintessence, builds to a dark Voltron at some point, because the Robeasts thus far aren’t as menacing and seem to be susceptible to both dumb luck and some or another deus ex machina. They don’t strike fear into the hearts of the opposition; not yet, anyway. Hopefully, a few dark Paladins will emerge to man them and shake up the status quo.
9. History of Haggar
This version of the witch is featured as one of Zarkon’s closest and most trusted advisers. She’s the leader of the Druids, a dark magical order within the Galra Empire known for their abilities to create Robeasts and interrogate prisoners. She was responsible for Shiro’s cybernetic arm, having experimented on him during his time as a prisoner with the Galra, so it’s apparent she loves tinkering with man, extraterrestrial and machine. After seeing her aligned with the original Black Paladin and milking the powers of Quintessence, we definitely need to know more of how she and Zarkon found common ground. Just why is she serving him? Is it an ulterior motive, perhaps? But if we get a peek behind their curtains, as well as more into the Druids and their true role, we think it’ll add more depth and layers to her than being the stereotypical, one-dimensional lackey. She has more to her than just a cauldron and we want a deeper dip.
8. Make The Thugs Menacing
Clearly Sendak and Prorok wanted to impress their boss. But as with so many of the villains, apart from Zarkon, these guys just came off as lame executors of orders, as opposed to soldiers packing military guile. Sendak clearly won mind games against Shiro before being launched into the unknown reaches of space, but it’s in the moments where he slithers around the Castle-Ship that we see his prowess and capability. Still, we felt more could be done with his character, and we’re hoping he comes back with a nastier attitude. Just like Prorok, he never felt intimidating. Maybe if they were piloting Robeasts it’d be a different story, but almost all of the Galra Empire feels lifeless, without much of a villainous punch or pizzazz. The last thing we want is to have Stormtroopers-lite running around the place. The writers need to throw some scare-factor into all of these villains because we’ve already seen Zarkon unleashed. What good is a big bad who has incompetent minions?
7. Less Toilet Humor
We get it. It’s a lighter tone. And it worked. Kudos for that. But dial it back, just a notch. Please? The food jokes. The toilet jokes. The vomiting. We get that it isn’t supposed to be all bleak and dreary like what DC did with their movies, but let’s strike that balance in terms of laughs with the gravity of the situation at hand. If anything, the last two episodes kicked things into overdrive. With its high gear properly pushed and the stakes raised to tremendous levels, we feel that this is the ideal tone and tempo that the series needs to become something truly remarkable. We’ve seen the team learn and adapt; now let’s have them mature as they try to claw their way back from defeat to victory. Don’t wholly eliminate a formula that worked, but do match the pace and flow to the heartbeat and essence of the show.
6. A More Cohesive Team Voltron
It’s just a matter of time before they reunite. Just how whole they’ll be when that happens remains to be seen, as hints that Shiro may pass the mantle of leadership to Keith are being sewn. As we mentioned above, whether they’re stuck on their own or together again, one thing’s for sure: this ain’t a ride for kids anymore. Zarkon has shown his cards, with his trump painted black. So, with the ante upped, the team needs to become more of a unit, seamlessly coming together to act as a military strike force. If Zarkon alone could take down Shiro and Keith’s Lions, then you know things just got real. Maybe connecting with the old Paladins would help. Maybe there’s more info for Allura and Coran to unearth from her father. But at the end of the day, no matter where the knowledge comes from, an upgrade is needed if they’re to truly test the mettle and might of Zarkon. The time for sheer luck and a well-timed deus ex machina (as we saw with the Balmera) has expired.
5. The Battle of Bayards
The robots are a major part of Team Voltron’s arsenal. However, as we saw with Zarkon, the bayards are weapons that can not only be used to drive the Lions, but in combat as well. Zarkon used the black one to total Keith’s Red Lion, while throughout the season we saw teases of the bayards acting as engines and keys — not just for Voltron, but for the Paladins themselves. We made reference to Star Wars before and in this case, these bayards are very much like lightsabers: elegant weapons used as personal safeguards, but in this case with a massively destructive twist. To see their potential fully explored is a mouth-watering prospect, because apart from the clash of titanic robots, having the team engage Zarkon in combat on the ground could prove just as thrilling. If everyone cuts loose, expect something on the Tekkaman/Robotech scale.
4. Familiar Faces
It’s about time we saw some more faces from the old-school Voltron-verse. The number-one request on our list is Lotor, the maniacal son of Zarkon; impetuous and rash, but just as diabolical. He is also infatuated with Allura, which could make for an interesting dynamic with her comrades. Mogor is another interesting ace in Zarkon’s army who could come forward and add even more darkness to his shadow over the galaxy. What about the Underground Rebel Forces; or Manset, the alien smuggler and friend from “Voltron Force?” Chief Kalon has also been instrumental in the Lions’ past, and could add to their lore. So too could the new cadets that helped fight off Lotor in the “GoLion Team” iteration of Voltron. There’s a lot of source material to pick from. Even if they appear as nods or easter eggs, we actually think some of these new faces could be thrown into the mix to freshen things up while maintaining its high-octane presence. If anything, the galaxy just got bigger for our protagonists. Way bigger.
3. Pidge’s Happy Ending
Now, we know quite a bit centered around Pidge’s lost family, which tied directly into Shiro’s past. We’re hoping that this arc is wrapped, and not just for closure’s sake. Pidge finding her family and getting a happy ending would be pretty sweet for one of the most endearing and relatable characters in the series. Few viewers batted an eyelash over her retcon because the smart and bubbly nature of the character was so heartwarming. Pidge is the string that tethers the team together because she drives home the concept of family, and we can all agree that it would be a warm gesture to have her find it. She could even return to Earth to train new cadets. Pidge was thrust into war so young; to have her retire and fly down with the sunset behind her is something we’re sure true fans would be willing to sacrifice.
2. Don’t Fear Death
This isn’t comics, and we’re hoping that “Voltron’s” showrunners will be able to make decisions that will resonate permanently. Season 2 has already shown hints that Shiro doesn’t make it out, and of course there are always casualties of war. Death seems like an inevitability in the second season, with Allura or Coran standing at the top of most viewers’ hit lists. Maybe whoever’s dead could pop back up mystically, or appear uploaded into a sentient being at some point, but the point is that with worlds at risk, folks will perish. We’re hoping Shiro makes it out because his character development and overall arc has been profound, but if Keith is to become leader, maybe he is expendable. We won’t rule out another curveball with someone else taking the fall, though. Either way, the Voltron story shouldn’t shy from loss; in fact, it’s an integral part of its DNA.
1. Pump Up The Production
In terms of next season, from what we’ve seen so far, the animation looks even sleeker and the production crisper, which definitely excites those chomping at the bit for another dose of “Voltron.” We hope this isn’t like what happened in Season 1, where it felt like a bulk of the dynamic animation was reserved for just the Lions and Voltron battle sequences, with the non-action or middle-ground scenes falling into generic territory. “Knights of Sidonia” struck this balance well and gave a slick look throughout, so we’re hoping Season 2 has a more consistent ebb and flow. Not that its appearance was a major complaint from last season, but we’d like a more uniform and fluid look for when things aren’t in bot-mode. Again, the teaser so far has been positive on this note, so we’re hyped to see it follow through. It looks promising and our expectations are high, so consider our fancies tickled!
What did you love about “Voltron: Legendary Defender” Season 1, and what are you pumped about for Season 2? Let us know in the comments!
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