Netflix's Voltron: Legendary Defender didn't rely just on the Paladins to free the cosmos from the grip of Emperor Zarkon. With the witch Haggar (Zarkon's wife) and their son, Lotor, also going mad, the Blade of Marmora was a crucial ally for Team Voltron.
In terms of raw firepower and boots on the ground, they're pretty much an incomparable group. Since they're also of Galran origin, they knew exactly how to help the Lion and its pilots break the dark ambition of the Galra Empire. Now CBR is taking a closer look at the history of the Blade in this series.
WHAT IS THE BLADE OF MARMORA?
The Blade of Marmora is a group of Galra resistance fighters who existed in the centuries following Zarkon's corruption by Quintessence. They realized his thirst for power and to conquer the galaxy wasn't within their ideologies, so they broke away and secretly left spies behind. It was their duty to destabilize his reign one piece at a time as they sought out partners to end his tyranny.
The return of Voltron was the trump card they were looking for. With their fighters, the best the gunmen, sword wielders and martial artists in the cosmos, they believed the time to take the Emperor down had come. However, it was a slow process since they operated in shadow and had to be careful about exposing themselves.
Their campaign began with Ulaz freeing Shiro from Zarkon's imprisonment in Season 1, planting the seed there were other defectors in the network like him, infiltrating and ready to aid Voltron's cause. Some of these warriors, like Ulaz, would end up giving their lives to protect the Blade and keep it incognito, while ensuring Zarkon didn't know Voltron had help in the wars to come.
WHY DID KEITH JOIN THE BLADE?
After the Shiro incident, Team Voltron connected with the Blade to officially become partners. However, Kolivan (the leader) ran into conflict with Keith, who really didn't have the temperament for diplomacy, only to realize the Paladin was much more than a mere human. In a melee, Keith pulled out a luximite Marmoran Blade, indicating he belonged to the organization or was of its lineage.
He'd go on to pass the trials and it'd be revealed he was the son of Krolia, a female agent who ended up on Earth as part of her duty, where she got pregnant. Keith, a hybrid thanks to his human father, was accepted as part of the Blade, and this helped strengthen the bond Shiro wanted to forge with Kolivan. They worked together to take down various Galran outposts, but after Shiro was kidnapped, Keith ended up piloting the Black Lion as leader.
Eventually, after Shiro came back, Keith joined the Blade full-time and went on taking out remnants of the Galran Empire. Lotor, their ally at the time, took control of the Empire, which left it up to Keith and the Blade to help corral insurgents. Sadly, when Lotor broke bad and died, he gave the reins back to Haggar, the Blade members were hunted down en masse, which reduced their numbers drastically. Keith saw himself at this point as more Blade than Paladin, and realized he needed to do whatever it took to prevent the society's extinction.
HOW DID THE BLADE RETAKE THE EMPIRE?
Season 7 led to Keith rescuing Kolivan from the clutches of Haggar's lead assassin, Macidus. It turns out he was responsible for killing most members off, so once Keith killed him, the few members left had to consolidate into one faction rather than being in cells split across the galaxy.
They had to streamline their approach, especially since Keith was back with Team Voltron. It required a restrained strategy that cost the lives of many soldiers, but eventually, they worked with the entire alliance Voltron assembled to help battle Haggar after Zarkon and Lotor's death. It all came to a head when Haggar tried to reshape the multiverse, only to die and take Princess Allura with her as a sacrifice.
In the closing moments of Season 8, we saw Kolivan and Krolia appointed as the Galra representatives of the Galactic Coalition. Galran soldiers who were fed up of Zarkon's family easily joined their cause, since it was much more beneficial to their future. Keith turned the Blades of Marmora into a humanitarian relief organization. He had Lotor's former generals, Acxa, Zethrid, and Ezor, helping out as well, as they made it their priority to undo the damage Zarkon's empire caused.