At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, we had the opportunity to sit down with Lauren Montgomery, Joaquim Dos Santos, as well as the cast in attendance, to discuss all the reveals from the panel.
From Shiro’s illness, to LGBTQIA+ representation, to the wider implications for season 7, and the upcoming end of Voltron: Legendary Defender, there was plenty to discuss with the cast and crew in attendance at San Diego Comic-Con.
We’ve posted our videos in full with Lauren Montgomery, Joaquim Dos Santos, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Jeremy Shada, Rhys Darby, and Josh Hamilton below, along with some of our highlights from each of those interviews.
So, if you’ve finished crying over all of the incredible news that came out of the panel — oh, who are we kidding, we haven’t finished crying — then dig in to some of the comments made about what comes next for Voltron.
Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos
Following the reveal during the panel at San Diego Comic-Con that Shiro was suffering from an illness that would, eventually, leave him unable to fly, as well as the fact that he identified somewhere on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, the focus for executive producers Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos was on discussing those moments further.
When asked whether the body that Shiro’s soul had been transplanted into at the end of season 6 was free from his mysterious ailment, Montgomery alleviated any concerns fans might have had about his immediate physical health. “For all the evil that the Galra have done, they created these bodies where they weeded out all of the [sickness],” Montgomery said. “And so now he has this new body that has none of the disease in it. It saved his life.”
The conversation, of course, then turned to the reveal that Shiro had been in a relationship with Adam on Earth, though it ended prior to his leaving on the Kerberos mission, and what that representation means to Voltron fans.
“It was exciting. The idea of having this character, who had been so much to so many people. And none of that was based on his sexual orientation,” Montgomery said. “And just to reveal that he is a gay man, and that in no way changes his relationships with any of these people, anything that he’s done. Sometimes it’s amazing to have the stories where the character is finding themselves, but then it’s also incredibly important to have the stories where this character is fully formed, and he’s a gay man, and he’s doing amazing things. And he’s flawed, and he has his own problems. That was why I loved the idea of having Shiro be our representation.”
“And I also think just the way the story was handled,” Dos Santos added. “It’s not a big ah-ha moment. It is for the audience, because maybe a huge portion of the audience has been waiting to hear. But I think he’s in the middle of a relationship, he’s in the middle of working it out, he’s in the middle of choosing his job over his relationship. He’s got very real-world problems, that you just come into the middle of. But on a completely superficial level, we were incredibly excited.”
Bex Taylor-Klaus and Jeremy Shada
“Now we’re here,” Jeremy Shada said, to open up the roundtable interviews, along side Bex Taylor-Klaus.
Taylor-Klaus then picked up a custom, rainbow colored bayard. “This is queer,” she said, with a wide grin. “And I love it. It’s a gayard.”
The two were in higher spirits than usual, something we’d never thought possible, following the reveal that Shiro identifies as queer during the Voltron panel. But there was more to discuss than just that, as it pertained to both Lance and Pidge. In fact, as it usually does, the topic of conversation circled back to family — something that is deeply important to both characters.
“We don’t know where Sam is. We don’t know if Sam has made it home,” Taylor-Klaus said, of being asked about a potential reunion — for the first time — with her entire family unit. “We don’t know where Matt is, and that’s definitely going to weigh on Pidge if she gets home and she doesn’t know where her brother is. Again. After finding him.”
“They’re in the dark. They don’t know a lot right now,” Shada said, of where the Paladins find themselves, post-battle with Lotor on their journey back to Earth.
“They don’t know a lot,” Taylor-Klaus reiterated. “And, on top of it… look. Colleen is a spitfire. So, she’s not going to be happy that Pidge ran away. That’s going to be something to deal with. It’s going to be really interesting. Matt and Sam have already commented on the difference they see in Pidge, and now it’s time to see what has happened even since last she saw them. We’ve got some time before we get to Earth, to kind of see where Pidge goes, even from where she’s gotten to. And it’s going to be really, really beautiful to see how she interacts differently with her family now.”
Lance’s family, and his closeness to them, has been documented within the show itself, so his return to Earth and being reunited specifically with them was something that was important to discuss.
“Once they get back, they’re all going to have those experiences for sure,” Shada confirmed. “[Lance] not least of all. And I think, even with Pidge having changed, Lance has changed a good amount. They really all have. And so coming back to that different environment after going on this crazy journey, seeing all the things they’ve seen, it’s always weird. It’s kind of like a bittersweet, tender-hearted reunion that you have. But just knowing the world, and everything, has changed so drastically from what it was.”
“And I will say that Hunk and Lance both have realistically large families,” Taylor-Klaus added.
“They do. Lance has got a big family,” Shada said. “He’s got a big, Cuban family.” (Taylor-Klaus interjected that “Hunk’s got a big Filipino family.”) “Lots of nieces, and nephews, and brothers, and sisters, and cousins.”
Rhys Darby and Josh Hamilton
Last, but certainly not least, we also got to speak with story editor, Josh Hamilton, and voice actor for Coran, Coran, the gorgeous man, Rhys Darby.
Coran, of course, has often played a more comedic role on the show. But with the shift in tone as they head back to Earth, the question was posed whether some of that levity would need to be shed. “[Coran] is out of his element,” Darby said. “He’s not on his home planet, he’s not in his home space, any more. He’s on Earth, it’s their world, so he has to step up a little bit in his position of power, too, and importance. Imagine for the Earthlings, they’ve got aliens coming back, and he has so much knowledge of the universe, so he’s going to be interrogated by the Earth people about all of these things.”
“He took Allura and saved her life at some point,” Hamilton added. “He was sworn to protect her. And a lot of what he does is for Allura. So, I know you don’t see it in every episode, because that would be terrible, but it’s innate. So Coran, the character, has that in him at all times. I think he is serious, a lot, even if he can be funny at the same time.”
Earth will, equally, serve the dual purpose of taking Coran way outside of his comfort zone. So, the question was posed about what might confuse, or delight, him the most about the Paladins’ home world.
“From what I can gather, he’s going to have a lot of difficulty with just simple things,” Darby said. “Automobiles. Different. So prehistoric. Some of the animals, for him. Although for us, they’re very simple, we’re used to them. We saw when he was exposed to a cow, how that just blew his mind. So it’s going to be stuff like that.”