Voltron: Legendary Defender season 5 had one huge, show altering reveal after the other. I got the chance to speak one-on-one with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery on what that means for the show moving forward.
The fifth outing of Netflix and Dreamworks’ reimagining of Voltron changed the trajectory of the show in some major ways. With so much to digest, Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery took the time to answer some of my questions about those developments, and what they plan to do next.
Hypable’s exclusive interview with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery
Season 5 had the most rapid-fire reveals of any season of Voltron, each one bigger than the last. Is that a pace you’re looking to continue moving forward, or should we expect season 6 to dial it back to deal with the fallout?
Lauren Montgomery: We always try to have a couple of cool reveals happen. Sometimes things just fall into place, but we don’t plan ahead for it. We try to plan a little bit, but sometimes things just kind of end up happening. I think may this season had a few more than usual. But it doesn’t mean that we’re going to completely run out of cool, new developments happening.
Joaquim Dos Santos: This was just the culmination of characters’ through lines.
One of the biggest reveals was the confirmation that Shiro is unwittingly being used by the Galra to spy on Team Voltron. Is there more to Haggar’s control over him than his just being her eyes?
JDS: I think it’s definitely left dangling if there’s more to be had there. Exactly how far that control goes, we will have to see.
During the scene where the Paladins were on the Astral plane, some fans thought they could hear Keith’s voice? Was that the case? And if so, was it really Keith or just an echo?
JDS: You do not hear Keith there.
LM: I can confirm that we did not put any Keith there. So anyone that might have heard Keith, it’s just wishful thinking. But they’re more than welcome to just go with it.
In Keith’s absence, a friendship that really developed in an interesting way was the one between Lance and Shiro. As Lance steps up more as a leader, will we see Shiro depend and confide in him more?
JDS: I think we hinted at it a little bit. They have that moment where Shiro told [Lance] that he wasn’t quite feeling right. I don’t know how much further we take that.
LM: And Shiro doesn’t know what to confess or confide.
JDS: He’s just as confused as everybody else.
LM: But, for sure, we have every intention of Lance stepping up and being someone people depend on in Voltron. So if Shiro seeing that in him too, then ultimately that’s what we want.
Lance had several moments of vulnerability, but also some great moments of strength. His deep connection to the Red Lion, and Alfor, by way of him manifesting the original bayard was an incredible surprise. Is that a connection you’re hoping to explore some more?
JDS: Yeah, I think he’ll just continue to evolve. All the characters will. But that’s definitely the path that Lance is on. We’re not going to turn him into the opposite character. He’ll always be Lance that we love. He’s definitely evolving and growing. So we’ll continue to do that, for sure. But we’d like to think we do that with all the characters, across the board.
LM: But this is not a confirmation of the Altean Lance theory. I just want to make that clear. This does not confirm that.
JDS: Lance is human. And Cuban.
The “loverboy” aspect of Lance’s character was toned down quite a bit in season 5. Was that a conscious choice to step away from that more and allow Lance to mature into a larger leadership role? Or should we expect a loverboy resurgence in the future?
LM: I think Lance has definitely matured. As he grows up, he realizes that– I think people kind of do it, in real life. You start when you’re young, and it’s all girls, girls, girls, boys, boys, boys or whatever. But then when you grow up, you realize it’s more about respect. It’s about appreciating a person. I think Lance is just realizing that. He’s still a fun loving guy, but he’s starting to learn that it’s not about being the ladies’ man that’s what makes him cool. What makes him worthy of respect is being a good team member. So I think we’ve evolved him and I don’t think we’ll devolve him back to Mr. Hitting on Every Lady.
JDS: But he’ll have fun. He’s still fun loving Lance.
With Sam Holt heading back to Earth to prepare it for war, and the Galran Empire in disarray and looking for any advantage over Team Voltron, is it more likely now that we’ll see the conflict gravitate back to the Paladin’s home?
JDS: I think it’s safe to assume that Earth will be more of a player moving forward.
LM: Ultimately, he wants to prepare Earth for any outcome. But now that they know that there’s aliens out there, if you’re going back to Earth you’re just going to want to make sure that they’re ready to go. It’s not necessarily that they have intel that the Galra are coming directly to Earth, [Sam Holt’s] just going to be careful and have all the bases covered.
JDS: But also, Earth has been completely overlooked. But now, how the Paladins are from Earth, it just makes it more of a blip on their radar than it was before.
As that major storyline of Pidge’s search for their family has wrapped up, does that free up some time to dig deeper in to other characters, like Hunk, who hasn’t had much of a solo spotlight on his character since the Balmera episodes in season 1?
LM: I think Hunk’s story is similar in pacing to Lance’s story. Where Pidge and Keith’s stories are something that we need maybe an entire episode to focus on ahead of time, Lance and Hunk get smaller steps in other episodes. And that’s very much what happened with Lance. He hasn’t had one Lance episode, where he takes a huge leap. You’re getting his evolution over the course of the series. And that’s kind of what Hunk is going to be as well. He’s got some moments coming up, but his evolution is different from the other characters in that it’s not necessarily a coming into himself — he knows who he is, he’s the most self-aware Paladin. But he definitely has things that he wants to achieve and he want to do. You will see him taking steps towards doing that.
JDS: And, to your point, he was focused on pretty heavily for a few episodes in the first season. It’s just about distribution. And how we can give them time while still moving the story forward.
On the subject of family, Keith met his mother at the close of season 5. Will we be learning more about how Krolia came to earth and met Keith’s father?
JDS: We have a cool plan for Keith’s Mom. Without revealing exactly what they are — well, obviously they’re off doing their thing right now.
LM: But we will learn more. It’s safe to say that we’ll learn more about her.
JDS: Yeah. We really like her character. She’s really cool.
Additionally, how is that going to affect both their character’s? The Blade of Marmora, Keith, and Krolia all appear to be willing to sacrifice themselves for a bigger cause. But with Krolia and Keith finding each other again, will that change their trajectory?
LM: I think we’re already saw a little bit of that play out. With Krolia trying to make a deal to get herself and Keith out of that base. Normally, she probably would have just–
JDS: Nuked the whole thing.
LM: Yeah. But I think she compromised that mission a little bit. He got mad at her for it too. He called her on it. But she’s a Mom, and she cares about her son.
JDS: And for Keith, it’s not closure, but it’s definitely allowing him to explore some personal areas that he hasn’t had access to. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves.
Lotor and Allura had an interesting relationship throughout season 5. Lotor’s knowledge guided Allura into unlocking powers and Altean secrets that she wasn’t even aware existed. Should we be taking Lotor at face value or is Allura a part in a much larger plan for him?
JDS: That’s the million dollar question. I think with a character like that you’re always going to have that question lingering. But I think there’s also a touch — I know I’ve said this publically, part of Lotor, a portion of Lotor, maybe all of Lotor, is coming from a very genuine place. You have to realize that he had a kind of traumatic life as well. So he’s bringing all of that to the table. But he’s coming from a genuine place.
We saw them bring up that Haggar and Lotor could potentially be connected, but he shut that down very quickly. Could a definitive reveal of that change Lotor’s allegiances?
LM: We’ve kind of already seen a little bit of his reaction. Lotor is an intelligent enough person to put a few pieces together. He just doesn’t like the thought. And he doesn’t want to really acknowledge it at all. We know about his dislike of Haggar, but with Haggar finding Oriande, anything is possible now. It’s something that we’re excited about exploring. And hopefully people will be excited about it.
JDS: Also, I’ll say that I have people personally in life that don’t acknowledge their biological parents as their parents. Because they didn’t feel that they were either treated well by them, or raised by them.
LM: It’s a very complicated emotion. But clearly you can see that Lotor is not hiding the fact that he does not appreciate Haggar at all.
There’s obviously now a huge void in terms of there being a Big Bad. That was an interesting step away from a traditional Good vs Evil narrative. Will there be an antagonist that will step into that void? Or will the enemy factions continue to pull at the story from all angles?
JDS: We’re definitely enjoying playing with that very grey what constitutes good, what constitutes bad area. But whenever you have one of these situations that creates a big void, obviously there’s going to be something there to fill it. We just need to see how things evolve and what’s going to rise up to fill that big void. But who knows! It’s tough. I remember when I was a kid and I watched Star Wars, I thought all Stormtroopers were horrible human beings and bad people. And then I see the Troopers in TFA and I think, hey, maybe some of these guys aren’t so bad. Or that they were independent contractors working on the Death Star when it got blown up by the rebels. So there’s a whole grey area there. That comes into play with the Galra as well.
LM: To kind of continue on that, one of our favorite shows is Robotech. And I remember it kind of blowing my mind when ultimately the big fight between the Zentraedi and the humans was over. But the show kept going. And then they were trying to integrate the Zentraedi and make them accustomed to life on Earth. That blew my mind because I’d never seen a show do that. So, we just thought that we could tell a story in that area. We can end the life of our biggest villain, but the story keeps going. It’s not over. The credits aren’t rolling. That’s just not how life works.
JDS: What’s the fall out. What’s the shake out.
We’re inching ever closer to the 72 episode mark. Are you planning on giving Voltron a definitive end, or is there a possibility of the story growing beyond that point?
JDS: I’d argue that if comic books have ever taught us anything, it’s that nothing ever actually ends. You can kill Captain America a million times and he’ll always show back up.
LM: We’d like to think that our story, we want to kind of resolve it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an end for stories in the Voltron universe. We’ll see how we go.