A full transcript of the ABTV Voltron March 4 interview with JDS and LM is below the cut. Special thanks to @voltronisruiningmylife for helping me get it done since it was a monster to transcribe.
KC: It’s been a very long road, and here we are at the end of it. We are the Afterbuzz TV Voltron: Legendary Defender after-show and this is our series retrospective. We are–we’re gonna talk about character arcs. We’re gonna talk about stories. We’re gonna talk with some very special guests, and we are, as always, going to have a wonderful time tonight because within the next two hours we are finishing this up and then the Tavern of Lions will be closing its doors for good. So, thank you for joining us for this incredible episode and for this incredible ride, and for the very last time team, it’s time to form Voltron.
Voice overlay: You’re tuned into Afterbuzz TV, the ESPN of TV talk. Now let the buzz begin.
MS: I’m not crying, you’re crying.
KC: We’re all crying. Everyone’s crying. It’s fine, everything’s fine! Hi. Happy Monday.
MS: Happy Monday, everybody, yeah.
KC: Welcome to the end of the universe. There’s a restaurant here. Yeah this is what you’re in for the next two hours. Hello, everyone, we are the Afterbuzz TV Voltron: Legendary Defender after-show. This is the series retrospective. This is everything. This is it. We are going to talk about it all in summary for the most part, and we’re going to have a grand ol’ time. I have with me tonight green lion Megan Salinas.
MS: Hey, everybody!
KC: Rejoining us this evening, red lion Emma Fyffe!
EF: Hey! It’s nice to be back for just this one, you know, very special, sort of, series retrospective. Thanks for having me.
KC: It is so good to have you back for the wrap party. I am black lion Katie Cullen and we have our two wonderful special guests joining us again this week for the last time. We have our showrunners Joaquim dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery.
All hosts: [cheering]
KC: Welcome back, you lovely human beings, and thank you for giving us this show.
JDS: Oh, please.
LM: Thanks for being fans of it. I think we’ve probably said it 8 billion times, but we loved making the show. We loved how passionate so many of our fans were about the show, and it was just, like, a labor of love and it was us just trying to make something that really spawned from our nostalgia and all of the things that influenced us over the years.
JDS: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s it. It was, you know, we loved this property going back to a time when our brains weren’t able to really process what story was. We just knew, “we like that” and that stayed with us.
EF: It was interesting. Today on Twitter, somebody had tweeted something that was basically a poll of what were the first five anime series you can remember watching. And for me Voltron was definitely one of them, and it’s one of those things where again I was too young to really process what was happening, but I just went, “This is cool! I like this thing!”
MS: Yeah, it came out at a time when you didn’t even know what anime was.
EF: Oh yeah!
MS: And so you’re just like, you’re just like, “this is cool, it’s unique, there are robots, there’s an awesome girl pilot”. And yeah, it was a good–for it’s time-for it’s time it was a fantastic adventure, and I feel like you guys updated that feeling very well.
JDS: Aw, thanks.
KC: It definitely was. This was just a wonderful thing. Before we get started, we have house rules. We always have house rules. Yeah, the spoiler warning is, of course, down because we are talking about literally everything. If you would like to be a part of this conversation, if you’re watching live, hello, welcome to the livechat. There is also our hashtag #ABTVVoltron. And, um yeah, this is going to be a big one, I think, and as always the third, final, and most important house rule is be nice or get out. [laser sound effect] And you say that we’re joking, but, um, those of you that were in livechat before stream were there when we disabled it as a test. And I’ve banned three people already tonight. So, we’re not kidding: be nice or ya gone.
MS: I do have to ask, Josh, where are you getting these sound effects?
EF: I know, right? The sound effects are great!
KC: Oh, they’re wonderful.
Josh: I have a plethora of so many things.
KC: We appreciate your plethora. Josh is our Coran tonight and has been for this entire season and he is absolutely wonderful and we love him. But yeah, everyone has opinions. Please feel free to express your opinion, please feel free to express your opinions in a respectful manner. Respectful to your fellow people in chat, respectful to your hosts, respectful to our guests. And if you fail to be respectful, ya done.
MS: And here’s the thing guys, it is perfectly okay to disagree. It’s okay to disagree with all of us. We don’t speak for the entire fanbase. This is all just only our opinions.
EF: I was gonna say, I don’t think we even all have the exact same opinions.
MS: No, no.
JDS: You embrace those differences.
KC: That’s what makes this show fun. If we all sat down and said “Well, I like this thing!” “Well, me too!” “Me three!” “Me four!” Now let’s fill another 45 minutes. That’s not how this works.
EF: No, definitely. Yeah.
KC: So, yeah. Them’s the rules, ladies and gentlemen. And before we get going, I would like to toast to Voltron.
[MS and EF “aww”]
EF: I have actually not had one of these before.
KC: This is the first time we’ve had the Sendak on Ice on air, and it’s going to be the last time I make one of these because it turns out one of the main ingredients has been out of production since 2016.
EF: Oh, wow.
KC: So, love you guys.
EF: Up high.
KC: To Voltron!
[John Cena airhorn meme sound]
EF: Tastes like–it tastes like a Jones soda or something. Like a fancy soda that comes in a glass bottle.
JDS: Yeah, it’s good.
KC: I like ‘em sweet. Straight quintessence shot right to the heart. Alright, let’s get rolling.
KC: Let’s pick up where we left off from last week, actually, because there was a big part of the, uh, last episode of season 8 that we didn’t have time to touch on and that’s the epilogues. Now, I actually want to open the floor to you guys ‘cuz I–my understanding is there’s a story behind them? And we’d love to hear it.
JDS: Yeah, there is. Um, so, you know, when we originally conceived of the epilogues, uh, you know, the conceit was that we were gonna do these goofy kind of throwaway things that were, like, I don’t know, catching up with characters that we didn’t, you know.
EF: Oh yeah!
JDS: So we had one that was, was–
EF: Like characters we met in the space mall?
JDS: Yeah, like characters we met in the space mall and what they ended up doing. We had, like–
MS: What’s Kaltenecker up to?
JDS: We had Zethrid, I think, teaching, like, a crossfit class.
LM: Yeah, she had a whole crossfit line.
MS: Oh my gosh!
JDS: And it was cute, and it was fun. Um, and you know, by the time we were sort of crafting that portion, it’s right when we were sort of on the receiving end of the fallout from season 7, specifically the Adam and Shiro stuff.
JDS: Which we totally understood, there’s sort of a, you know, a big story that surrounds all that. So we made a decision to sort of, uh, recraft the epilogues to one, I think, include Shiro’s beat, but as a result all the other characters, you know, it would’ve felt–I don’t know–it would’ve felt a little weird if we just done, like, “hey–”
LM: Yeah, silly crossfit Zethrid–
EF: Then Shiro’s wedding! [indistinct] Which everyone was at, too!
JDS: Uh, so, you know, we definitely… They were sort of, Shiro specifically was crafted around the idea that we were attempting to reach out to the fanbase that was affected negatively by–
EF: Sure, absolutely.
JDS: –you know, the storyline between Adam and Shiro. So, uh, you know, I think even as we were doing it, like Lauren and I were looking at each other and we were like, “Some people are gonna hate this. Some people are gonna view this as like, a giant band-aid. Some people are gonna view this as, like, pandering. We knew it. We sort of ran it up the chain, uh, at DreamWorks and, you know, there’s again–we’ll get into the background of all that Adam and Shiro stuff. But thankfully, they were–they were open to allowing us to do it because it really was our way of trying to canonically confirm on screen the sort of vagaries around his orientation.
EF: Yeah, I think that I just sort of wanted to address that right off the bat. Just-just from the point of view, is like, for me as a viewer watching that scene, I did not feel like that scene was pandering. I understand why people might feel that way and might feel like it was a big, giant band-aid, but at the same time, a lot of complaints that people had was, “Well, they didn’t even have any conversations together!” I’m like, “This is supposed to be a couple years later, you guys. It wasn’t–this isn’t like, the day after.”
JDS: Yeah, but I honestly think that ideally, had–had the story been available to us–
JDS: –had, had the studio at the time been open to us exploring that, we don’t like to just jam characters together.
EF: No, absolutely.
JDS: Our ideal situation would have been to build that relationship.
EF: Oh, sure, yeah, definitely. Um, yeah, but I-I-I feel like I-I understand the mixed feelings about it, but ultimately I’m appreciative of, like you said, the message of, “Okay, well, we feel like people felt like they weren’t a hundred percent sure that Adam and Shiro were definitely a couple, so like, let’s-let’s really address the fact that-that Shiro, who is your, like, super-manly hero is a gay man,” and-and-and the importance of that shouldn’t be belittled by any stretch of the imagination.
JDS: It shouldn’t, but I, you know, again it’s-it’s sort of like we-we can see this thing from a multifaceted view. So, like, as an outsider, I’ve looked at shows and immediately sort of written it off as, like, “Ah, here we go again.”
Hosts: Yeah, yeah, sure.
JDS: I-I think we totally get it. I think we were hoping that people would be able to kind of read between the lines, and there were certain people that could. And I think we have a relationship with you guys, ya know, we talk and hang out so you guys sort of understand where we stand on the issues. So, um, I think that-that plays into it and, you know, obviously appreciate your understanding. I don’t know.
EF: Why, yeah, as you say, I can’t look at this show without my own biases of knowing you guys and having had conversations with you about, like, the process of making this show.
JDS: That’s right.
JDS: Um, but I think, you know, if you’ll allow us to just go back to the sort of, like, the story point between Adam and Shiro, you know, and this isn’t… I think it’s more emblematic of kind of the state of the industry overall and our specific little nook of animation, which was, we were right in this, like, middle area and-and that goes for us as showrunners and for the show in general. So, we weren’t creator-owned, we weren’t creator-driven–I mean, we were creator-driven in the fact that they allowed us to tell a deep story the way we wanted to–but we don’t-we didn’t create Voltron. You know what I mean? For all intents and purposes, this is, like us taking over something like Transformers.
EF: Sure, one hundred percent.
JDS: So there was only so much leeway we had with the stories that we could tell, and honestly, when the Adam and Shiro storyline was sort of being played out and we were sort of meeting some resistance, you know, Lauren and I kind of looked at each other for a moment and said, like, “How are we gonna handle this? Is this something we, like, bail on? Or, like, what do we do here? Like, do we just, like, up and leave? You know, that really wasn’t an option for us.
EF: Of course not.
JDS: And yeah, but also, you know because we had a crew, just like–
LM: It’s not-it’s not just like, “Oh I can’t afford my mortgage!” You know, we have a crew that we care about we brought onto this show. If we abandoned them, we-we don’t know what’s in store for them. We don’t know, do they get to stay on? Do they get to keep their jobs? Does someone else come on and then they’re working under someone else that they didn’t sign up for? Or–
JDS: Or they’re working under someone else that’s just gonna be like, “Alright, we’re just gonna finish the show and not really do right by the rest of it.” Like–
LM: We, regardless of what we could do specifically within the show, we knew that at least we could send the larger thematic message through the show, and so that kind of became our focus.
JDS: Right, so to get into the weeds of it just a little bit, our original conception, like our original idea for Adam and Shiro, it’s-it’s similar to what you guys saw play out on-screen. There were differences. They both shared an apartment, the scene that you saw, it didn’t take place in, like, the officer’s lounge. Adam was not a member of the Galaxy Garrison, he was a dude that had a job that looked like a working professional. And they had a conversation that clearly displayed that they loved each other and that the relationship was just sort of coming to an end because Shiro was choosing, you know, the Garrison over their relationship. You know, as we sort of got through the process of premise, script, it went all the way down the line. It got storyboarded. And then at some point, you know, we received pushback from the studio and you know, we were sort of a little confused, like, “hey, how did it go, like, so far down the line before we received pushback?” And you know, this is not like a, like, a vilifying of DreamWorks or anything, like, every exec that we ever interacted with was, it was like, “hey, we understand why you want to tell this story. We understand where you’re coming from. It’s a little bit bigger than that. You know, there’s-there’s other, sort of, controlling parties with Voltron which makes it unique. It’s not just a DreamWorks-owned property.” And it just–I think logistically it just got really, really weird.
EF: Well, and like you were saying, it-it’s not something–it isn’t something that you created, so there were certain limitations in terms of, as you say, like, what, how far you could go with stuff you wanted to do with the story, I think.
JDS: Well, yes, but I mean there’s also a, you know, weird sort of hypocrisy there with that. Like, we’re able to show thousands of characters, you know, basically dying on-screen, [hosts indistinctly shouting over him] but we can’t–
MS: –that planet that-that Lotor was working with being on fire! But two people that love each other–
JDS: It’s inherent hypocrisy, but it’s like, one that’s frustrating for us as creators, but I think when we sort of got, you know, we sort of revised the script, we sort of revised, you know, we tried different avenues and it was clear that it was something that wasn’t available to us. It was a storyline, so we revised it. So we made the revision, we basically-we essentially made them like Goose and Maverick for all intents and purposes. It was like they were, you know–we revised the setting. We revised that–what the nature of their relationship. And as we sort of, like, moved down the process, you know, we got to the point where Earth’s invasion was happening and we were like, “We’ve seen Voltron cut through, like, every Galra cruiser. We’ve seen the Galra basically reduced to competitive,” like, not a joke at that point, but we were looking for ways to make them intimidating. We were looking for ways to, like, make Earth’s loss feel heavier.
KC: Yeah, you want them to stop being Stormtroopers.
JDS: Yeah, exactly. So, um, you know, we decided to put Adam on the front lines, to make, you know, Santa’s decision that much–her hubris and all that mess, you know–all the more sort of real. And-and, you know, so at that point it was like, essentially we were like, “Okay, it’s like Tom Cruise crying over Anthony Edwards in Top Gun. Sorry, anybody that’s not forty, you don’t understand that reference.
LM: They were flight partners.
KC: I’ve seen Top Gun.
EF: I understood that reference.
JDS: They were flight partners.
LM: They were flight partners, Anthony Edwards died in a… what was it?
JDS: F-14 Tomcat.
MS: I’m sure the reboot will be out in a couple years.
KC: They better have volleyball. They better have volleyball, I tell you what.
JDS: That’s right.
JDS: But we got into even weird situations where it was like, you know, I had a, like, Tracer statue, like, prominently placed on my desk, and like, we were like, “Hey, this awesome show Overwatch, with which we share a bunch of fans, like, has Tracer as, like, their lead character and she’s awesome.”
KC: The poster girl for the game of the year is a lesbian.
JDS: That’s right.
EF: And I was gonna say, I-I think too probably for you guys, and I mean, I may be making assumptions that are completely incorrect here, but I think there was a level of, you know, so many people were aware of your involvement with shows like Legend of Korra that had an ending wherein two women ended up in a relationship with one another, which again, actually, when you-when you look at it’s vague-ish.
JDS: It’s vague, but I will say it’s paid off because their relationship built naturally through the body of the show.
EF: That’s very true.
JDS: And that’s what’s important, you know, I think that is what’s important. We were obviously approaching Shiro’s orientation from-through flashbacks trying to show that he was in a-just a mature relationship.
JDS: Um, so it was different.
EF: A-and I think I’ve had some conversations, and I actually wrote an article about it for fandom one time where I was discussing the fact–and this was pre, uh, the final season coming out–and I was basically saying, you know, I understand people’s frustration with the whole Shiro scenario, however, just because the person who he was in a relationship with got killed off, like, doesn’t mean that he’s no longer gay. And I-but I-being completely understanding of people bemoaning the trope of “bury your gays”, which definitely does exist and I’m not saying that it doesn’t and that it’s not a problem, but it is important to know that, again, you have this character who is very much your sort of quintessential, like, alpha male.
JDS: That-that was the trope that we were trying to, like, sort of step on was that, you know. I grew up with characters like Duke. To a much lesser degree, he’s a big, giant robot Optimus Prime. The idea of Optimus Prime being with another Optimus Prime was off the table. Like it was a no-go.
KC: That’s because he’s with Megatron.
MS: Obviously! That is canon!
KC: Yes! They’re obviously exes and that’s why the war happens. [laughter] But the “bury your gays” thing, it sounds like-it sounds like it was either gonna be bury your gays or no gays and that’s a rough choice.
JDS: Okay, well, okay, so here’s where we arrived at this. And-and again, you know, we were pointing to things like Overwatch. We were pointing to Steven Universe, saying like, “Guys.”
EF: Oh, absolutely!
JDS: They’re different scenarios. We, I mean, we were in a slightly different position. We didn’t have, you know, that position of being the creators of this IP. And we also weren’t a video game that was directly marketed to, like, teens and above. We were, for all intents and purposes, like, started as a show for boys, like, 6 to 11 to sell as many toys as possible. And that’s just, like, a fact. That’s business and-and it sort of is what it is.
LM: Yeah, I think another unfortunate factor is the fact that animation is so far ahead of the schedule as far as releases that, you know, sometimes really important decisions are being made before people even realize what the core audience should be and you have to–it’s a little bit like gambling, kind of–you gotta put all your bets on this one area, and hope that that plays out.
EF: Oh, yeah! Well because it’s before you can get–because you’ve got the majority of your content written before you can even really gauge an audience reaction at all, as you say, let alone, like, determine your core audience.
KC: Animation is a multiple-year pipeline, a lot of people don’t get that.
JDS: But yeah, specifically with season 7 and 8, we basically held onto season 7. So season 8 was, like, done by the time season 7 was dropping. We had, like, a month left. When reactions for season 7 started coming in and that was-that was day of the drop. We were in a weird position. To DreamWorks’s credit, I think the tide started changing internally. They came back to us and said, “Okay, hey, we’re open to explore this relationship between Adam and Shiro.” So we were in this weird position where we had, like, all the animation done we had $0.00 left in the budget in terms of like what we could do, and it was like, “Alright we know Adam’s fate is what it is, do we do this and sort of, like, take this step knowing that we’re going to take some flack?” And we decided to do it, so we revised the dialogue. It was for–you can probably see it in the animation. If you really pay attention, it’s like, it’s literally our editor cutting out mouths and like puppeting different dialogue. The dialogue is pretty vague, it’s sort of the best we could do, and that was a process of, sort of, discussing what we could actually have them say. Season 7 goes down the way it does, pretty-pretty… I think our other big “if we could go back and do it again,” we would not have gone to Comic-Con. [Hosts make “ohhh” noise] We would not have shown the clip at Comic-Con.
LM: We learned a big lesson about managing expectations [everyone echoes LM saying “expectations”] for sure. It’s-it’s such a weird thing because, you know, we’re-we’re in this show, we’re making 78 episodes. You kind of get to this point where you really can’t see the forest through the trees. Like, we lost a bit of our objectivity, and so we’ve kind of gone through all of these versions of the Adam and Shiro scene. And so when we kind of got to this point where, like, some light was peeking in and people were revisiting what we could do, we wanted to celebrate.
Host: Yeah, of course!
LM: Like, we were so excited.
EF: Yeah, no, I-I mean, I-I’m–I was there during that Comic-Con panel. I talked to you guys right after and-and I was literally, I-I had been–I had been at the Geek and Sundry and Alpha party the night before, I had stayed out way too late, and I was sitting next to my friend Michelle, and during that scene between Shiro and Adam it was very clear to us that they were a couple. Like, she, like, I remember she, like, started–when my friend Michelle gets excited she just hits people–so she starts, like, hitting my arm and then we were both so excited we, like, tried to lean in but we were both very tired and we clocked heads. And-And I–but again for me, it was like I–and I-I texted Josh–and I was like, “Oh my god, this is so great!” And yeah. And-and I remember watching season 7 in, you know, in the comfort of my own home and-and-and seeing how things went down for Adam and feeling sad, but also thinking, “hoo, I have a feeling there’s gonna be some people that are really mad about this.”
JDS: Yeah, yeah yeah. And it was, I mean, totally understandable. I think–
LM: Yeah, I think, like, again once-once that came down, it kind of snapped us and made us realize, “Oh yeah, this is what we didn’t see.” Like, this is-this is what happens when you’re, like, so, like, laser-focused on the show that you-you don’t get to compute it through the fans’ eyes anymore. You’re kind of just in the creator space.
EF: I think, also you know, you were contending with a fanbase who–so, like, growing up I was really into Gundam Wing. So, to me, it is not surprising that there’s such a large, sort of young, teenage girl fanbase of this show because it sparked a lot of the same sort of, like, fandom interests that I had for Gundam Wing when I was-when I was a teenage girl.
KC: Teenage girls like fighting robots so much.
EF: Girls like fighting robots and cute boys piloting them. That’s just-I’m just throwing that out there!
JDS: Girls also like genuine character. I think that’s the thing that–and that–it dawned, I think we knew it because we had worked on, like, Avatar and we worked on Korra, and we knew that there was an audience thirsting for that type of content. So when we go to Comic-Con and the crowds, every time we went to a different con, it was like more and more female representation in the crowds and more and more questions about the characters and not so much about the big you know.
JDS: You know, I think our, sort of like, machine was in place for what the show was being marketed towards and we were like, “That’s a train that is not really stopping.” But our audience, we recognize, is diverting another way.
MS: Absolutely. And that’s, not to bring other shows into it, but there are other shows where they’re, they experience that same sort of pressure point where the-the show was intended for a particular demographic to sell particular merchandise to a particular group, and when another group latches onto it and gets really excited about that, instead of, sort of, course-correcting and being like, “Oh, we can-we can sell to this group,” instead the show gets taken off the air.
JDS: It’s, like, viewed as a failure or whatever.
KC: Young Justice.
MS: Yeah. I wasn’t gonna name any names!
KC: I mean, we know that’s what happened to it.
JDS: But the great thing, though–
KC: And now it’s back!
JDS: Yeah, it’s back because I think culturally we’re in a very different place with regards to what animation, who it’s playing to, which is awesome.
LM: Yeah, the type of shows that we always wanted to make and always wanted to work on. I think we talked a little bit about this last week, but there was no avenue to really make those shows when we started Voltron, and we were very used to playing in our animation boys toys box. And now those avenues exist, which is magnificent. It’s huge for us because, you know, there was a time when we honestly, we didn’t know if we’d see it in our career. We were always the sad people like, “We’re in America, if we were in Japan we could make these shows.”
JDS: We were also like, “We’re gonna have to figure out really clever ways to work in, you know, these bigger elements and the more mature storyline.
MS: That’s what you guys were talking about a lot last week, is wanting to make the show something bigger than what people expected it to be. To elevate it to something more important.
JDS: But I–so I mean, we’ll continue on and sort of, like, explain how everything played out all the way through-through the-the epilogue stuff. But to DreamWorks’ credit, like, look, they’ll-they afforded us a ton of freedom to explore story and build characters with depth, and like-like heart-wrenching backstories where we’re like, “Is this villain, like, am I feeling true emotion for this villain’s, like, arc right now?” This is, you know, that that’s stuff a-and these types of shows, it’s sort of few and far between. And I know, you know, I’m sure there’s a whole contingent of the fanbase that’s like, you know, “Whatever, dude. Big excuse.” I get it, we all get it. We’ve all-we’ve all sort of been there, but for us it was a big deal.
EF: Yeah, I’m never ever gonna get over baby Lotor, ever.
JDS: It’s tragic. It’s sad. I know!
EF: He’s so cute! Why did they animate him so cute!
JDS: I know!
MS: His eyes were so big.
KC: [indistinct] gone full anime.
JDS: I was having a baby at around that same time. I was like, “My son!”
KC: [singing] “Look at my son!”
MS: And-and talking about a little bit about representation, I know that obviously the Adam and Shiro and the-the epilogue is what a lot of people really wanted us to discuss tonight, but, um, I had one or two people reach out also wanting to discuss a little bit of Ezor and Zethrid because that was… When-when they got their final story beat, I was so-I was so satisfied with it. It was–again, I don’t want to speak for anybody except for myself, like I don’t represent any group other than me. My opinions are my own–but seeing their relationship and seeing the-the way their arc went, I was very satisfied with their sort of redemption arc and sort of all but confirming that yeah they were a couple.
KC: As the biromantic ace woman on the panel, I believe I screamed “space pirate lesbians” when that happened. Can confirm, space pirate lesbians.
EF: I enjoyed that, as well as my new ship: Veracxa.
JDS: Veracxa. I think that’s about as legit a ship you’re ever gonna get.
MS: Emma texting me in the middle of my-my watch through season 8 going, “Hey, they’ve had one conversation and I’m all about it.”
KC: I just want Rizavi to puppet master all of this. She is the one, like, leaving notes in people’s lockers or going, “Hey! Do you want to eat lunch together?”
MS: And not only that, she’s taking Kinkade’s camera and turning this into a show. It is absolutely.
JDS: It’s like, Real World on the Atlas
EF: I was-I was gonna say, it’s like Tara’s House.
JDS: How dare you! Generational, you kids! It’s Real World!
KC: She just brings the footage back, puts one clip of it on the internet, and says, “Selling it to the highest-bidding network.”
MS: I am positive that Zara would absolutely love this and would totally be down to reprise her role to make this show a reality.
JDS: Uh, yeah. If you would allow me to continue with the [indistinct] before we get too sidetracked. Fallout. Season 7. Actual depression. Like, terrible. Studio’s like, “What is going on” and-and they sort of turned to us. At this point, you know, I think She-Ra is either in development or they’re like, full tilt, sort of, going, and the studios, like, sort of figured out where they stand. So, awesome. It’s awesome.
JDS: We wish it’d happened a little earlier. But it’s-it’s really cool, um, and they sort of turned to us and said, you know, “How-how do you want to address this? How do you want to handle this?” And you know, we, at that point, we had already put out our, sort of, public statements because we just felt like, “Oh my gosh,” like–
MS: “What do we do?”
JDS: –it’s coming down on us. Rightfully so. Um, and so we sort of crafted the, uh, the, you know, Shiro and Curtis marriage as a result. It-it was sort of like a-like a sub-complaint that came out of the Adam and Shiro thing, which was like, “Hey, appreciate it,” but what was there was kinda–
Host: Not clear?
JDS: –was kinda not really clear, like it wasn’t explicit, it wasn’t, you know, they weren’t looking for anybody to, like, be, like, kissing or you know, doing anything like that. But they wanted something a little bit more tangible.
JDS: So this was, like, our way of reaching out to fans and it was like a, like a sort of animated, you know, apology or like an animated sort of olive branch.
EF: I mean, I also think that it-it-it sort of needs to be said that in terms of the fanbase that there is a difference between wanting representation and wanting your ship to be canon.
KC: And I think a lot of this was disappointment that one ship did not become canon. And just because your ship’s not canon doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
EF: No, no, no!
KC: It doesn’t mean it’s a bad ship.
EF: And on top of that it is-it is completely okay to want both. They’re not independent of one another, but there-there is a level of-of you have to recognize that your ship is about you. It’s about you nine times out of ten, especially when it comes to young women exploring your sexuality in a way that is very safe because it doesn’t involve any women. But it’s about you. It’s not about you wanting representation necessarily.
JDS: I think that there’s-there’s definitely that. I think there’s also, you know, I think you can’t deny when, like, two beautiful people are in a room, you’re like, “You should be doing something!” I think, sort of, the shipping phenomenon in general also speaks to the fact there’s a hugely underserved portion of the fandom who’s just not seeing something they want to see.
EF: Oh, yeah! Definitely! And I mean, you know, I’ve enjoyed a lot of the, like, fan content that’s come out of Voltron.
MS: The fan community in terms of the artistic stuff that comes out, it’s incredible what people create and the fact that you guys have been able to inspire that creativity shouldn’t also be something that’s diminished.
EF: Oh, definitely not.
MS: For-for all of the, um, the LGBTQ audience members who maybe felt conflicted with this particular epilogue. I know one person reached out to me, going that they wanted more, and one person reached out that, like, they felt that, like, Shiro walking away from the military wasn’t something that fit his character and that’s actually something we’d like to speak to you about because I-I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment. I totally understand where that perspective comes from. But the way it was worded in terms of he left the battle behind, I, yeah. He-he has been through so much in this series that yeah I understand where people have a lot of issues with it, but I think him leaving the military and going and living a normal life with somebody that he cares about, I think that’s a very fitting end for somebody who had been through so much trauma.
EF: Yeah, yeah. I think I see both perspectives on that as well, but I’m more on your-I’m more of the same opinion as you of that didn’t feel out of character for him for me.
JDS: I mean, I don’t know, I think we saw it as like, the dude had been through a lot. You know, we, the circumstances at which we sort of arrived at that scene didn’t allow us, like a, we had like a day to really put that together.
EF: And you’re talking about the whole, like, conversation of everybody sitting around the table leading into the, like, post stuff on the end?
LM: Everything-everything before fully animated was set in stone. Epilogue and on was-was stuff that we made some adjustments, some stuff was similar, if not the same as before. And we just tried to ultimately do what we felt was right, which was give the people who wanted it that legitimacy of yes Shiro, one of our main characters, is in fact part of the LGBT community. It’s on-screen, there’s-there’s no question anymore. We unfortunately couldn’t make a full-fledged relationship at that point because the show was done.
KC: There’s no time and there’s no budget. Animation takes forever.
JDS: It was that-was that situation where we were sort of like, “Do we do this? Don’t we do this?” and we thought it was just more important to do it, to confirm it, to be able to, like, show people in a very clear manner. And we, I think sort of, wholeheartedly accept that it’s clunky. [laughter] It’s hella clunky. Like, and you know we-we sort of–
LM: It’s far from perfect, but ultimately when the opportunity presented itself, I think we would have felt badly if we had not tried to seize that.
Host: I think that’s fair.
JDS: And it was, it was, it was, it was sort of like this weird opening where, like, DreamWorks was in this, like, figuring out where they stood and the opportunity presented itself and we were sort of like, “We kinda have to jump on this or it might go away. It might be something…” And you know, again, like, to the studio’s credit, like, I think they’ve sort of figured it out. They’ve obviously afforded us the ability to create something beyond just, like, a show about, like, a robot made of lions that slices another monster in half every episode.
EF: That’s what I was gonna say. It was definitely not a “monster of the week” kind of show by any stretch of the imagination. So that, in and of itself–
JDS: It’s kind of a weird victory.
KC: At the very end of it, at the very base of things, people, and American society, let’s be real, tend to view LGBTQ content, all of that, LGBTQIA content, as automatically mature for some reason and we touched on, like, violence is okay but god forbid you see two dudes kiss. This is a show that is aimed at 8 to 11 year old boys and at the end of it we had two men explicitly kissing at their wedding. You may not like the execution, you may not like who it was, you may think it came out of nowhere, but guys, we got it. A quote-unquote kids’ show. That’s a hell of a milestone.
JDS: Yeah, I think we all had to acquiesce at some point, and sort of, and DreamWorks too, sort of had to say, like, “Hey, your audience is what your audience says.” It’s no longer like what we were sort of building this franchise around. And you know, I think that’s awesome. The-the organic nature at which the audience sort of grew and evolved and sort of became super proactive in, like, creating content and-and sort of created their own series alongside ours is awesome. It’s great. So, I think they-they just sort of, like, at the very end they were just like, “Guys, just do what you think is right.” And we used our heart. There’s a ton we would have-we would have done differently, but to armchair-quarterback 78 episodes over 4 years, um…
KC: Which is what we’re doing in this episode.
JDS: To really break it down and try to, like, say, “If we had zigged where we zagged,” like, there’s-there’s no-no real good–
EF: Well, yeah, because you could go on about that forever, but it’s all in the past at this point.
JDS: And the other thing is, like, believe me. I’ve been, like, up at night going, like, “Should we have done anything at all and saved ourselves a headache?” And it’s like, no I think we did the right thing under the circumstances given.
EF: Yeah, I agree, yeah. [indistinct]
KC: [indistinct] I’d actually like to top this off with a comment from RedLantern27 in chat because I think they encapsulated it: “It’s like how Team Voltron tackles their problems: might not be the most elegant, but it gets the job done.” [laughter] I say, unless there’s anything else you’d like to add at the end there, I think we can finish that conversation. We are halfway through our show.
JDS: That’s insane.
MS: Thank goodness they gave us more studio time.
JDS: Fortunately they gave us another hour.
KC: Does anyone want another drink?
MS: Oh! I do!
KC: I am not actually kidding, would you like another drink?
EF: I mean, I’ll have some more. Are these RWBY shot glasses?
KC: Yes. Yes they are.
MS: There’s a RWBY one and an Attack on Titan one with Mikasa.
KC: Because Voltron is made for kids and therefore they don’t have official shot glasses. But hey, if anyone wants to send me some, I’d be down.
EF: I am wearing officially-licensed Voltron merchandise, I will have you know.
JDS: That’s awesome.
EF: This is a child’s shirt because I wanted it in red and it didn’t come in red in adult sizes.
JDS: It fits perfectly.
EF: Thank you.
KC: I am wearing hilariously-unlicensed Voltron merch because there isn’t a licensed one that says, “See ya later, paladudes!” And I thought that was apt.
EF: That’s pretty good.
KC: Emma, please help me.
EF: Oh yeah, this is yours, Megan. It was bound to happen (re: minor spill of Sendak on ice).
KC: It was, it was. Yep, that is future Katie’s problem. And while we’re having our intermission I think we also have an announcement.
MS: Alright guys, before we move onto our next topic we wanted to say thank you for making us the ESPN of TV talk. For us to continue to grow we could use your help. If you’re on YouTube right now hit that thumbs-up button and subscribe. If you’re on iTunes, please-please give us a five-star rating. But no matter where you are, leave us a comment so that you can get involved in the conversation. Being a part of Afterbuzz TV has meant so much to all of us and we truly appreciate you supporting us and doing what we love. Don’t forget to tell your friends and keep enjoying our show, and yeah. Guys, this is-this is our last show, and it really means a lot to us that you guys have stuck with us throughout the entirety of this show’s run. We love, as Katie said earlier, our tavern of lions, everybody who’s in the hashtag, and everybody who’s ever done fanart for our silly nonsense.
EF: Oh yeah, there’s some good fanart from the show.
MS: It’s so good!
EF: It’s really good fanart.
MS: It really means a lot to us and yeah, yeah, Katie take it from here before I cry.
KC: Oh, I thought you were gonna read the iTunes reviews.
MS: Do you want to do the iTunes spiel and I do the, uh–
KC: Yeah, thank you to everyone who was supporting us on iTunes and you can still do that even after the podcast is over. If you leave a comment, if you leave a rating leave us five stars because there are five lions in Voltron and that’s how this works. Um, yeah, it helps people who are searching for the podcast find us. It helps bump us up in the iTunes ranks. And, well, if you leave one after this you won’t get a shoutout because that’s life, but for those who left one a little bit earlier we like to do shoutouts on the show.
MS: And apologies to anybody who left one where I’m not getting the chance to read it out. The iTunes, sort of, filter thing in terms of putting it in chronological order does not work on my mobile device, so I sort of have to scroll and guess about what. So if I miss you, I’m so sorry, please screencap it and put it in the hashtag. But we’ve got one from Kiwi12343: “Yay! Almost done, though I am sad to see the podcast go. Voltron has helped me through a lot of crap. Thank you for the thing I could look forward to on Mondays.” And then we have MLaura3456: “Thank you so much for the show, you are all so amazing. I’ve been watching for just a year and it’s been so much fun. I’m going to miss it once it’s over, but I’m glad I was able to watch it. Geeking with you and the guest is just the best. It’s time to form Voltron.” And then we have one from Oz Gint, not sure if I’m pronouncing that right, but, “I found Afterbuzz with RWBY Vol. 2 and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the animation aftershows. I have unfortunately been unable to catch a live Voltron show, but I’ve listened to them all. Since it’s the last episode, we can finally talk about the biggest surprise of the whole show. That’s right, after eight seasons, Hunk finally took off his headband.”
MS: “(cont. -ff last review) Oh and I guess those other things too. I love the review, so long, and thanks for all the fish”
EF: Okay, for me, Hunk’s epilogue was perfect. The fact that Romelle was, like, part of his-his space cook crew, I was like, all in. All in.
KC: And Vrepit Sal.
MS: And Shay, and Bii-Boh-Bi.
EF: It was so good.
KC: This is the new Avengers crew.
MS: Again, apologies if I couldn’t find it, but again, thank you all so, so much. We love you, you’re all the best.
KC: Yeah, and seriously, thank you guys for participating. This has been so much fun and we-it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun without all y’all beautiful humans.
MS: Even if we don’t agree, if you don’t agree with us, if we don’t agree with you, if we don’t agree with each other, it’s okay.
JDS: I don’t agree with myself.
KC: Let’s make life real interesting.
MS: The bottom line here is that the show was always meant to be fun and we had fun doing it, and we hope you’ve had fun watching us.
EF: And I think, too, just, you know, being open to the fact that people have different opinions than you and then–and that-that’s okay is a really important message to kind of put out there, as well.
LM: Absolutely. It’s a message that I learned, like, probably a little too late for my little, immature ass, like when I was in eighth grade, the most important thing was the fact that my best friend bought the same Target sandals I had and how angry I was that she had the same Target sandals that me and 20,000 other Target shoppers had. Like, and I look back at that, and I’m just like, “Why did I waste so much energy on the dumbest thing in the universe?”
EF: Yeah, but also-but also you know, acknowledging the fact that-that people’s opi-like your opinions are valid.
JDS: And look, I think a lot of people have, you know, as I’ve sort of been trying to come to terms with, with negative reaction, positive reaction, all the reaction but mainly the negative reaction, you know a lot of people have sort of said to me like, “Dude, just tell them it’s a stupid cartoon and, like, not to think too much about it.”
EF: That’s not how that works!
JDS: It’s not, a-and for me these shows growing up literally formed the person that I am now.
JDS: So, it means-it means as much as it means to people because that’s, you know, that’s their world and that’s-that’s what their takeaway, and if they don’t, if they’re not getting or seeing themselves represented properly or seeing some sort of representation that they can latch onto or understand. Or maybe they felt like they were on their way to seeing that and were let down by the fact–like I get it. You know, I think we get it.
LM: It’s a struggle that we’ve dealt with a lot just in-in our careers, that animation is-it’s a medium but a lot of times it’s considered a genre. And that’s something that, like, continues to this day that we’re constantly fighting this battle of, like, “No, you can make–” We try to point to anime, which they have every type of thing. They have a show about specifically tennis.
EF: A-a-a-a-and anime is often by western audiences who are not familiar with the medium considered to be a genre. I have so many people being like, “What should I watch to get into anime?” And I’m like, “What kind of stories do you want?”
JDS: Exactly. Do you like story?
KC: I took my tiny, tiny child to see Princess Mononoke because it’s animated and for kids, right? Like no, that will traumatize your five-year-old. It’s a work of art, but it will traumatize your child. Anyway.
LM: And I feel like video games went through a similar thing for a while with, you know, parents bringing Grand Theft Auto back and yelling at Gamestop employees like, “Why did you sell this to my kid?”
EF: It’s rated “Mature”.
LM: Like, it says right there. If you, as a parent, aren’t checking this. But it’s, you know, content is content and we wholeheartedly believe that animation is content people go to and it shouldn’t be, kind of, reduced to-to just, like, “it’s for kids”.
JDS: That said, we should also–I will just sort of self-check–we should have been aware of, like, sort of what we were asking not only DreamWorks to do, but asking the IP to do. We were asking this show to do things and sort of, like, break out in certain ways that were like, [hesitant noise], you know. We needed to learn, we learned a lot. We needed to learn how to manage some of our tone and stuff back up the, sort of, executive chain better. It was just learning experience all the way around the block.
EF: It’s–yeah–it’s interesting to me because, you know, obviously we were touching a little bit on how DreamWorks has, kind of, opened their minds a little bit to some of the stuff that you guys came up against in Voltron, not necessarily with them, it was a bigger issue of lots of people owning the IP, but I-I-I do wonder this ‘cuz I feel like it’s easier or it seems to be more common to me that in shows that are targeted at a female audience, it’s more likely that you’re going to find a wider breadth of representation.
JDS: I’m not gonna disagree with you there.
LM: I mean I think wholeheartedly that is just genuinely the truth and I think a lot of it stems from that, kind of, toxic masculinity culture that we’re still trying to push onto little boys of like “this is weak. You cannot be these things”.
EF: To Voltron’s credit very much was trying to–I don’t want to say “undermine” is not the right word–
JDS: We were just trying to break the trope, our own trope. You know what I mean? Like Voltron was its own trope and the sort of little nook that we inhabited, like, sort of boys toys was its own weird tropey situation. I think before anybody realized it, I mean we were obviously aware, but it was like we were-we were very much a show for everybody, you know. And that just-that just kind of happened. So, yeah.
EF: Which is-which is a good thing.
JDS: Should we talk about Lance, guys?
KC: We need to move onto, like, intellectual topics and whatnot.
JDS: I feel the clock ticking.
KC: The clock is actually off, but my iPad is back here and it’s just like, “Okay.”
EF: Armor boy Lance.
KC: I need-I need to stop trying to plan these shows, they don’t ever go as planned. What plan!
KC: Yeah, people want to talk about Lance and we want to hear about Lance. He had an incredible character arc.
JDS: He did.
LM: Did you want to intro him or talk to your…? Because I have a lot of feelings about Lance.
JDS: I think Lauren’s got really awesome perspective. I will say that, like a lot of people we saw, like, “Oh, Lance ends up being a farmer and, like, that sucks.” And not to, like, diminish, you know, I’m not making fun of anybody. But I grew up spending all my summers on my family farm in Portugal. It was literally like one, especially as I get older, is one of the most magical experiences that I could ever, sort of, think of now. And it was all about paring things down, getting rid of all the, sort of, BS that went on in life, living off the land, spending time with family–friends and family–and-and-and really getting down to what’s important in life. And so I think for anybody to say that, like, Lance isn’t getting the ending he deserves, or he should have been, like, a hero, he should have been the sharpshooter that went of into the… I don’t-I don’t think that’s what it was about. I think Lance had an arc where he learned about himself that he doesn’t need to be those things and-and that was a lot of baggage that he was carrying on top of himself. And so, I don’t know if that were my ending, it’s-it’s-it’s an ending I hope to have, to be honest with you. I think a lot of people were worried that, like, the visual of him looking at the juniberry flower meant that he was, like, pining away for Allura for the rest of time, and it’s tragic, it’s sad. It was a love story that played out, but he felt loved.
LM: I saw–I mean, I’ve got feelings about Lance just because I, like–as I have a lot of favorite characters in the show–but Lance is probably the one that I actually identify with the most. As-as someone who, like, I’ve struggled my entire life with insecurity, with self-doubt, with self-esteem, and as a girl who grew up watching shows where, like, almost every female was the woman who was pined after and like even in the original Voltron–the show that I love–every single paladin just wanted to get with Allura.
EF: It was the girl. Like that was very common in animation for a long time.
KC: It still is.
EF: I know.
JDS: Scarlett Jo-Jo, all of it.
LM: Like, that never felt beautiful, like I never felt like I could live up to that. And it kind of just destroyed my self-esteem because I was like, “Well then, if I’m not pretty, what is my value?” I had no value and so–sorry, I’m getting emotional about this. [Hosts all cry out “no!”]
KC: Please have emotions! That’s why we’re here.
MS: I’m fairly certain all of us have been there.
LM: You know, I get-I’ve worked through it. I, you know, I gained a craft, I, like, I have much more self-esteem now, but it–there’s still those little demons, those little, like, voices that come up and tell you you’re not good enough.
LM: So having struggled with that, Lance was kind of, like, that character who he had those insecurities and he-he handled it in a different way than I did. He put on this really big bravado and that was his defense mechanism. Like my defense mechanism was sarcasm and I still have it to this day, like, I cannot get that DNA out of myself. Like Joaquim has to deal with it. I’m just, like, sarcastic all day long and he’s just like, “Jesus.”
JDS: I love it.
LM: Um, but like, you know, everyone copes with it their own ways, and I’ve known the people who–I know those people who they put on the bravado. And so the beauty to me of Lance kind of coming to this place where he’s a baby–he’s able to abandon that. Everything that he wanted, all of these parades, all of these big shenanigans with stuff that he needed other people to see to feel they knew he was important because he didn’t feel it.
LM: And so finally when he feels it inside, like you don’t need other people to tell you anymore. And so, you know, I-I–when I finally started to feel like I had something to bring to the world, like, suddenly I was happy, like, in myself and I didn’t need, like, I would be just as happy to be making this show and have no one know my name as I am to be able to sit here and talk to the fans about it because I’m just doing something that I believe in. And I feel like that’s exactly what Lance was doing at the end. He realized like–there’s also the story element of that I think maybe we probably didn’t make clear–but Lance is, you know, back on Earth with his family and he’s helping Earth to recuperate.
LM: He’s on this farm. He’s providing, like, vital resources that people need because Earth didn’t just bounce back and that was important to him. And he’s able to do it, you know, on a farm where there’s these flowers. There’s all these juniberry flowers. That was another thing, it was a casualty of time in the finale, but we wanted to have this really beautiful moment where, as Allura’s made the sacrifice, juniberry flowers are everywhere.
JDS: Everywhere, like on every planet.
LM: And so–
JDS: It’s a weed. They’re a weed.
LM: –he is able to look at this–[laughter]
KC: They’re an invasive species, it’s a problem.
LM: He’s kind of able to remember her everywhere he goes. So it wasn’t really supposed to be like, “Oh, my life has no meaning unless I’m looking at this flower and thinking of Allura.” It’s just, like, “I am content and I’m happy. I have the people that I care about most and I’m doing something that I feel is important and it doesn’t have to be big and flashy.”
JDS: And it’s-that’s-it is a slightly more, sort of, mature idea to get across. And there’s a lesson to be learned on our end, too. We really, sort of, stuck to our guns and tried to make a show that was–didn’t have clean endings or super, like, sort of stereotypical happy endings. A lot of it is bittersweet, a lot of it is sort of dealing with the loss of somebody and the hope that that inspires, you know, in their sacrifice. That being said, our big lesson is, like, sometimes people just want to have the happy ending. So that’s stuff that you have to sort of weigh against your art, against your craft. Like, are we serving the people best? Are we serving our own sort of personal story desires best? Wh-what’s that balance?
MS: It’s a case-by-case basis.
JDS: It is.
KC: And there’s something I want to clarify specifically about Lance’s ending, and correct me if I’m wrong, but a lot of the pushback that I’ve seen is, “Well, he’s sad forever. He’s sad forever and ever.” And like, when you lose someone, you do miss them. The grief heals, but it never is completely gone because this person has gone from your life. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he never got over it. It doesn’t mean that he never fell in love with anyone else. It-it doesn’t mean that he just stopped where he was emotionally. We just got to see a couple years into the future and the trajectory that he’s on.
JDS: And-and I think that, again, is sort of our-our learning place. I think if we had–again, not to armchair-quarterback too hard–but I would have loved to have just had a scene, like, back at the Garrison and he’s, like, teaching a class and there’s some jerky kid that’s just like he was. And he’s, like, mature to the point where he’s like, “Okay, soldier,” like, “Alright I get you.” That would’ve been nice, and I think that would have been something that, you know, it wouldn’t have been, like, sort of the relationship maybe that everybody was looking for, but it would have been the closure that people saw, like, “Okay. Lance is, like, he’s doing the thing.” You know. I don’t know, there’s no real good easy answer.
LM: I’ll tell you what ending I was super jealous of, that you guys were there for, but it was the Star Wars Rebels ending.
EF: Oh my god!
LM: You know, Ezra makes his-his sacrifice and then Sabine is like, “Oh, he’s out there and I’m gonna find him.” Like, man, if we could’ve just ripped that in and Lance was like, “Allura’s out there and I’m gonna find her!” like that would’ve been so cool, but then we would’ve legit just ripped off of Star Wars Rebels.
EF: Just take that from Star Wars Rebels! No, it’s true that–and I mean, I think that’s kind of circling back to some of the stuff that you were talking about of, like, the idea of there not being a, like, clean-cut happy ending, all loose ends are tied up kind of thing.
MS: Because life doesn’t work that way.
EF: Because life doesn’t work that way! And so for me, you know, the-the Rebels ending was incredibly satisfying because it’s like, “Well, we could tell more stories with these people, but if we don’t, we’ve got a-we got a good end to this story.” And that-and that, I really do feel–even though for me I was not a big fan of the Lance and Allura romance. I didn’t like it very much, but that’s–again that’s about me. It’s not about you guys.
JDS: And that’s fine. But honestly I think you–
KC: I loved it, and we can disagree and still be friends!
JDS: Here’s the one sort of point of contention that I have because I could totally see everybody’s, sort of, view on it. People were like, “It came out of nowhere.” We were like, “We were literally setting up Lance’s angle on that, like, a ways out.” He’s sitting there confessing to the mice, like, how he felt.
KC: And then the mice go rat him out.
MS: Right from episode 1 he flirted with every single girl, like, episode 1, you know, he-it’s clear that he kinda-kinda likes this girl.
JDS: That’s also, like–
MS: And it develops from there.
JDS: But that’s also, like, as content creators, like, do we sort of read the tea leaves on that and sort of lean into where fans’ expectations are? Or do we sort of go with-with the story that we were crafting and sort of stick to our guns there? You know, sometimes there’s some people in real life that end up with people you’re like “huh”.
MS: “How? Okay. I have some questions.”
JDS: That’s not necessarily what serves story best but that is kinda life.
EF: I had this whole love triangle fantasy that was going on for those last two seasons. In my mind it was playing out. And that was fine! But like I say, like, that’s that was about me, that’s not about the story. Like for me, I was like, “Okay yeah, this is the direction I thought they might go with the whole Lance/Allura thing,” and you know, it was-it was not what I wanted to happen, but that doesn’t make it a bad story.
JDS: Well, I could see the argument where it’s like, it’s basic. It’s, like, what we’ve kind of come to expect from okay the guy sort of turned around and–but I think Lance’s arc aside from, like, being with Allura was bigger than the Allura love story.
EF: And Lance’s overall story arc I really enjoyed, especially because you know it’s-it’s one of the things that we’ve been talking about is this whole idea that we were basically we were dealing with an IP that was like “monster of the week.” It was like, “dudes being in love with one hot girl” and just “macho men with fighting robots” and whatever was happening with Pidge.
JDS: Right, yes, yes.
MS: OG Pidge was insane.
EF: Like, totally bonkers.
KC: OG Pidge was terrifying.
JDS: Descended from a clan of ninjas, by the way.
KC: Did the ninjas last long?
JDS: They needed glasses.
EF: But what I will say is that I think a lot of Lance’s storyline–I mean it was across the board with all of the characters, honestly, both the men and the women–but-but very importantly the men, that they had a range of emotions. They had feelings. They had insecurities. They had, you know, emotional walls built up that it was explained why they were and-and all of that is-is great.
KC: They were allowed-they were allowed to be afraid. They were allowed to be unhappy. They were allowed to be broken. They were allowed to not be right about everything and not be leaders and be wrong in the face of other people. And the show went, “Yeah, that’s okay. That’s normal. You can do that and still be a good person.”
JDS: We-we’d go to the writers’ room and sort of get pitched ideas and we would be like, “Oh man, I don’t know how I feel about that,” and it would be that’s exactly why we should do it. Because you need to ask those questions, like, let’s ask those questions, get those things sort of–
LM: Yeah, I mean like, I had my own personal interests like with Pidge and I was like, I had my agenda that I was gonna expose all of these, like, double standards and it was purely agenda-based. And like Tim, you know, our lead writer had to kind of check me and be like, “Lauren, this show isn’t about your agenda. Like, what you’re trying to do, you’re gonna hurt the story if you try to work this in like that way.” And I had to take a step back and, like, look at myself and look at the story and be like, “Okay, what’s important for the story?” Because obviously we always have our preferences, we always have our likes, and-and like Joaquim said, you get a story thing thrown at you and you’ll knee-jerk and be like, “No no no! I don’t want that to happen to that character.” But then you’ll, like, that’s kind of why you have to let those things happen.
JDS: And they’re-they’re like weird experiments and some of them work, don’t work, and some of them are, you know, sort of fall in this weird gray area where people are just like “[noncommittal noise] I don’t know, I don’t know what to do with this.”
KC: “Well that was a thing that happened. This might as well occur.”
JDS: Yep. I mean it’s silly, it’s-it’s so dumb and I’m–we might have said this, you know, before–but like a lot of people sort of attributed a lot of their sort of personal perspectives to, like, Shiro having PTSD and ensuring this pillar of strength and having gone through these trials and tribulations and-and being an amputee. I hate to admit this because it’s so basic and simple, but like, the only reason he had a robot arm is because I’m like, “Dude, can we have a guy with a robot arm? Like, the Winter Soldier is rad, you know, Cable is rad, Solid Snake is rad, and I just want a robot arm dude.” That was it, and so–
LM: He’s a similar thing with Pidge and, you know, my super selfish her good little girl fantasies, just like here’s a girl and she’s masquerading as a boy, and then you know, she ended up being kind of this pillar of hope for the trans community. And so like, I can’t take credit for that because I didn’t go fully into that, but it’s beautiful that it happened and I can look at that now and I can see where it came from.
EF: I think that-that it just sometimes happens pretty unexpectedly in a lot of, you know, sort of IP. I mean I remember when, you know, Yuri!!! On Ice was this big sensation, and even though for the most part, obviously, it is lauded for its LGBTQ representation, but on top of that there was a certain, like, subset of the, like asexual community that were like, “I sort of see Yuuri as asexual and I feel represented,” and-and that’s a good thing.
JDS: Yeah, a hundred percent.
JDS: I will say, just sort of looking at it holistically, though. Like, Lauren’s sort of desire to, like, build that into the character and my desire to build that into the character are two completely disparate things because I just wanted robot arm dude and she was, like, telling this meaningful, like, inside thing. And I’m just like, “How about that robot arm?”
KC: The Venn diagram overlap is “finding meaning in something random that you didn’t initially pitch that way.”
LM: And sometimes the fans will find this extra meaning that we had no clue was gonna come out of it.
MS: Yeah, and I had a directing professor way back in the day who-who mentioned that sometimes brilliant moments like that could happen completely by accident, or it’s an unintended sort of thing. And the fact that it’s there should be celebrated because it’s-it kind of ties into death of the author a little bit. Like, did the author intend that? Well, does it matter? If that’s your interpretation of it, it’s okay.
JDS: Yeah, I-I once heard the story, I was a huge, you know, sort of child of the 90’s, listen to grunge music growing up, Pearl Jam was like my favorite band, and I heard this story once that, like, this group of campers were singing this song “Black” by Pearl Jam in the forest and Eddie Vedder, like, comes out of the woods, like “Stop singing this song!” and everybody’s like [surprised expression], and he was like-he was coming to that, I don’t know if that’s true. Could be total grunge urban legend, I don’t know. I like the story, though.
MS: And he’s still in those woods to this day.
JDS: But he was, you know, his– his version of the song was not their version of the song and they found a different meaning. For him it was torture, for them it was like this like sort of nostalgic coming together. And so he had to admit that as well. And I’ve heard other songwriters say the same thing where it’s like, “it’s no longer ours, it’s theirs.” And that’s beautiful.
EF: Oh absolutely yeah. And as I say I feel like you know uh just kind of circling back to uh what we were talking about with where Lance’s story ended, I’ve seen some really lovely fanart depicting more of Lances future. [Everyone laughing]
KC: This is why we believe in fanart. This is why we believe in fanfiction. Just because the official story is over doesn’t mean that you can’t pick it up and sprint with it.
EF: Oh definitely not.
KC: Have fun.
KC: Absolutely have fun. I– We’ve had a lot of requests for this in chat, and I think uh, I think we should move on to this, um, let’s talk about Keith.
KC: Let’s talk about Keith story arc. Let’s talk about the boy that went from being a lone wolf to being a leader whether he liked it or not, to embracing being a leader. That was absolutely incredible. We stopped, as we were watching Season 8, re-watching it, and at one point Keith and Lance just had that talk about well I used to think I could do everything on my own, and here we are. And I went, “Oh my God you guys are all grown up!”
JDS: Yeah, I mean that’s the great thing about this sort of serialized format is that you do get to see that growth. I will say that like Keith is probably the character that we get– there’s a huge fanbase, but he’s the one that like receives the least amount of flack, it’s like people are–
EF: Yeah I– I do sort of wonder why that is but I– But also–
JDS: Because, I think we didn’t, we didn’t pair him with anybody, you know what i mean. I think we didn’t designate sort of where he stood. We don’t know. It’s– It’s–
KC: We don’t know
JDS: Yeah, it– It doesn’t really matter to be honest with you. I mean it would be great to confirm just to make people happy, but, like at the end of the day he is who he is, and leaving it open to interpretation. Which is why I will say that, just going back to Allura and Lance really quick, it took that possibility off the table, that pairing, and I think that’s what– what triggered a lot of people. Because it was like you could have just left well enough alone and we would’ve been fine. That’s, that’s a tea leaf reading scenario there as well you know.
EF: It is. But again guys there’s lots of great fanart.
JDS: There is. Yeah you can totally do that too.
KC: We did say that he could fall in love again. You never know.
JDS: You never ever know.
KC: Go have fun.
EF: Yeah I uh– Uh– I just loved Keith throughout this whole series. I think for me he was just the the perfect embodiment of that like emotionally damaged like grumpy boy character.
JDS: He had it all.
LM: He was. He was kind of that animation trope.
EF: It was totally an anime hero.
LM: You know I watched Gundam Wing as well.
LM: And you know, hero Yui was, he was tricky for me because at the end I was just like [long pause] “I still don’t like you. There’s nothing in you for me. You just, you’re still kind of an asshole.”
JDS: “I still don’t like you.”
EF: “I still don’t like you.”
LM: And then but Keith actually like, [laughs] Keith started there and then like, he evolved to someone that I like.
EF: I think that’s what it was because Hiro was my favorite in Gundam Wing, and Keith is my favorite in Voltron and I really do think that it is because like Keith is what in my, like, fan brain like Hiro was going to become. And so I feel like I got experience–
JDS: The evolution, the full evolution.
EF: Yeah, I mean yeah exactly. And Keith. It was very satisfying for me.
KC: Duo was my favorite and then I just [gestures vaguely].
LM: I love Duo, he was my favorite too. And that braid I was like, “Man how do you get a braid like that?”
KC: Um it takes a while.
JDS: Yeah, you gotta grow it out.
KC: Great Podcast day for all the listeners there.
EF: This is where we do an ad for Sugar Bear Hair.
KC: Does it look like I’m on my favorite [river?]
MS: But um yeah with Keith it’s so interesting because last season you guys mentioned how one of the initial concept ideas for him was that he was a child soldier and so it’s so interesting.
LM: That was Lance.
JDS: That was Lance.
MS: Oh that was Lance?
JDS: That was Lance.
LM: Believe it or not that was Lance.
MS: Oh I thought that was Keith.
LM: That was back in our super dark phases where we were just coming off of Korra and we were like–
JDS: Were were gonna open up on season 7, earth already taken over, the kids had to–
LM: We had to–
EF: It was gonna be a battle.
JDS: No seriously that was it. Earth was post-apocalyptic.
LM: We had to recalibrate, like reset ourselves for Korra times to like colorful lion times.
MS: But that being said he starts still out, he starts up actually in a very similar place as Pidge, in-in terms of “I need to protect my family”
KC: And my family’s in space.
MS: And I don’t care about anything else, and over the course of the series they– they learn at varying speeds how important this extended family is to them.
EF: Yes. And I think too with Keith it was that fact that, you know, that he felt like a very fully-formed character in that you know when as you say when you first meet him like he is very emotionally guarded. He’s very, “I can do all of this on my own.” And I like that we really got into why he was that way. And the fact that he, that like, like, Keith at the beginning of the series I feel like if if he had met his mom at the beginning, he would not have connected with her in the way that he did.
JDS: Not at all.
EF: And so it was very satisfying to see this person who had grown up so much like find this meaningful connection with somebody who had not been a part of his life.
JDS: Which is sort of a running thing on our show. And it was I think you know, maybe you mentioned it on the last one, that was sort of at one point going to be the sort of Lotor Keith of it all. Um, they were definitely going to share that element where they sort of had both feet in two different cultures and weren’t really sure where they stood on everything. And sort of Keith becoming the proper representation of that–not the proper but–
EF: No, Yeah yeah yeah
JDS: But sort of like good guy representation and Lotor being the bad guy.
MS: Two sides of the same coin.
EF: Man, now I would have loved to see more Keith and Lotor interactions.
JDS: It was a whole thing.
EF: I would have really enjoyed that because I agree with you that i think that I’m trying to think of like another piece of fiction where they kind of explore that whole idea of okay you have these two people that are effectively the same thing where they’re sort of half in one culture, species, etc. half in another.
MS: And one goes down one path and one goes down another
EF: Exactly. So that there is a nice sort of parallel to both of those characters.
EF: And I also really loved Lotor. And I loved, loved, loved Honerva’s storyline in the final season so much. Her whole, her whole backstory, in the way it ended UGGHH it was so tragic cause she was just trying to connect with her family. Which is again, ultimately like a lot of what this show is about is this whole idea of, “okay well there’s your family, but you also have to look at, like, your extended sort of chosen family and the connections that you’ve made,” and Honerva never did that. She was so obsessed with like reclaiming this family that she lost instead of going “Oh wait,” you know, “that’s in the past. There’s nothing I can do about it, so maybe I need to expand my horizons.”
KC: Yeah. She was obsessed with the past and unable to move on. And a lot of this show is about, alright, well the past will affect you, the past will influence you, but you need to keep moving forward, you can’t live in the past.
JDS: Yeah. I mean you know we’ve also taken a bunch of heat for sort of like the the abuser and abused of it all between Honerva’s redemption and Lotor’s redemption. Uh, and you know, again that’s we sort of like go back to this, I don’t know, it’s it’s not even like a like a like a hard and fast rule but it’s like there really are no clean answers in life so.
EF: I-I-I don’t know for me I felt like with Lotor uh which what I really enjoyed was this idea of I think that he was fully aware of the fact that he’d gone too far, and they–and at that point instead of going, “I need to back off,” he made the choice to go, “I’m embracing this like 10-fold”
JDS: I think that was the thing that there was a clear delineation of like he-he-he reached this threshold where it’s like, yeah I’m sorry it’s too far.
EF: I’m past the point of no return. And I mean that was you know–
JDS: Safe to say that Honerva probably did the same.
Hosts Together: Oh yeah.
KC: She totally did.
MS: Destroyed so many realities.
LM: I mean there’s also a little bit about each Lotor and Honerva’s arcs that ultimately served Allura’s larger arc. Which was Lotor came along when Allura wasn’t quite as ready to be that super open, understanding diplomat. We saw how she reacted to Lotor. She was furious and so in that interaction ended in a worse way. Whereas by the time she took on Honerva she’d kind of made that journey within herself to get to the point where she could see more of the story, she– if she had been able to look at Lotor in a different way nothing would excuse what he did but she may have been able to get I don’t know get to a better end with him.
LM: She wasn’t there yet.
EF: There was more story to tell.
JDS: And honest, we’d be lying if we didn’t say we weren’t meaning to tell a tragic story like it was tragic, you know. And it was intended to be tragic. And it was intended to sort of–
EF: And on multiple levels like you said. It wasn’t just tragic that like, “Oh Allura’s gone” and, you know, she and Lance had just gotten together, and she had this great connection with all the other paladins, but I think there is also, as you said that that level of also if she’d been here back at the end of Lotor’s story that there would have been not necessarily forgiveness, but more of an understanding of sorts.
MS: The events could have played out differently.
EF: Yeah yeah could’ve played out differently.
MS: and I and I feel like a lot of people sort of forget too that early seasons, she didn’t know how she felt about Keith.
EF: Yeah! Yeah! Which is something that I really liked because of course you’re going to be prejudice against somebody who you know is related to, you know, the race of people who as far as you are concerned destroyed your entire life.
EF: They murdered all of your people. Your dad is dead because of them. Like of course you’re going to have that prejudice. And and so the fact that once Lotor came along Allura was so willing to, to cooperate with him, and try and see his perspective. That in of itself was huge, and then it’s even almost more impressive that she comes to this understanding with Honerva because she felt so betrayed by Lotor because she had allowed herself to be like “maybe the Galra are cool.”
KC: She’s learned so much.
JDS: I will say like circumstances– [he cut off KC] Sorry is it end? Is it over?
KC: It’s not over yet. After you finish that thought we’re hitting our last 20 minutes and I want to hit a couple of points. Please finish your thought.
JDS: I would just say that you know the end that came with you know the sort of conversation where Allura was saying her goodbyes to everybody. And she was sort of asking Honerva for her help, like they were all essentially dead at that point. Like existence was over. Like this was the saving throw that Allura was sort of putting out there. So we have sort of said amongst ourselves, we would have loved to take an entire episode to sort of explore that conversation, and explore that redemption. It sort of was a victim of us just kind of running out of time. But I do think that like that situation was extreme, you know? I think Allura didn’t come to it easily, but she knew it was a decision that had to be made and and she knows a connection that she had to try and establish with Honerva, um, as much as she believed in forgiveness and and all those things it was like you either gotta put up or shut up right now. This is endgame.
KC: You either do this or everyone is gone forever.
MS: I have one more quick thought about Lotor.
KC: Better be quick.
MS: The, like, I– I understand where a lot of people come from, from that perspective, but I do want to throw out there also, and again this is just my opinion, but just because you are suffering, does not give you the right to inflict suffering on other people, and again he had noble intentions but at the end of the day he killed a lot of people.
MS: And yeah again just because you’re suffering doesn’t mean you get to inflict suffering on other people.
KC: I come back to this so often but, cool motive, still murder. Thank you Brooklyn 99 for that one. Alright we have hit the last 20 minutes of our show. So what I want to hit on really quick for everyone: favorite aspect of the show. Character, character arc, episode. Like favorite aspect and favorite episode if you can pick one. I will start to give you all some time to think, but it’s not gonna be long. Found family. I am a sucker for found family in pretty much all forms, and this show was it for me. Starting very much with Keith and Shiro and this friendship that meant so, so much to them, and then enveloping the rest of the Voltron paladins, at different speeds, in different ways, and Allura, and Coran, and expanding out for the MFE’s and the Garrison, and just you cared about everyone. You could see that they very much cared about each other, and it didn’t have to be romantic and it didn’t have to be blood relationships, just this incredibly strong found family. And then in later seasons you could see, “Alright we’ve developed this bond, we don’t need to focus on it as much.” Shiro and Keith are still incredibly close, but it wasn’t Keith’s crutch anymore, so he could move on, he could work with the Blade of Marmora, he could be a better pilot, a better leader. And Shiro, knowing that Keith didn’t have to lean on him as much could go on to lead the Atlas. Like, they’re still extremely close, but we didn’t have to focus on it. Like, I love found family, I love that we were able to develop that. And my favorite episode is still “Space Mall.” Full Stop!
JDS: Bam. [EF starts making a humming noise in the background]
KC: Ride a Kalteneker, have a hallucination, I love “Space Mall.” Alright, who’s next? I’m taking volunteers.
LM: Um, I can go. Uh, so as a kid who grew up with mostly Western animated TV shows, where everything kind of reset episode to episode, and then literally I think I was in high school the first time I saw Robotech on Toonami. And I realized, this story kept going. And it was serialized. And it had real stakes. And there was literally they-they fought the battle against the Zentradi, and then they had an entire season where they just dealt with the Zentradi like living on Earth with them and trying to commingle. Whereas any American show would just be like we won the battle and it’s over. And it all kind of informed my love of then no reset button. Like, there is no ultimate reset. Everything kind of comes at a bit of a cost, there’s no purely happy ending. We’ve had a lot of like areas where our paladins have had really close scrapes, they, they literally saved the world from collapsing with Lotor But they had to give up their castleship. They brought Shiro back to life, but he no longer had his connection to the Black Lion. There’s always like some sort of give and and ultimately with the big culmination in the end with Allura making the sacrifice, it was just, it’s a story, like it’s I guess I’m just a sucker for those stories, like like I love it when things they kind of happen like real life where, if you’re, if stuff gets that out of hand, you can fix it, but it’s probably not ever going to be the exact same.
JDS: It comes at a cost.
EF: Yeah it’s like you rolled an eight or a nine playing dungeon world system where you succeed with consequences.
JDS: That’s right
LM: And my favorite episode is is probably still like “Reunion.” Just like, the emotional stakes. Steve Ahn and I, I think we’re on the same wavelength as far as like the stuff that we love. And, uh, and he knocked that one out of the park for me, so I love it.
JDS: Absolutely. I mean, uh, I’m along the same lines. But I will just say that within the framework of that, Robotech was just, hands down, like the most influential thing sort of animated I think on both of us. It opened our eyes to a lot of stuff. It opened our eyes to sort of there being no boundaries in terms of what animation was, who it was meant for. I recently had a meeting with like an executive who was dealing with it back in the day when it was originally airing, and he had the same thing that sort of the the same phenomenon that we were dealing with what was where he was like “hey kids were watching this but then we realized like their sisters and their moms were watching the show with them. Because it had this–
EF: Well there’s so many cool women in Robotech why wouldn’t they?
JDS: There were cool– But there was also a through-line, a very strong character arc for each one of the characters. Um and and there was all this stuff going on that just didn’t have to, you know, it didn’t involve like the big robots. They were awesome. But there was a ton of other stuff. I would say within the framework of the serialized crazy show I love the fact that tonally we could go all over place. We could be as slapsticky as we wanted to and as serious and as dire and as heavy as uh we sometimes got. Uh favorite episode–
KC: Space Mall
JDS: I would say “Monsters and Mana” is probably my jam.
MS: I– uh, it keeps changing for me because I keep thinking like “Space Mall” was my knee-jerk reaction, but Honerva’s backstory, the episode–
KC: SO GOOD.
EF: Give me a top three.
MS: Yeah, “Monsters and Mana.” I’m gonna go with “Monsters and Mana” because I think that was um, but it’s like neck in neck, “Day 47” is also good–
JDS: “Day 47” too.
EF: “Day 47” is awesome.
KC: “The Voltron Show.”
MS: And the ar–that’s the closest we’ve got to the musical episode. The uh Earth two-parter which was something I was super excited about because of the idea of coming back to Earth after the Galra had gotten there first and beat them to the punch. I am super fascinated by what goes on on Earth without Voltron there to save everyone. So there was a lot.
JDS: That was our–that was our Robotech/Macross homage for sure.
MS: There–I liked, I liked a lot of stuff. But as far as my, my just favorite thing about the show? Favorite, ugh it’s just, so I know this is gonna sound hollow to a lot of people who were upset by the way things shook out, but I love how inclusive this show was from the very, very beginning. Most of the team are people of color, which is so so radically different from the way the show was presented originally in the 80’s. It’s been so inclusive and there are just so many women in the world that aren’t damsels in distress, or just moms waiting for kids to get home. Even moms who are waiting for kids to come home are amazing.
EF: Colleen Holt was like, just everything. She’s amazing.
LM: Colleen was great.
KC: Colleen Holt is a holy terror and my life knows–
JDS: I think though, some approximation of your mom, Lauren. Am I–
LM: She pretty much is. My mom didn’t, so I’ve told Joaquim this many times, but like I was not allowed to stay home from school unless I was literally throwing up. Like if I had a cold? At school. If you were like “I don’t feel good”, you’re at school it doesn’t matter.
LM: I had to be like projectile vomiting into a can if I was going to stay home, and even them my mom would be like “you’re fine.” If I was like, “it’s not fair.” “Life isn’t fair.” That was it. She would get out the violin and like, “Cry me a river” like this is–
KC: Did she have a violin?
LM: She did not. Like it was fake. But it’s like, I learned really quick that whining doesn’t get you anywhere. That like, you know, I mean that means that she was a great mother and great nurturer, like super crafty and I got all my creative juices from her and like she’s an amazing woman. And and she you know, Colleen is, is in some ways very much a representation of that.
JDS: Lauren didn’t have to say that, and it’s like we could feel, she was like–
EF: Yeah we were all like “this is Lauren’s mom.”
MS: But everyone from Pidge and Allura to the Galra generals to the MFE pilots to Santa, every woman in this show made me really happy. Just because it shows that women are people capable of doing any job men are doing and it just, it meant a lot. Sorry I didn’t mean to keep stepping on you.
EF: No I was just gonna say uh yeah I think for me a lot of the stuff we touched on about the whole idea of succeeding but there being consequences because that is a more realistic approximation of how things go in real life. Not everything gets wrapped up perfectly with a bow. And to me that I would rather a satisfying ending than one that is just so conclusive that there’s nothing else you can do because that, that’s just not realistic. Never ever going to happen for you. Sorry. Um, uh, and then let’s see. I think favorite episode. I did love the one with Honerva’s backstory, that was really good. I loved the game show episode.
JDS: God bless you, because the internet–
EF: Had so many layers to it.
JDS: Was quite divided on that.
EF: To me that episode was really dark in a good way. Yeah I really really loved that episode. Um yeah and Oh! I remember what I was gonna say. One of the other things that I really really liked about it–and it goes along with the whole sort of succeeding with consequences–is the fact that there was that time skip where Voltron was just gone for two years. And and and getting to see the fallout from that was very um, it was very satisfying.
JDS: That’s awesome.
KC: There’s, we’ve had a lot of consistent–um consensus in chat. A lot of people are talking about “Black Paladins” being their favorite episodes and being a work of art. People liked the game show episode. People liked, people liked all sorts of stuff. Uh, Honerva’s backstory. One person said, “I liked any episode with a person in it” and I had to agree. One person said, “the pilot, lol jk” but I know you were joking but the pilot is also one of my favorite episodes.
EF: The pilot is, I’m sorry, [interrupting KC], the pilot is outstanding.
JDS: [Whilst scratching his beard] Oh wow. I don’t even remember that episode. I don’t remember that far back in life.
EF: I think they put two episodes–
JDS: They did.
LM: The three first episodes.
EF: Oh the three first episodes were one.
JDS: It just seems like literally a lifetime ago.
EF: And the three of them playing all together in one chunk, it was like, oh my god it was such a good pilot.
KC: It was just “here’s what you’re gonna get, let’s go.”
KC: And at the end of that pilot, I was like, “Where is all of it? Please give it all to me.”
JDS: Funny, you know about that episode, about that chunk, you know, we got a note pretty early on as were, like, just out of development but still trying to figure out the tone of the show, was that the show needed more, like, comedy and stuff. So, like, the whole, like, sneaking around the Garrison and hiding in trash cans, all that goofy stuff was originally not in. It was, just, like, “Let’s put some, like, silly gags where they’re, like [silly noises].”
LM: Yeah, we literally sat in a room with the writers and just watched the animatic, and we’re, like, making up jokes we could just stick in. There was, like, I don’t even know if it’s still in there. Was there, like, the giant cat lady with Lance like, “Watch out for a giant cat lady!”?
JDS: No that’s gone. Giant cat lady’s gone.
LM: There’s something about that. Like, honestly, like 90% of them we ended up cutting later because they were like, “this sounds like it came out of nowhere” because it did. Yeah, we sat in a room and we made jokes.
JDS: But you know, to some extent it did sort of sell the fact that we could go as broad as we did. It just kind of hit you with it right off the bat.
KC: Well, we’re close to the end. I know. I want to say a couple things from our other hosts because Mark and Alexis could not be here tonight, but they both sent in messages. And so from Mark: “Thank you to my fellow lions and the fans for welcoming me as the yellow lion. I’ve been friends with everyone for a while, but working on the show deepened our relationship and brought us closer, similarly to the paladins of Voltron. I may not have spent a lot of time as a part of the show, but I’ll remember it fondly. Thanks again to all of the cast and crew for their hand in this magical show. Thanks to the fans for their acceptance and willingness to jump on the crazy theory train with me. Thank you to Katie, Megan, Emma, and Alexis #legday. Let’s have dinner in front of a giant statue in a couple years, yeah?” [laughter] Can’t say anything about the statue, but I don’t want to wait a couple years. You’re local, dude. And from Alexis: “Just wanted to say how–I just wanted to say how sad that it’s ending, but how thankful I am for this amazing show. I’ve met so many great people and so many feels from the amazing writing and acting this show has brought. Sending all my love to the amazing crew and actors we’ve met throughout the seasons of the show. Found new friends and colleagues along the way, making new memories and unforgettable times with our viewers. To my amazing, beautiful ladies, I miss you and love you with all my heart. Thank you for having me be a part of this wonderful family. Mark, you will always be my right foot #legday you handsome devil, you.” They wrote these independently of each other, just so you know. [faint whip-crack sound effect] I don’t know if we needed the whip crack, but I love it. So I-I want to give you guys a chance to do the same thing if you’d like. If there’s anything else you’d like to say to the fans and you as well. So what would you like to start us off, or would you like a minute?
LM: Uh, I’m, you know, I just want to say obviously I feel like I’ve a million times, but just thank you to the fans for watching, for enjoying the show. We made it from the bottom of our hearts trying to make a story that we found compelling, that, you know, we ourselves responded to the emotional beats and we just wanted to put that out there, hope that other people felt for these characters the way we did. I wanted to share with you, Emma, real quick–
LM: –as my Sailor Moon compatriot. I did try to pitch, like, an Allura baby at the end. So, you know at the end of the Sailor Saturn arc, how she sacrifices herself and Sailor Moon goes in and brings out little Hotaru?
EF: Yes! Yes, oh my goodness, I’m–I–I feel you on this!
LM: I was like, “Alright. Blue Lion. There’s just a little infant Allura.” And then you know–
EF: [indistinct] And then she gets another, like, chance at living her life, and she doesn’t have to be sad that her dad got murdered–
LM: As a non-Sailor Moon person, Joaquim was like, “That’s a little weird”– [laughter]
JDS: Well, what was weird for me was, like, Lance raising, like, this woman that he loved.
LM: That’s the beauty of it!
KC: That’s when it becomes orphan and that’s weird.
LM: It goes from romantic to conditional and platonic.
EF: Or she could-or she could be raised by–
EF: Zethrid and Ezor!
MS: And Ezor!
JDS: Oh, see that’s a great idea.
KC: I was saying Coran!
EF: Oh, I was thinking she could be raised by, because, you know, the lesbians and the baby.
MS: Keeping the Sailor Moon parallels, it has to be Zethrid and Ezor.
KC: We-we had to derail–
EF: Veronica and Acxa.
KC: We had to derail the show one last time for posterity.
[Hosts and LM apologizing]
KC: No, thank you. Thank you.
LM: No, no, no. But thank you, ladies–
JDS: Thank you, guys.
LM: –for always being, like, super supportive and honest with your opinions about the show and, just, you know, speaking to it from a, like, objective, like–
JDS: I will say that, like, we know sitting here and sort of, like, having a longer episode and talking about these subjects that usually, you know, you tend to not shy away from but kind of censor yourself a little bit to talking about only because you know you don’t want to, like, piss off anybody that we’re working for. We never approach- we never approach this uh from a place of of fear or–we’re just trying to be genuine with where we’re coming from and where we think the industry as a whole can go. The answers that we provide here probably aren’t going to, like, satisfy the-the majority of the people out there. We do appreciate everybody’s opinion. We do appreciate the fans that have stuck with us over the years on this. We know this show kind of came out of nowhere and people didn’t know what to make of it at first and we appreciate that they-that they sort of rallied around it and-and it provided us so much joy and continues to. That being said, we’re happy that it’s, you know, in the past. This is probably, like, the last Voltron thing that we’re going to be doing ever, so it’s bittersweet for us and we really thank you-you guys and the fans for-for sticking with us and making it a fun experience outside of us being bleary-eyed. Having no sun for long strips of time making the show.
KC: Well, you guys have come in to talk with us so often and we really appreciate that because we know it-it takes time out of your night, it’s kind of a weird time slot, but we really appreciate you coming in and sharing your thoughts and listening to us go off on crazy, crazy theories while you sit there and whistle.
MS: And you’re just like, “Uh-huh, uh-huh”.
JDS: Well, we appreciate you.
KC: “Sure! Sure!” Alright, Megan.
MS: Yeah, just, thank you is all I can say. Thank you guys, for not only supporting us but for giving us a show that we could talk about. Thank you to our-our other hosts that aren’t here tonight, um, but, like, everybody who’s ever sat at this, like, table. Thank you to literally every guest we’ve ever had to share your insight and your time and everything like that. And everybody’s who’s watched even if, again, you don’t necessarily care for us or agree with us, thank you for watching because it means you care about Voltron and so do we. So we at least have that in common. And just thank you to everybody who’s done fanart and, like, animatics and taken, like, stupid goofs that we’ve said and, like, taking them and made art out of them. That to me is absolutely incredible. Um, so thank you guys for making your show that we could talk about and thank you Katie for being like, “Hey, guys, there’s another giant robot show that we need to talk about.” So thank you, Katie, for insisting that we talk about this in addition to all the other stuff that we were talking about and thank you to Afterbuzz for-for giving us studio time to just allow us to gush about giant robots
EF: I think it was too a little bit of a, you know, this show came out of there being a-of the audience asking for it, honestly, because we-we started doing this show not immediately after the first season dropped on Netflix, so it took a little while and-and basically it was like… You know, I remember I had watched the pilot episode and I was like, “Oh man, this is so great” because I–you know–I knew that you guys had worked on Legend of Korra and then, like, when you guys came in I was like, “Lauren and Joaquim know who I am, this is cool.” Because I–you know–I-I-I love Avatar: The Last Airbender, but like, to me, like, Korra is my frickin’ show, like, just ‘cuz it’s about–it’s about a really realistic teenage girl. I know people get frustrated with her, but I’m like, I was that girl.
JDS: But I think that’s–that–that’s sort of, like, the divide and I don’t want to cut you off, but like Korra was literally created without any plan. There was no, like-like big marketing thing around it and so we were sort of, like, jamming this, like, square peg in a round hole when we were coming to Voltron and it worked out as well as it did despite itself in a weird way.
EF: Totally. And, um, and so you know, watching the pilot episode I was like, “Yes, I can feel the same team has worked on this and I know that we’re gonna get an interesting story with very layered characters,” and ultimately that’s what I enjoy in my fiction. End of story. And-and to see the Afterbuzz audience saying like, “Hey, we know that you guys tend to like shows like this. We want to see an aftershow of this.” And Mark Donica who, you know, engineered the show and has been on the show came to us and was like, “Hey, there’s definitely an interest in this,” and so Katie just kind of jumped on that and-and this all kind of came together and, you know, the fact that we’ve been able to talk with so many people who were involved in the show, it’s just–it’s-it’s been a–it’s been really great. So.
MS: It’s been a privilege.
KC: I think we started watching the show when we were in the middle of moving. And I remember–
MS: Katie and I are roommates! We’ve been roommates since college.
KC: Yeah, we’ve been roommates for quite a while.
EF: I had just moved, I think, because they came out in, like, June of 2016?
KC: So we started watching the show, we were in the middle of moving, and I remember coming back home from an Ikea trip and going, “Are you watching Voltron without me? Why are you doing that?” And watching it and saving the last few episodes because I was so sure that Shiro was gonna die in the season finale, and looking back now and going, “Aw, Katie.” And just the show itself has been an incredibly wild ride, so emotional, so much fun. Having to pause the episode and back it up because I was laughing so hard I missed dialogue. Having to get up and walk around after a season finale so I could process what I was seeing. It’s-it’s been an incredible show and it has, it’s so hard to find animation that addresses war and addresses that war has consequences and does it in a way that kids and adults can gel with it. That’s rare for me.
MS: Very rare.
KC: Voltron hit that and it’s been incredible. And then doing this show with you guys, coming off of Robots in Disguise and going, “We’re not done talking about giant robots. Let’s do this, let’s go.” And everyone who has joined us in the chat and everyone who has joined us on the couch and at the table. Everyone who’s ever been a guest on here who was nice enough to donate their time for our crazy little show and had a wonderful, wonderful time talking with all of them. Everyone in the chat who, again did fanart, I’m still blown away that me saying, “I love everyone in this bar” became the Tavern of Lions and someone photoshopped us a menu. Like, you guys continually astound me. It has been an incredible ride, it has been so much fun, it’s been so great and I’m going to miss you all so, so much. Thank you for everything.
KC: On that note, where can the people go on the social medias if they would like to keep up with you?
JDS: Oh, are we doing this?
KC: We’re doing this! This is how we close shows.
LM: Alright. @artofLaurenM on Twitter, @thebestlaurenmontgomery on Instagram. Uh, I apologize. I-I don’t post much, now that–
EF: But your-but your collaboration you post about with Miyashiro? Is that–?
LM: Yeah, Tiffanie Miyashiro. Amazing woman, amazing designer, fashion, and-and so yeah.
EF: I want the outfits of all those J-pop girls. [laughter] They are great.
JDS: Uh, @jds_77 I think on something and @jds_247 on the other thing. Uh, hopefully, I’ll get to, like, sketching some, like, fanarty stuff soon and honestly just wanted to leave a little bit of a void in the wake of season 8 and-and just see my family and do things outside of, like, being involved sort of on a day-to-day with the show. So we’ll get back to it, we’ll have some fun, and maybe post some pics of our new digs and stuff.
KC: Mm-hmm. Thanks again, you guys.
JDS: Thank you so much.
KC: For the show, for coming on this show, for everything. Thank you.
LM: Thank you for putting it together. Thank you for leading it, Katie. Always a fearless leader.
JDS: Also thank you for, like, giving a format to the crew who oftentimes don’t really, like, they don’t have a place to, like, talk about what they do and-and how important to the process they are. Like each and every person on our crew, they’re amazing people, one, amazing artists, and really lent to the DNA of the show. You can tell from episode to episode who directed what, who wrote what, because it had their-their-their essence.
LM: Their flair.
JDS: Yeah, their flare.
KC: Thanks again, you guys.
JDS: Thank you.
KC: Megan? Where can the people find you?
MS: Again, thank you everybody. And thank you to everybody who reached out to me this week on Twitter. You guys are all incredibly sweet and incredibly kind. Thank you all so, so much. You guys can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @themenguin. That’s T-H-E-M-E-N-G-U-I-N. I also do a Lost retrospective podcast called “No Love Lost” where my co-host loves Lost and I don’t. So be sure to check that out.
EF: That’s amazing. I’m Emma Fyffe, I can be found all over the internet wherever Emma pipes are sold at my name @emmafyffe. Yeah, I got a lot of stuff going on, I tweet about it, though, so just, you know, follow me on Twitter and you’ll know everything that it–Oh! Number one, next Tuesday is my birthday. [cheers] But also volume 3 of He Left a Dead Witch is the Call of Cthulu anthology series that we’ve been doing over on the Twitch channel @hyperRPG starts that night, so it’ll be at 7 o’clock p.m. Pacific time. You don’t have to watch the other volumes to know what’s going on, so check that out on twitch.tv/hyperRPG.
KC: You can follow yellow lion Mark Donica at @MarkBDonica. You can follow blue lion Alexis Torres at @atorrest890. I’m Katie Cullen, you can follow me all over the social medias as well as on YouTube and Twitch at @kiaxet. That is K-I-A-X-E-T. I am also on an Overwatch called “On the Point”, and I am on an all things Roosterteeth podcast along with Megan and a host of other wonderful people called the–called “Rooster Team Radio”, so anchor.fm/theroosterteam if you still want to hear us talk about things including giant robots because Gen:LOCK is a thing.
Host: Gen:LOCK is amazing!
KC: Gen:LOCK is such a thing. Well, this is it. Thank you again for coming on. Thank you guys for doing this entire ridiculous show with me. Thank you everyone for watching. See you later, paladudes.
Voiceover: Our founder: Keven Undergaro and me, Megan Menounos, would like to thank you for tuning in to Afterbuzz TV. Remember, we’re not just the first, we’re the biggest in the world and we’re the only destination for all your favorite TV shows. Whatever you crave, we’ve got it, so go to afterbuzztv.com and check out our lineup. Buzz you later!