Lighting the Torch

If you haven’t been following the posts on Twitter, you might have missed some of the work #TeamPurpleLion has been pulling together. Amidst the torrent of interviews and comments coming from WEP, it can be easy to feel lost in the sea of chaos.

We’ve been getting some questions on whether we are still pushing for the release of the original Season 8, and what our future plans are.

The short answer? Yes, yes we are.

I’ve prepared a summary for you of who we are, what we have done, how WEP has responded, as well as some future thoughts.

(image edit courtesy @dragonofyang)

(Please note, anything cited on this update post can be found on my blog page titled “Meta”.  Tumblr is stupid now with links, but all our work can be found in one place there – either add a /meta after my blog name, or pop the bigass Meta button at the top of my page.)

Who We Are

#TeamPurpleLion started off as a group of analysts frustrated by what appeared to be some bizarre narrative choices in the final season of VLD, and how it seemed to be in stark contrast to what was initially promised to be delivered, both by the story itself and by the directors.  The story felt jarring and broken, as if it didn’t fit together in a coherent manner.  Upon closer inspection, @leakinghate began finding where the animation itself was edited.

We quickly began speculating that what we were seeing was not only not the intended story, but was changed after all the animation had been finished. 

This indicated to us that the decision was not by the directors, but by someone much higher up the ladder that saw the final take and disliked it.  Someone who had enough sway to force a complete rewrite of the narrative.  We have found many instances – 20k-words-worth – of where the animation has been cropped, re-figured, and/or characters have even been literally traced over each other.  Due to the eleventh-hour timeline with no budget left, the rough Frankenstein of a season leaves plenty of clues to tease out the original narrative, and we believe we have, for the most part, secured the original vision. (See: @leakinghate ‘s “Chasing the Ghosts of Season 8” and “Seek Truth In Darkness”)

With the question of “what the fuck?” answered, we moved on to “who?”  In a speculative piece, I postulated that perhaps the IP holder, WEP, (formerly World Events Productions) might have had a hand in it.  (See: Crystal-Rebellion’s “Interdimensional Executive Meddling: Voltron Style”).  Shortly after this was released, the Voltron Store (which was not mentioned at all in the piece), was quick to come forward and claim they had no creative control in it, while also denying to be affiliated with WEP at all, which was quickly proven to be factually inaccurate by their prior posts.  Shortly after, Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery confirmed that there were higher powers involved – and that DreamWorks was very easy to work with, but the IP pushed back.  

The phrase “toys for boys” was thrown around often, and even the animation studio has said they don’t recognize the final season from what they had originally worked on.  Furthermore, Dos Santos confirms that the changes were ordered after the entire season had been completed.  While we have been working on this, WEP has been responding.  After two months of silence, they finally take their first words through scripted interviews.  Yes, the EPs say some insensitive things.  Yes, they are infuriating.  They are supposed to be infuriating.  @dragonofyang has taking the time to transcribe the interviews so that you don’t have to listen to them. (See: Dragonofyang’s “Transcript: ABTV Interview March 4”, “Transcript ABTV Interview February 25” and “Let’s Voltron Podcast Episode 175”)


What The Fuck Is Going On, Exactly?

Twitter’s Eros has created a google drive document that archives the dance happening between WEP, TeamPurpleLion, and the fandom at large.  It’s continuously updated as it happens, and can be found here, as well – and will more accurately reflect the immediate state of affairs.  As of the posting of this summary, here is the collection of activity as it stands.  Please visit the actual page linked to interact with the hyperlinks.

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As you can see, WEP is responding – and are being caught in lie after lie.  We still have plans in the works, many more sources to sift through, and much, much more to come. #TeamPurpleLion has no intention of backing down until the original Season 8 is released, be it a director’s cut, its own movie – whatever.

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Q&A

“Gee, Crystal, this is all exciting, and sounds kind of surreal!  Isn’t this nuts?”

Yes, yes it is.  This is absolutely surreal and it’s incredibly off the radar, but the evidence is mounting up that it is, in fact, actually happening, regardless of how cinematic it may feel.

“I mean, it’s just a show though… right?  …Is it really worth this effort?  Shouldn’t we just move on?”

If you need to move on to spare your sanity, please do.  The most important thing is to keep yourself safe and do the best you can to heal.  For some of us, that healing happens by staying here.  Everyone is free – and should be – to do what they need to to recover.  For those who do wish to stay, allow me to explain why #TeamPurpleLion does.  We want to make sure this never happens again.  And… just to add – it’s not just the tropes. It’s the precedent.

“…Okay, I’ll bite.  Precedent?”

Yep.  So, here’s the deal on the fandom scale of things – it’s entirely uncharted.  No one in this industry has ever meddled to this extent before.  Sure, there’s always last minute decisions, changes, story arcs, but an entire rewrite of the last season that was meant to positively upturn so many toxic tropes actually reinforced them – that is absolutely new.  The fandom’s visceral reaction to it is utterly unprecedented.  We are literally sitting on the edge of a knife.  What we do here today, this month, this year – we set the tone.  As consumers, will we allow the greed-wallowing mongrels controlling the entertainment industry tell us what we can and can’t consume, what we will and won’t tolerate? That it’s okay for them to come in at the last minute and put a stranglehold on creators, because the person at the very top has an agenda that they want to push? I say no.  

If we win this, we prove that fandoms, that consumers, that customers will not tolerate such horseshit to be fed to us, and those who attempt to control us by pressing such bigoted and homophobic agendas down our throat will not be tolerated.

If we, as a whole, give up this fight, we set the standard that it’s okay for one white man in a castle to decide that he has the authority and right to tell little children that if someone hurts them, they become worthless.  That the color of their skin marks them for sacrifice.  That their orientation makes them something that needs to be erased.  That their gender makes them a prize to be won, unworthy of their own agency.

That is the precedent we are setting – and #TeamPurpleLion is going to stand against that narrative – to push back and tell those with the money and the privilege that we will not be fed this garbage, and we will not consume it as patrons.

To emphasize: for many in this fandom, walking away is the healthiest option.  #TPL promotes sanity and self-care above all else.  We in no way mean to imply that everyone should stand their ground.  We are merely trying to provide the foundation for those who wish to do so.

“…Well, shit.  What can I do?  Can I do anything?”

Absolutely.

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There are several routes, but there are two main ones:

Call or write (peacefully) to WEP.  Tell them how much their narrative hurt.  How much you despise it.  Tell them which character(s) you related to and why.  Explain how you feel about consuming their merchandise and paying them money either now, or for any future iterations of Voltron.  Money talks – it’s all the Koplars seem to listen to.

Mail:
World Events Productions
50 Maryland Plaza
St. Louis, MO
63108
USA

Call:
314-345-1000

Call or write (peacefully) to DreamWorks. Explain how you were hurt by VLD S8 – tell them how much you want to see the original season.  Explain how much (or little)  you trust their rating systems now.  Explain which character(s) you related to and why – and how the end of their arc affected you (be it positively or negatively.  #TPL does not want to put words into anyone’s mouths; simply give the tools to communicate effectively.)

Mail:
DreamWorks Animation
1000 Flower St
Glendale, CA
91201
USA

Call:
818-695-3719 (PR Department)

Call Voltron on Twitter has a standing offer to mail letters for those who can’t afford it themselves. Just email them your letter at callvoltron(at)gmail.com and they will send it for you.

We can make a difference.  WEP hears us.  The fact that after months of ignoring silence they are now responding means that they hear us.  

DreamWorks has the influence to add pressure if you appeal to them.  The Executive Producers have said as much – DreamWorks wanted the gay representation.  WEP pushed back.

It’s not an easy fight to be sure.  And it sounds like no one is listening, but the defenses they are throwing out, the lies they are weaving, the contradictions they keep giving – it means they do hear us.  Hang in there – you are not alone.  We are not alone.

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@leakinghate @felixazrael @dragonofyang @voltronisruiningmylife

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