Voltron: Legendary Defender

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Spoiler Warning: This article may contain spoilers. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

Fandom
Name: Voltron: Legendary Defender
Abbreviation(s): Voltron
Creator: Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery
Date(s): June 10, 2016 – December 14, 2018
Medium: Cartoon
Country of Origin: USA
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Voltron: Legendary Defender is an animated web television series (a Netflix Original Series) that reboots both the Beast King GoLion anime series and the Voltron franchise.

Main Protagonists

Main Antagonists

Secondary Characters

Fandom

About the Fandom

The age range of the audience varies for this show. Some adults watch it because they watched the original 80s show and many teenagers also watch it, but the target audience is generally children. The Tumblr fandom is generally made up of teenagers and young adults and is one of the most popular fandoms on Tumblr according to thefandometrics.

There has been some controversy in the fandom surrounding the shipping of Shiro with the other paladins (including Allura), due to unclear information about the paladins' official ages. As of July 2017, no definitive ages have been provided for any of the characters. The crew has implied that none will be given and has encouraged fans to use their imaginations, but “safe zones” were given via Word of God (ie, unofficially) to a fan at a convention [citation needed]. Shipping between Shiro and the other paladins is referred to as Shaladin, often used pejoratively by anti-shippers. Other fans draw the line at shipping Pidge with other characters, referred to as Piladin (portmanteau of Pidge + Paladin).

Klance vs Sheith was a significant ship war related to Shaladin.

Recently, the fandom has generated even more controversy over the introduction of the character Lotor. This is due to his status as a villain and problematic behavior of past iterations of this character. Some fans are concerned that others may sympathize with his character, victimize his character, and/or enjoy him non-critically. There is also controversy surrounding shipping Lotor with the paladins, similar to Shaladin, and is referred to as Palotor.

Fans have created public blacklists listing Tumblr users who support certain ships. This has garnered even more controversy, and led to a backlash by pro-shippers in fandom. After anti-shippers threatened and harassed voice actor Josh Keaton and his family in early 2018, a sizeable portion of the Tumblr fandom adopted a zero tolerance policy for anti behavior, refusing to follow, like or reblog posts made by antis regardless of content.

The fandom continues to be one of the largest on Tumblr, with Klance and Sheith consistently ranking on Fandometrics top pairings lists.

Terminology

  • Shaladin: All Shiro/paladin ships.
  • Piladin: All Pidge/paladin ships.
  • Palotor: All Lotor/paladin ships.
  • Klanti: A Klance fan who is also an anti.
  • Laith: An alternative name for Klance coined by shippers who wanted to distance themselves from the more notorious and toxic parts of their fandom.
  • Langst: Lance angst
  • KICK: Short for "Klance is canon king", a popular catchphrase of various Klance fans.

Controversies

This article or section needs expansion.

Voltron controversies might need its own page. It's also an unfolding situation.

Shipping Controversies

There have been numerous instances of spam in the main ship tag for Sheith and in private messages on Tumblr, the most infamous of which being Tumblr user fairymatsu (link to Tumblr user huntypastellance's records FM's abuse), who spammed users (not just Sheith fans) with gore, child porn and rape images.

POC fans of various Shaladin ships were also often subjected to racist anon hate and harrassment.

The staff were continuously subjected to sexist and homophobic bashing and harrassment, supposedly in the name of better LGBT representation.

Another controversy involved the Sheith tag on AO3, where a user (or users) would write anti-shipping messages as 'fic' in the Sheith tag on AO3, then 'orphan' the work leaving it in the tag without an author to trace back to. This person or persons has since been IP blocked from AO3 after being reported for abuse.

The Sheith Fanlore page has also been subjected to hostile editing from various people identifying themselves as Klance fans.

Fandom Response to Shipping Controversies

In response to voice actor Josh Keaton's Tumblr post, many BNF banded together to create a campaign to stop harmful rhetoric in the fandom, particularly that of the anti-Shaladin faction on Tumblr. The movement encouraged fans on both sides of the shipping wars to unfollow, block and report 'fans' with the anti label and those who were harassing others.

Fanart Controversies

There have also been numerous controversies over fanart:

  • "Whitewashing" and subsequent "darkwashing" characters' skintones

Mostly about Lance and Allura but to a lesser degree Hunk, Shiro and Keith. Controversy continues over whether lightening characters' skintones in fanart is racist, and/or whether darkening skintones or giving characters "stereotypical" facial features (i.e. giving Shiro stereotypical Asian features and Allura stereotypical Black features) in more realistic art styles is racist.

  • Shiro's eyes

Originally, it was joked that Shiro's eyes have wings because he wears eyeliner, but many fans took this joke too literally. Now many fans condemn the headcanon that Shiro wears eyeliner as racist, and maintain that his eyes are drawn to indicate monolids consistent with his Japanese heritage.

Season 7 and the Adam controversy

Shiro's ex-boyfriend Adam was killed off after very little screen time, leading to accusations of Bury Your Gays in the fandom. This led to the creators giving a public apology.

Ending Controversies

Much of the fandom was not satisfied with the ending, or the final season as a whole.[1] The series ended with Allura sacrificing herself to mend broken realities, and Shiro marrying a minor character in a hasty epilogue meant to quell the Adam outrage.[2]The case of Shiro's last-minute wedding sparked new outrage among fans who felt that Voltron had failed them in LGBT representation. [3][4] Meanwhile, Allura's fate was considered racist and Fridging due to her being a woman of color, and many were not pleased with her role in season 8 as she became a conductor for a dark entity that essentially brainwashed her as she tried to gain insight to Honerva's past.

When Lauren and Joaquim finally spoke about the ending after several months, fandom became even angrier and turned against them for supposedly ruining the series.

Headcanons

Some people like to think the following, even if they have not been confirmed:

  • Pidge Gunderson is transgender (female-to-male or male-to-female), or genderfluid, agender, etc.
  • Keith Kogane is Korean/Japanese (differentiated opinions on this one)
  • Keith Kogane and Takashi Shirogane are brothers/cousins (biologically related in some way). This has been jossed by the series.

Interestingly, certain headcanons that were prevalent after the first season aired were confirmed canon in the second season. These included:

  • Lance being Cuban.
  • Keith being part Galra (and southern!), though arguably, his Galra heritage was already planned and was foreshadowed in the first season.
  • Lotor existing in the show's universe.

Shipping

Soon after the first season was released slash dominated the fandom with Lance/Keith emerging as the juggernaut ship with Shiro/Keith close behind. Shiro/Keith gained further popularity after the second season. While there is some het shipping and fanworks, it's seen less often, with the notable exceptions of Allura/Shiro (although the ship has suffered major backlash for the toxic behavior of Shallura shippers and for Shiro being outright confirmed gay). After season three, Lance/Allura gained a following when the series shifted to developing their friendship. After season five, Princess Allura/Lotor became the most popular het ship although its break down in season six divided opinions. After season season, Shiro/Adam skyrocketed to fame and was noted in the press for it's LGBT representation. Femslash is very uncommon in fanworks although Ezor/Zethrid is canonical. Ship names take the namesmoosh approach.

Voltron: Legendary Defender is notable in that it is the first series that does not replicate the classic Keith/Allura/Lotor love triangle which can be disappointing for older fans of the franchise. The Allura/Lotor romance is no longer one-sided on Lotor's part but her ultimate love interest is actually Lance. There is no romance arc between Keith and Allura nor does it have the Keith and Lotor rivalry. The show has given a few nods to the Keith/Allura relationship which according to Word of God was a shout-out to the original series. They have also stated multiple times in interviews how Keith and Lotor parallel each other, or that Lotor is Keith's evil counterpart. Keith and Lotor were originally going to be heavily connected in the story but much of what they wanted to do with Keith's character and the story itself was changed to accomodate keeping Shiro alive, hence Keith and Lotor end up barely interacting. There are still, however, ardent fans of Keith/Allura, Keith/Lotor, or Keith/Allura/Lotor.

Common Pairings

Other Pairings

Common OT3s

Polydins

Polydins is a play on the words "poly", referring to a polyamorous relationship, and "paladins" referring the the main characters in the show. This is the relatively common practice of shipping three or more of the paladins (including Allura) in a Poly relationship.

Fanworks

Fanfiction


Popular stories that may have abandoned or deleted

Fanart

Zines

See Category:Voltron Zines for a more complete list of VLD zines that have pages on Fanlore. See also vldfanmerch's zine tag.

Archives & Fannish Links

References

  1. https://www.buzzfeed.com/santanawinter/voltronas-foibles-how-the-self-interest-of-writ-5wjwpmnqbt
  2. https://medium.com/@jordan.j.victoria/an-open-letter-to-dreamworks-lauren-montgomery-and-joaquim-dos-santos-from-an-lgbt-woman-of-color-cbeeb2c73045
  3. https://geekdad.com/2018/12/how-the-end-of-voltron-legendary-defender-exemplifies-the-quarantining-of-queerness-in-animation/
  4. https://medium.com/@curt.words/the-harmful-utilization-of-trauma-disability-and-death-in-voltron-legendary-defender-18cc70f6ea7e