Voltron: Legendary Defender
|Name:||Voltron: Legendary Defender|
|Abbreviation(s):||Voltron, VLD, Voltron: LD|
|Creator:||Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery|
|Date(s):||June 10, 2016 – December 14, 2018|
|Country of Origin:||USA|
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Voltron: Legendary Defender is an animated web television series (a Netflix Original Series) that reboots the 1984 Voltron franchise.
- Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane - The black paladin.
- Keith - The red paladin.
- Lance - The blue paladin.
- Pidge Gunderson - The green paladin. Real name: Katie Holt.
- Hunk - The yellow paladin.
- Princess Allura - Pilot of the Castle of Lions.
- Coran - Advisor to the princess.
- Shay - Resident of the Balmera.
- Kolivan - leader of the Blade of Marmora.
- Romelle - an Altean.
- Krolia - Keith's mother.
- King Alfor - Allura's father.
About the Fandom
The age range of the audience for this show is broad, including both children and adults. Some adults were fans of original 80s show, while others were drawn in by the complex characters and depth of plot. The reputation of the creative team as veterans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel The Legend of Korra also drew in many former fans of those shows. Despite the diverse age range of the fandom, the target audience is nominally children. The Tumblr fandom is generally made up of teenagers and young adults and while the show was airing was 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 . 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).
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.
- 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.
- 2 April 2017: Shalluragate
- Klance vs Sheith
- 8 May 2017: More wank involving racist insults against Sheith shippers, harassment of staff, suicide baiting, etc.
- 29 May 2017: Voltron: Legendary Defender 'fan' blackmails studio to make a gay ship canon on the show on Syfy.com
- 10 June 2017: Voice actor Bex Taylor-Klaus makes a "Sheith confirmed" joke on Instagram. Antis don't take it well.
- 31 October 2017: A group of antis harass Karen Lance, a real estate agent over her username @klance on Twitter.
- 23 November 2017: An anti drags a 9-year-old into the shipwar, posting a video of them online without their parents' consent. Much wank ensues.
- 25 December 2017: Some Klance shippers start a shipwar against Korrasami and Bubbline, convinced Klance is better LGBT rep.
- 3 February 2018: Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos confirm Klance isn't happening in canon.
- 10 March 2018: Voice actor Josh Keaton posts on Tumblr re:Shipping, announces he is 'removing myself from ship talk completely'
- 11 March 2018: Antis attack voice actor Josh Keaton online over an old interview and threaten his wife and kids.
- 15 June 2018: Post-season 6 meltdown.
- 18 July 2018: An anti gets a job as a storyboard revisionist on the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power cartoon, proceeds to publicly endorse other antis sending hate to the Voltron staff.
- 18 July 2018: Lauren Montgomery confirms that the "Heroic men and women and Lance..." line in Shiro's vlog was a joke at Lance's expense, not proof that Lance is nonbinary. In response, antis filled her Twitter mentions with rape threats, death threats and threats to break her hands at SDCC.
- Further sources
- Season-by-season breakdown of Klanti arguments against various pairings
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.
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.
There was significant attention and controversy around Adam, who was introduced in Season 7 as Shiro's significant other. There was a largely negative reaction when his role turned out to be very minor.
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.
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.
Much of the fandom was not satisfied with the ending, or the final season as a whole. 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.The case of Shiro's last-minute wedding sparked new outrage among fans who felt that Voltron had failed them in LGBT representation.  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. Fannish activity dropped off incredibly fast for how large the fandom had been prior to the final season.
FreeVLDS8 is a fan movement that arose after the show's final season. A subset of the fandom concluded that the final episodes had been edited from the showrunners’ planned ending at the will of corporate higher-ups. The FreeVLDS8 movement demanded the release of a supposed uncut version of the season. The creators appeared to indicate that no such version exists, however supporters of the movement argue that they were compelled by their contracts to say this.
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 his Galra heritage was already planned and was foreshadowed in the first season.
- Lotor existing in the show's universe.
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 later being confirmed canonically 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 seven, Shiro/Adam skyrocketed to fame and was noted in the press for its 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.
- Hunk/Pidge, Hidge/Punk
- Shiro/Pidge, Shidge
- Keith/Pidge, Kidge
- Keith/Lotor, Keitor
- Lance/Lotor, Lancelot
- Shiro/Lotor, Shotor
- Allura/Lotor, Lotura
- Allura/Pidge, Pallura
- Zarkon/Haggar, Zaggar
- Hunk/Keith, Heith
- Lance/Shiro, Shance
- Shiro/Matt, Shatt/Miro
- Shiro/Adam, Shadam/Adashi
- Hunk/Shay, Hunay
- King Alfor/Coran, Alforan
- Keith Kogane/Matt Holt, Katt
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.
- Voltron: Duality by squirenonny; full-series AU, including Keith as a full-blooded Galra, Matt as a Red Paladin, and Allura as a Black Paladin.
- As Color Fades Away by IcyPanther
- flash in the pan by againstmygreenleaf
- Boom Crash by maychorian
- Parallel by Proxy by VelkynKarma
- Hound by story_monger
- Out of the Desert by rosemaryandtime
- My Little Lesbean™ by strawberrystars; one of the most popular Pidge/Allura fics.
- your claws in me by burlesquecomposer
- The Messsage by shipstiel
- On Thin Ice by Minadora
Popular stories that may have been abandoned or deleted
- Dirty Laundry (Voltron fanfiction) by Gibslythe; influential Modern AU that was, at one point, the most popular fic on AO3.
- A Childhood of Markers and Crayons by JustanInnocentWriter
- flowers by JustanInnocentWriter
- Those Flaming Rocks by Akabane_Gakushuu and Livesinanimehell
- #WhoIsVoltron by hulklinging
- To Steam a Latté by shipstiel
- Together by WynterArlene
- Just Text Me Later (a Klance Highschool AU) by treerainbellabina
- Way Out by kuulei_nuggets
- Coffee Shop by Biifurcaptor
- your claws in me by burlesquecomposer
- spell it out for me by TheBrokaryotes
- Lioness Den by Fabulously_gay_doritos
- Snowstorms, Scotch, and Sandwiches by libertarian_firelord
- Drive! by wolfgun
- i like you a latte by WynterArlene
- Marked Petals by Greyisles
- Admitting You're Pining Is The First Step To Recovery by WaterCacti
- Shiro Art by your-buddy-keith on Tumblr
- Kitten Paladin Ver. Hunk by chishionrnr on Tumblr
- Pidge/Lance animatic by honestlyprettychill on Tumblr
- Be my sidekick? - Klance animatic by cellyfish-art on Tumblr
- Lions and their paladins by velinxi on Tumblr
- Amor: A Lance McClain/Keith zine
- Between Two Points: A Shiro/Keith zine
- Clarity: A Shiro/Keith zine
- Closer to Home: A Matt/Shiro zine
- Eternal Eclipse: A horror themed Voltron zine
- Klance!: A Lance McClain/Keith zine
- Lion Hearts: A Shiro/Keith zine
- Magnetize: A Lance McClain/Keith zine
- Moonlight: A Shiro zine
- Pixel Fumes: A Shiro/Keith zine
- The Pride: A family-themed Voltron zine
- Pulse: A Shiro/Keith zine
- Sheith Charity Zine: A Shiro/Keith zine
- Shooting Stars: A Shiro/Keith zine
- Space Cadets: A Hunk, Lance, and Pidge zine
- Starboy: A Lance-centric Voltron zine
- Stars Aligned: A Shallura zine
- Suit Up!
- Voltron LookBook
- Years & Years: A Princess Allura zine
- Discourse Demographics Survey, a 2017 fan survey of the Voltron fandom.
- List of Voltron: Legendary Defender Challenges
Archives & Fannish Links
- Voltron: Legendary Defender works at AO3
- Voltron: Legendary Defender works at FFN
- Voltron News and Updates