Voltron Franchise

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Name: Voltron: Defender of the Universe
Abbreviation(s): DOTU
Creator: Peter Keefe, John Teichmann
Date(s): September 10, 1984
Medium: Anime
Country of Origin: USA, Japan
External Links:
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The Voltron Franchise is a collection of animated television series, comic books, and a movie that revolve around a team of space explorers who pilot a giant super robot known as "Voltron", a giant robot that forms when five robot lions come together to defend the universe from evil. The original show, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, was a syndicated children's show for two years during its original run and spawned a sequel movie, three follow-up series (including Netflix's successful Voltron: Legendary Defender), and several comic books.

While Voltron: Defender of the Universe utilizes the same art assets as the anime Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, it is important to note that these are where the similarities end. Due to a combination of not having translations initially, and needing to edit the show to conform to the more conservative standards for USA children's programming, much of the graphic content of Beast King GoLion was edited out and the plot of Voltron: Defender of the Universe was created using the remaining assets, with the necessary changes to names and concepts to fit the standards as well.


The Voltron franchise exists within the same general universe and plot, though Voltron: Legendary Defender is among the most unique in that aspect when compared to the rest of the franchise. The general premise and plot of Voltron is that the audience meets five space explorers (Keith, Lance, Pidge, Hunk, and Sven/Shiro) who stumble across a castle and find within it Princess Allura and Coran, respectively the daughter and scientist to the late King Alfor. Princess Allura and Coran inform the protagonists that they are on planet Arus and that Arus has been at war with Zarkon, a king looking to expand his empire, and they are losing. Without her father's legendary super robot Voltron, defeat of Arus is inevitable. The five protagonists agree to help Princess Allura and receive lion keys, five keys which power the different lions that make up Voltron. Keith takes command in Black Lion, Lance in Red, Pidge in Green, Hunk in Yellow, and Sven in Blue. In Voltron: Legendary Defender, the starting lineup of pilots and lions is Shiro taking command in Black, Keith in Red, Lance in Blue, Pidge in Green, and Hunk in Yellow. The team fights monsters known as robeasts, monsters made of magic and science by Zarkon's witch Haggar, to defend Arus and other planets from his invasions.

After a period of time fighting together, Sven/Shiro get sent to the Space Hospital or disappear after a battle with Zarkon, leaving one of the Voltron lions in need of a pilot. In Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Sven gets injured and is sent to the Space Hospital, leaving Blue lion in need of a pilot, so Princess Allura takes the mantle and learns to fly one of the legendary lions herself. In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Shiro disappears and after a period of no Voltron, Keith takes his place in Black, with Lance moving to Red, and Allura claiming Blue, which puts the characters into their legacy formation that Voltron: Defender of the Universe had.



The original series was created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann in 1984 using material that they had licensed from the Japanese animated series Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. However since they had no means of translating the Japanese series into English, Keefe and Teichman surmised the plots, commissioned writer Jameson Brewer to write all-new dialogue, edited out the more violent scenes, and remixed the audio into stereo format.[1]

Older fans of the series generally split the franchise into three categories - Mainline (all series released between DotU to Voltron Force), Devil's Due (the alternate universe comics continuity based on DoTU), and VLD (the 2016 continuity reboot of the mainline series with inspiration from GoLion and Robotech/Macross).

Voltron has had several series' and reboots over time. These include:


Voltron has many fans of all ages, but for the new show (Voltron: Legendary Defender) the majority of them are teens or children. Voltron: Legendary Defender's executive producers Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender, and so when the announcement was made that they would be producing Voltron: Legendary Defender, fans familiar with their prior work flocked to the show, raising the average age of the viewer to substantially older than the Y7 rating would expect to draw. Fans from prior Voltron iterations such as Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Voltron Force also make up a healthy portion of the fandom, though their numbers are small when compared to the volumes that Voltron: Legendary Defender drew in.




Further Reading

Archives & Fannish Links


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Found via the tag search and sorting January 2019.