At New York Comic-Con, MFR got to chat with the EPs behind the Netflix reboot of VOLTRON. We also got to talk with some of the stars, including Kimberly Brooks (Allura), Josh Keaton (Shiro), and A.J. LoCascio (Prince Lotor).
A.J, how did you find the voice for Prince Lotor?
A.J. LOCASCIO: I worked on a movie that was cancelled where I basically used that voice, but the nice version. I loved that voice – it’s kind of like a weird Ewan McGregor-James McAvoy, with a little something extra. It’s just a voice I really wanted to do, and when I saw the audition, I just went “I want to use that voice for something.” Because I did all this work on this thing, and it all just disappeared into the ether, and we’ll never hear or see from it again. So it started with that, and then I took it and repurposed it, gave it that purple twist.
Allura finally gets her own lion at the season 3. How do we see her do more with the lion, while also dealing with her Altean background now that we know about Haggar?
KIMBERLY BROOKS: Oh yeah, that was a shock, right? Yeah, Allura’s got a lot on her plate. But I think she kind of relishes this, because I personally think deep down, she’s always wanted to be a pilot. That’s why I think she was so disappointed in the sequence where they’re all trying out the different lions and whatnot. The biggest thing that she has to accomplish is getting the Voltron Coalition, getting everyone together. Because with Zarkon awake now, possibly, and with Lotor… who knows what can happen. But some stuff is gonna go down.
Do we also see the Paladins explore dark quintessense dust more?
BROOKS: I think quintessense is gonna be a key factor.
LOCASCIO: They’re gonna ask some questions about it.
BROOKS: Everyone’s after it, but we also saw what effect it can have, when we saw the flashbacks with the old Paladins. It’s dangerous, but she does know how to manipulate it and use it… but do the others?
LOCASCIO: It’s not going away.
How do you think Allura and Lotor’s first interaction is going to go? Is it going to play off the original? Because I know Lotor was a little creepy.
LOCASCIO: (laughs) No, I don’t think it’ll be anything like that.
BROOKS: I mean, that’s an interesting question, because they’ve got to have some backstory.
LOCASCIO: I think they’re gonna be at odds a little bit. I quite honestly don’t remember, but I mean, just from my own brain, I feel like there’d be a little tension there.
JOSH KEATON: Well she originally mistrusted Keith, even though she knew Keith, when she found out he was half Galra. This guy’s the son of Zarkon.
BROOKS: It’s Galra, you know?
LOCASCIO: But that hair. Maybe it’ll win her over.
We see that Shiro comes back and can’t pilot the Black Lion anymore. He’s sort of taken more of a back seat this time, letting Keith lead. How does he feel about taking this new role on the team?
KEATON: I think that there’s definitely an adjustment. He supports Keith, one hundred percent, he’s stuck his neck out for Keith a lot. I think that there’s still a big part of him that wants to do it. He still wants to pilot the Black Lion, still wants to be the leader. That was giving his life a lot of meaning. He’s been through a lot of stuff. So I’m sure that there’s some frustration with the fact that Keith is kind of reluctant to step up, but he still has to understand that he might not be ready. There’s a lot of conflict that he is going through that he doesn’t necessarily let on.
What new things can we expect to see in season four, considering we got a lot of great backstory & cliffhangers from last season?
LAUREN MONTGOMERY: I think we can expect to see a little bit of a shake-up on both sides. We’ve got the Galra Empire, which has Lotor trying to lead it, and Zarkon’s just woken up, so we’ll see how he likes what Lotor’s done. And then we’ve also got this clearly new Paladin crew that’s trying to figure things out – a little bit of Keith’s reluctance to accept leadership, but Shiro’s trying to coach him and help him along.
JOAQUIM DOS SANTOS: We’ve got the Coalition, still building and building. We’re trying to make the scale of that battle they can bring to the Galra Empire even bigger. You know, flipping planets…
MONTGOMERY: Working them, selling them for a profit.
DOS SANTOS: Yeah, it’s a new show on HGTV, ‘Planet Flippin’.’ (laughs)
You guys do really great character studies on VOLTRON. How important was it for you to have these interpersonal issues on both sides?
MONTGOMERY: I think it was something that evolved organically. It was something that we knew was a possibility, but it just so happened in our story that they ended up hitting at the same time. It was a really nice duality.
DOS SANTOS: The duality struck us after the fact. We knew we wanted to build some complexity, we didn’t want Lotor to just be a mustache-twirling villain. We knew we wanted that, it was just interesting to see them veer off and marry each other in a weird way. Honestly, without all the character stuff, you can get into all the battles you want, none of it’s gonna matter, you gotta care about what’s really going on.
With the Voltron Coalition, are we going to see some characters coming back?
MONTGOMERY: I think it’s safe to say we’ll definitely see some characters come back. They’ve made a lot of allies on the road, and there’s gonna make some new ones too. But why make allies if you’re not gonna use them?
Do we also get to explore more of the alternate universe stuff, like with the return of Sven? Are they gonna recruit 20 other teams of [alternate reality] Voltrons?
DOS SANTOS: We’d love to. Budgetarily, that gave me a heart attack. Yeah, the possibility’s always open. When you open that door to other realities, it’s always lingering out there. Exactly when, or how, or if that’s gonna play out, we can’t really say. We’re just excited that we created a multiverse possibility.
Season 4 of VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER airs this Friday, October 13th!