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'Voltron' co-showrunner previews 'new phase' ahead in Season 7

'Voltron' co-showrunner previews 'new phase' ahead in Season 7
An image from Netflix's "Voltron: Legendary Defender" (DreamWorks)

“Voltron: Legendary Defender” has been fighting the forces of evil on Netflix for six seasons now, and Aug. 10, the battle will continue when Season 7 launches on the streaming service.

The premiere date was announced Friday as part of the animated series’ Comic-Con panel. During the panel, those in attendance also got a first look at the season premiere, titled “A Little Adventure.”

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The episode finds our Paladin heroes dealing with their first bout of trouble as they try to find their way back home to Earth without the benefit of a wormhole-jumping spaceship. They still have their lions, but the lions need to power up. Also, during the episode, flashbacks reveal that team leader Shiro left behind his boyfriend, Adam, when he joined the military mission that put him on his current path.

The panel following the screening included executive producers Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, who were joined by voice actors Rhys Darby, Bex Taylor-Klaus and Jeremy Shada as well as story editor Josh Hamilton.

The Times was able to chat with Dos Santos separately to discuss the evolution of the show past its nostalgic roots and what he's learned about "Voltron” fans.

The Paladins of Voltron will be finally going home in the new season after losing their spaceship home for the last six seasons, the Castle of Lions. What problems will this present?

The Castle of Lions was the team's only means of “fast travel.” The ability to generate wormholes and skip across the universe in the blink of an eye is now gone, leaving the team exposed and extremely vulnerable to the ever-present dangers that exist out in the vastness of space. They’re going to have to get extremely creative as they make their way back home.

You’ve expanded on the story of Voltron exponentially (to me and from what I remember). What was the story beat or moment that caught you by surprise in terms of your own storytelling?

Now that we are this deep into the series, more than any “one moment” I think seeing how these characters have evolved over the course of the series is what’s been most surprising. Each writer, each director, designer, story artist, actor, animator, etc. has contributed to that evolution and had an impact on the characters arcs, and therefore the overall story arc. We of course had loose parameters of where we wanted things to go but it’s been really interesting to see how the characters have almost taken on a life of their own in that regard.

The room that has presented the “Voltron” panel has grown since your first appearance [at Comic-Con]. Entering the seventh season of “Voltron,” what have you learned about the audience for your show?

That they are extremely passionate, extremely creative and extremely loyal. It’s amazing to think about where we were ... where Voltron was when “Legendary Defender” first began streaming. Obviously there was an entrenched pop culture/brand recognition for Voltron going back to the ’84 series but it had been quite a while since its heyday. By and large it was males who were now in their 30s and 40s who would share nostalgic memories of racing home to catch the show after school let out. Cut to present day and we’ve now got this amazingly dedicated and diverse fan base who come from every walk of life who more often than not were not yet alive or just being born when the original show was airing. They had little to no ties with the original series. They’ve created and cultivated a massive online community around the show, produce incredibly intricate costumes based on the characters, share all manner of Voltron-related art, stories and fan theories online... It’s humbling to see how much talent, creativity and passion there is out there.

You had memories of “Voltron” coming into the project. You’re creating memories for a new generation, so what would you want a 10-year-old to remember about your show?

We recognize how positive an impact animation had on imaginations in those formative years and to think that this show could be doing that for a kid out there watching now.... It’s just incredibly humbling that’s really the only word to describe it. If there is one takeaway that we’d like to see from our show I’d say it’s for any kid watching to just be the best version themselves. Be comfortable and proud of who they are and what they have to contribute to the greater good.

Hunk, Pidge, Romelle, Coran and Lance in "Voltron: Legendary Defender."
Hunk, Pidge, Romelle, Coran and Lance in "Voltron: Legendary Defender." (DreamWorks / Netflix)

Everyone should’ve known that Lotor was evil, but the writers and AJ [LoCascio, who voices Lotor] did a great job throwing us off (just for a bit). Any hints for the coming season?

We can’t say much... But what we can say is with the conclusion of Season 6 we’ve crossed a pretty massive hurdle. A few of our bigger story/character arcs have come to their natural conclusions and with that, the story and tone will now shift as our crew now enters this new phase of their adventure.

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