Chants of "Voltron! Voltron!" were ringing in the air at the WonderCon convention at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The anticipation for the return of this animated series was high, especially since very little was known about the secretive Netflix series "Voltron: Legendary Defender," until now.
The crowd of elated fans was treated to never-before-seen footage from DreamWorks Animation. And as the lights went out the madness froze. Clearly the world is ready for the return of the gigantic cat-hand robot.
For the uninitiated, "Voltron" was a hit anime program created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann in 1984. In it, a team of five young pilots command five robot lions that can be combined to form Voltron -- a giant, sword-wielding robot. That's right, robot lions turn into a gigantic robot.
The animated series comes with a built-in fan base and a lot of history. And the new Netflix series will no doubt only add to the fan fervor as it's being helmed by the folks from "Legend of Korra," another cult-loved animated property.
After the surprise footage the panelists took the stage. "Legend of Korra" alum Joaquim Dos Santos, now executive producer of "Voltron," co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery and writer Tim Hedrick were joined by members of the cast, which we can finally confirm.
The voices of the new team Voltron actors are:
- Tyler Labine ("Tucker and Dale vs. Evil") as Hunk
- Jeremy Shada (the voice of Finn from "Adventure Time") as Lance
- Bex Taylor-Klaus ("The Last Witch Hunter) as Pidge
- Josh Keaton (Hal Jordan in "Green Lantern: The Animated Series") as Shiro
- Kimberly Brooks (Ashley Williams in "Mass Effect") as Princess Allura
- Rhys Darby ("Flight of the Conchords") as Coran
- Steven Yeun ("Walking Dead's" Glenn) as Keith
Sadly, "Walking Dead" actor Steven Yeun couldn't be at the panel, but he sent a special greeting to the WonderCon crowd.
Interspersed between tales of fun voiceover moments and cast interactions -- many having to do with the comedic stylings of New Zealander Darby -- more clips were shown. One clip revealed the first robot lion to be introduced to the group (Lance's blue lion) and another included a battle with a Robeast. But more importantly the footage showcased the style of the new "Voltron" series, which you can also see in the new trailer below.
After a few requests, the panelists yelled the catchphrase, "Form Voltron!" from the stage, igniting the crowd yet again. Questions having to do with an upcoming Voltron movie (there isn't one), were brushed aside. At the end of the presentation about three-fourths of the room rose to its feet to applaud the panel.
The actors carried that giddiness with them as they continued to answer questions afterward. Not only this was the first time they had seen a lot of the footage screened at the panel, but they were also finally able to spill the beans after being sworn to secrecy about their involvement in the franchise.
Labine, one of the first actors to be hired, waited for a long time as different casts were formed with different scripts and other changes. He wondered aloud, "Is this really a thing? Are we really doing 'Voltron'?"
The panel, though, was cathartic, "It's such a rewarding, amazing feeling to be here today and to see it reaching people and seeing their reactions," Labine said. "And seeing that all of that secret-keeping -- which can cause cancer -- meant something to them. Because if all those people had seen stuff, it wouldn't have been as cool for them. So it is worth it."
When asked about their level of fandom for the show, Labine said he was a fan from his childhood. "Voltron and He-Man were it for me," said Labine. Actor Keaton agreed, adding a "scary" Scooby-Doo to his influences.
Topics included Andrea Romano's direction, the camaraderie among the cast, even when working seprately, and getting ready mentally to perform as an actor in a story that had been a big influence on them.
"And it's not just 'Voltron.' It's 'Voltron' and Netflix and DreamWorks," said Darby.
Brooks, who voices Princess Allura, was prepared for it, though. "I knew from the get-go that this was going to be a big deal," said Brooks. "I can't wait to get the scripts."
As for the plot, will the "Legend of Korra" folks bring their epic story-telling style to "Voltron?" Darby thinks so, saying "It's somewhat of a space opera. I can't want for people to binge it. Yeah, it's a total binge show."
So when will this bingey show be available? The official air date (also announced at the WonderCon panel) is June 10, 2016.
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