Remember that proof-of-concept new Voltron show I wanted to show you guys? Well, I found it.
It’s very rough but it looks pretty cool. There also seem to be influences from the Devil’s Due run, with the mechanical mice and the heroes eyes glowing, possibly being a connection to the lion spirits first introduced in The Third Dimension (where the background music comes from) and built upon in those comics. However, this is no the Voltron that Nickelodeon and Kickstart Productions (no connection to Kickstarter as far as I know) gave us. Instead we got this:
I remember when this show first aired I was saying to myself “I hope we don’t get some hip hop rap version of the theme song that so many reboots were trying”. And that’s what we got. Look, I do like some hip hop and rap songs but definitely NOT “Let’s Voltron”. But if this had been the worst sin that Nickelodeon’s Voltron Force had dropped on us I could have handled that. The animation looks good, right? And then the show began. Tonight we’ll be looking at the first three episode to see how it started before discussing why this show was such a disappointment.
Speaking of Devil’s Due and The Third Dimension, Voltron Force seems to have taken a few elements. We later learn that Wade’s problem with Voltron was that he was rejected by the Black Lion, which I hear also played into Legendary Defender recently. (Black Lion rejecting pilots I mean.) That’s why The suits look like Third with the matching colors and lion-shaped helmets. Meanwhile the Space Mice are mechanical or at least biomechanical, like in the Devil’s Due comic. And the RoBeasts in this story are from the first story arc of the original series. But despite using the end of season 1 as their backstory (which The Third Dimension also did), this comes off more like a reboot as changes would come up in the lore. The keys have a new shape, but that could be lack of paying attention. The Voltcoms they wear could just be considered new tech but it does go off in its own path from what I’ve heard. I tried to give the show a chance but I think by episode 7 it lost me.
The biggest problem I had were the kids. Look, I usually don’t have a problem with kid characters, and our three youngsters are interesting enough. But like Wade, they just feel like they would have been better suited in their own show instead of stuffed into Voltron. The kids develop skills and abilities (especially Vince) that are fine, but they should have taken the Voltcoms to a different story. Maybe three kids find some secret technomagic that they use to attempt to expose a power-mad general putting Earth under martial law. That might have been a good story.
From there the Voltron stuff could have been its own series. Lotor returns, using leftover mystic ore that resulted from Hagar’s destruction, and now Voltron is needed to stop him again. Wade and the kids feel like a distraction to the Voltron stuff while Voltron seems to be holding back the kids’ story. (Also, how does Allura have a niece when she didn’t have siblings? The only family we’ve ever seen are ghosts or Allura’s aunt.) You could even let the kids keep “Awesometron”, a Voltron-ish robot they put together along the way, or if you really want this to be a Voltron series have it set well after the Voltron Force retired or passed away and still have your “next generation” type story. Or even use the opportunity to finally bring the Gladiator Voltron into canon but that’s highly unlikely.
The only thing I truly hate about this show is the trading gimmick they gave Voltron. Notice how odd the lions look compared to past and future incarnations? Well, at some point they add the trick that any lion can now form the body of Voltron, each having their own unique “Blazing Weapon”. For example Lance has guns, since the weapon of their head formation is the same as their individual Voltcom weapons, which is why Keith’s weapons look like the Blazing Sword. It’s an interesting idea, but for Voltron it feels so out of place that it’s distracting and Voltron looks terrible compared to his other forms, although there is a hint of Third Dimension‘s “Stealth Voltron” in appearance.
Overall Voltron Force was a letdown, filled with good ideas that clashed and would have been better served as two separate stories. Some things just work better on their own. But some things also go well together. Next in the Voltronathon we’re going to go back to the beginning. Right now in my reviews of the Devil’s Due run we’re going to see the Voltrons fight each other…but what happens when they fight together?