I’m not usually terribly susceptible to nostalgia. There’s lots of cool older stuff, but there’s just as much cool new stuff. There are no ‘good old days.’
But then there’s Voltron, and Voltron completely scrambles my resistance to nostalgia. This new trailer is no different. I watch it, and the feels come fast and heavy, totally out of my control. So I have to step back and remind myself that Voltron, as we saw it, us old kids, was actually pretty stupid. It was hacked together from two shows, heavily censored, and tinkered with to make it more kid-friendly. That should worry me.
But when I hear executive producers Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery talk about it, I know I’m not wrong to remember it as fondly as I do or to look forward to Voltron: Legendary Defender, the new Netflix animated reboot, produced in conjunction with Dreamworks.
Dos Santos knows how to make animation that doesn’t condescend to its audience – he’s done everything from storyboarding to directing to producing on shows like The Legend of Korra, G.I. Joe: Resolute, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a whole list of DC Comics animation.
Montgomery explained the team’s angle on the show:
“We wanted to make it closer to what we remember the show being versus what it actually ends up being when you go back and watch it,” she said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
The show’s place in geek culture has outgrown what the show started as, getting references all over the place, including some of the best jokes in the recent Deadpool movie.
“The nostalgia for the original show is what has carried it through to this point. People still reference is and people still talk about ‘teaming up like Voltron,” Dos Santos said.
The original series, GoLion, is pretty far removed from Voltron. It was much darker. Instead of being cursed by a space witch, Beast King GoLion, as he’s called, got arrogant and challenged a space goddess (everything in Voltron has the word ‘space’ before it to make sure you know where it takes place). She broke him up to teach him a lesson.
When the series begins, the galaxy is at war and the five characters return to earth to find the population of earth annihilated by nuclear weapons. The characters are captured and have to fight for their lives coliseum-style. One of the main characters dies early on in the series, and a lot of the violence shown in the American version as robot explosions was actually pretty bloody stuff.
The team working on the new Voltron is aware of both the nostalgia and the dissonance there, and Montgomery said that they’ve “cherry-picked” some of the darker stuff while still trying to keep things lighthearted.
Team Voltron in the new series seems to be a bit more aware of the absurd situation they’re in.
“Our teens are reacting to the insane idea [that] there’s a giant intergalactic war going on, and now they’re going to pilot fie lions that become a larger robot, and one lion will wear another as a… well, a boot,” Dos Santos said. “Our characters respond to the notion that this is an absolutely crazy idea.
If the nostalgia and Deadpool seal of approval aren’t enough, the ten-episode series has some pretty cool voices. Jeremy Shada (Finn the Human, Adventure Time), Steve Yeun (Glenn, The Walking Dead), and Rhys Darby (Murray, Flight of the Conchords) make up part of the voice cast.
If Dos Santos, Montgomery, and their team can pull this off – and signs are good that they will – then we’re going to have a super cool show when Voltron: Legendary Defender hits Netflix on June 10.