Story Details Revealed for Netflix, DreamWorks' Voltron Reimagining

posted on by Karen Ressler
Character names, Voltron image revealed

News source USA Today shared details and a new image on Thursday for Voltron: Legendary Defender, a reimagining of the 1980s animated Voltron project which will stream exclusively on the Netflix service.

Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, who both worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Justice League Unlimited, will be executive producers on the show.

The serialized story will focus on five teenagers named Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Shiro. The heroes must defend Arus from King Zarkon's evil alien force. Unlike most of the characters from the original series, the main characters will have backstories and a purpose for going on the mission. The series will also have a Princess Allura, who Montgomery explained will be more realistic and "certainly not fainting at every little thing that overwhelms her."

Dos Santos said that the staff considered a "really military and really serious" story, but opted for a Game of Thrones-style epic with humor and "the campy nature of five lions that become a giant robot."

Montgomery added that, in the story, "Not everything is solved by Voltron alone. Sometimes they need to beat something just as the lions. Sometimes they just do it as themselves fighting as men."

The first footage from the series will debut at the Voltron Panel at WonderCon on Friday.

The series is part of an expansion of DreamWorks Animation Television and Netflix's 2013 multi-year deal. The expansion also includes an original series titled Trollhunters from Guillermo del Toro, which Netflix describes as centering on a "fantastical world wrapped around two best friends who make a startling discovery beneath their hometown."

World Events Productions, Ltd. (WEP) and the late Peter O'Keefe adapted the first 1984-1985 Voltron television series from two Toei Animation robot anime: King of Beasts Golion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. Both Golion and the first Voltron story centered on young pilots who fight against an empire of alien conquerors — with the help of five mechanized lions that combine to form a robot.

Since the first series, the franchise spawned two television series produced outside Japan: the 3D CG Voltron: The Third Dimension in 1998 and the 2D Voltron Force in 2011. The titular robot also appeared in several commercials, including one for MetLife during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, and in a crossover comic project with Robotech.

New Regency, a 20th Century Fox-based production company, once negotiated with WEP and the Mark Gordon Company for the live-action Voltron rights in 2007. However, New Regency never actually signed a deal, and other companies were allowed to negotiate for the rights. WEP said in a 2008 lawsuit that New Regency discovered that former Toei character designer Kazuo Nakamura "may possess rights" related to Golion and thus the first Voltron series.

At the time that New Regency dropped the project in 2008, the Variety entertainment news source reported that Relativity Media was negotiating to pick up the project. WEP announced in 2011 that Relativity Media optioned the rights to make a live-action film adaptation with Atlus Productions. The companies have announced no further news on live-action plans.

Media Blasters released the first Voltron series with its English dub on DVD from 2006 to 2009, and released the original Japanese Beast King GoLion anime on DVD in 2008.

Source: USA Today; Brian Truitt via AICN Anime

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