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Voltron Reboot Launches With Fresh Visuals and Character Development

The legend continues as Voltron returns for a new generation.


Voltron is back. The new Voltron: Legendary Defender is the latest reboot/revival series on Netflix and introduces an update to the classic animated series. The hour-long premiere episode introduces the characters and concept of lion-shaped vehicles that form into the giant fighting machine. Don't expect immediate action and adventure as the series takes time to explore and develop the new series.

Rebooting a series is always a tricky thing. The creators have to decide how much of the original to retain along with finding the balance in direction for new and returning viewers. You get a sense that Legendary Defender is taking a page from the original series in the way we're introduced to the characters. Rather than throwing the five young pilots into the lion vehicles, time is spent shaping the characters into their separate personalities. The original series took several episodes for Voltron to appear, and thankfully, it happens a bit quicker here.

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The fact the show takes the time to show the personalities of each character is a good sign. It delivers the feeling the creators are investing their time in the show. Rather than immediately throw a giant fighting machine against enormous threats, we get to see who all the players are. Backstories are set up along with seeds planted for future story lines such as what happened during Shiro's missing year and the search for Pidge's brother and father.

The characters feel a little younger and less experienced than their original counterparts. This could let viewers relate a little more as they learn about this world instead of seeing a handful of characters that can take on any threat without a second thought. Hopefully, time will also be spent showing how Princess Allura and Coran will adapt to their new environment.

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There is a nice mix of 2D and 3D animation throughout the series. Seeing the lions move in the 3D style is a little distracting at first, but you soon get used to it as the action takes over. The fight sequences aren't confined to just Voltron versus big alien threats. The pilots do get to take part as well. Seeing the different sequences within Voltron and out, you can see the potential for merchandising as well.

The good and bad thing about the hour-long first episode is the amount of time spent on the characters. If you've seen the show before or the imagery of a giant fighting robot, you want to see some big and spectacular fight scenes. It's good to have the characters a bit more developed, but viewers might get a little antsy waiting for the big action to kick in. With a half-hour format, there will likely be a tighter feel to the show as it balances the action and story.

Having only watched the introductory episode, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the half-hour episode series moves forward. Younger viewers can definitely get into this show, although it does seem geared more towards boys. Older viewers familiar with the show will feel the nostalgia factor pull them in. The visuals are nice and the voice cast does a great job. Fully committing to show really depends on where the writing goes. This could easily turn into a formulaic Voltron-fights-and-defeats-an-alien-threat show. If the show finds the right balance between action sequences and further character development, this could be revival the franchise deserves.

Voltron: Legendary Defender begins Friday, June 10 on Netflix.

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