Western Animation / Voltron: Legendary Defender

"Defenders of the Universe," huh? That's got a nice ring to it.

Allura: You five were brought here for a reason. Together, you will form Voltron, the greatest weapon ever known, protector of the innocent, and our only hope to save the universe.
Hunk: Geez, no pressure.

Voltron: Legendary Defender is the newest Voltron series since Voltron Force was cut short in 2012. Unlike that show, however, Legendary Defender reboots the concept and gives it a nice clean sweep to tell the tale anew. It is also the first Voltron series to be produced after the franchise was bought by DreamWorks Animation, among other titles.

The show is produced by Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos, best known for their work on Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra and animated by Studio Mir (also known for its work on Korra). The series is being streamed on Netflix; the first season premiered on June 10, 2016 and the second season premiered on January 20, 2017. Netflix expects the series to run for six seasons.

Watch the teaser here and the official trailer here.

The five Lions form these tropes:

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    Tropes A to F 
  • Action Girl: Allura. Not only is she capable and fearless while piloting the Castle of Lions, using it for fire support, she's also surprisingly strong and badass physically, as we see in "Collection and Extraction". Pidge as well, though she tends to lean more toward Action Survivor, but when given no other choice she manages to hold her own in a one-on-one.
  • Age Lift: Four of the Paladins were aged down (or, in Pidge's case, aged up) to their teens.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Rather than changing up the series to appeal to what people THINK younger viewers like, thus inevitably falling afoul of the Nostalgia Goggles, Studio Mir & Co. decided to slap the Goggles on themselves and create an Ultimate Universe of the original series, which is basically a giant love letter to both the Voltron and GoLion aspects of the original series.
    Dos Santos: We like to think we're not making the show we watched... rather, the show we remember watching.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The main characters have backstories and a purpose for going on their missions. Most notably Shiro was captured and experimented on by the Galra, and Pidge is actually a girl named Katie looking for her missing father and brother. And most notably, Keith finds out he has Galran heritage in the second season.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In a sense. In the original Voltron series, Blue Lion's original pilot was named Sven. However, his GoLion counterpart is named Takashi Shirogane. The Black Lion's pilot in Legendary Defender, who goes by the nickname Shiro in this continuity, shares his full name with the character from the GoLion anime.
    • In a similar full-circle version of this trope, the villains in this series are named the Galra Empire, after the name of the villains from GoLion (their leader is still named Zarkon, however).
    • Sendak, the first Galra commander the team deals with, is visually based off the original series character Yurak, (Sadak in Go-Lion) as they both have an artificial eye and arm.
    • Pidge's real name was given as Darrel "Pidge" Stoker in the comics, while here it's mentioned to be Pidge Gunderson. Pidge's real name is actually Katie Holt.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: All over the place. While each team member's visual design has been adapted closely from their 80's incarnations, their personalities have largely been redefined. Examples include:
    • Keith is now a hotshot loner, instead of the calm, collected leader.
    • Hunk is a teddy bear, not a gruff man of action.
    • Coran is eccentric comic relief and still, occasionally, a stoic source of wisdom.
    • While she was never completely helpless, Allura is much more of a badass than her older counterparts.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the original show, Voltron was the be-all-end-all solution. Now all the Lions have their individual moments to shine, and the pilots get their moments out of the cockpit.
    • Most notable is Coran who despite being a comical character has several badass moments.
    • Zarkon was already badass, but now he can take on a Voltron Lion head-on, with no ship, just a sword. That his sword is the Black Bayard probably gives him an extra advantage.
    • Robeasts actually get these. In the original, they were something for Voltron to fight, but not always threatening. In this, each Robeast gets an entire episode to itself, SOLELY for the fight.
  • Adaptational Wimp: On the opposite end of the pilots and Lions, Voltron itself is hit pretty hard by this. For all the claims of it being the most powerful weapon in the universe, the individual Lions end up doing far more damage to the Galra forces. This could mostly be justified in that the 5 had only recently become Paladins while the previous team spent years forming Voltron. Zarkon also hints that Voltron has more power than is shown so far.
    • This could also be due to the Black Bayard being in Zarkon's possession, rather than in Shiro's hands.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Pidge and Shiro's backstories are expanded upon to tie them more directly to the Galra.
  • Alien Lunch: It seems the only food on the ship is an odd, green goo. Hunk doesn't seem to mind.
  • Aliens Speaking English: All of the alien races in the show speak English and no explanation for it is ever attempted. Although there are some differences in terminology and pattern, such as Alteans keeping time via "Ticks" and the Balmerans speaking with a very distinct speech pattern. Written language, however, is completely different from written English, which causes a few problems.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: Referenced when the the crew picks up Kartenecker the cow in an alien store selling Earth merchandise "Space Mall."
  • All There in the Manual: The website and comics often give out details that aren't in the show — yet. For example, Pidge's mental processes and skill set are given much more focus in the comic (including the fact that she keeps a mental log of her teammates' strengths and weaknesses), while Lance's unique attributes — that he genuinely believes he lacks, leading to some angst in Season 2 — are spelled out by Pidge herself.
  • All Your Colors Combined: It takes all five Bayards combined for Voltron to form the Blazing Sword, as shown in the season 2 finale.
  • Alliterative Family: Allura and her father Alfor, who ruled the planet Altea.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted for the Galra. Season two has the Galran Sal as the owner of the restaurant "Vrepit Sal" and the mall cop Varkon, both of whom are not evil. It also introduces the Blade of Marmora, a Galran resistance group that eventually teams up with the Paladins. They even play a large part in defeating Zarkon.
  • Always Save the Girl:
    • Near the end of season 1, Allura gets captured by the Galra and the team has to decide to either leave her or risk running a Suicide Mission by attacking Zarkon's ship. Guess which one they choose?
    • After returning to Balmera, the team discovers that Shay has been taken to the planet's center before their arrival. They suspect that it is most certainly a trap, but save her anyway.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Princess Allura, Hunk, and Lance all now have differing shades of brown rather than just being (or looking) white.
    • It has been revealed that Lance is Cuban.
    • Tyler Labine (Hunk's voice actor) has said that Hunk is Samoan.
  • Animesque: Obviously, given it's a reboot of an anime.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: In intro features the Lions emerging from their respective hiding places from the original Voltron, which never show up on account of the series being a galaxy-spanning Space Opera instead of confined to a single planet. Voltron is also depicted destroying three Robeasts in a single slash, while in-show the Robeasts have only appeared one at a time, and only two were defeated by the sword.
  • Beehive Barrier: All Altean barriers are blue and made up of the typical High-Tech Hexagons. Meanwhile, all Galra barriers are red and made up of more distinct looking very evil Galra-like interlocking shapes.
  • Between My Legs: It happens in the first episode with Shiro, but it's his suit that's being framed.
  • Bright Castle: The Castle of Lions has this aesthetic when grounded, especially as first seen embedded in Arus.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Hunk, Lance, and Pidge's dynamic before they joined the team proper.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Alteans, while looking mostly human, can change their skin color at will and the males grow facial hair at a much earlier age than human boys.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Most of the battles that take place outside of the Lions involve Galran Mecha-Mooks, so they can be torn apart by the heroes without mercy.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: In "Taking Flight" Shay uses the severed arm of a Galran sentry to get from one area of the Balmera to another. Hunk does it in "Return to the Balmera", and it happens pretty much routinely thereafter.
  • Brain Uploading: Alteans developed the technology to do this, used to create the AI of King Alfor on the Castle of Lions. It can also be used to copy the memories of prisoners despite Coran’s insistence that it hasn't been done before and the aforementioned King Alfor would probably not approve.
  • Breather Episode: Played with in "Space Mall", in season 2. While the A plot about going to the mall and C plot about Allura's girl day are pretty light-hearted, the B plot about Shiro battle of will against Zarkon for the Black Lion is pretty intense and plot relevant.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Voltron now has what appears to be a large, stylized "V" on his chest, rather than the crest of the Castle of Lions (which is now on his left shoulder).
  • The Bus Came Back: An in-Universe example. As the series starts, it's established that Shiro has gone to space for a year, but then he returns with an alien ship, a robotic arm, and amnesia.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Galra that saves the Paladins in the firsts season Finale is seen listening with Prorok in "Taking Flight", implied to be an underling of his. As it turns out, he's The Mole to a splinter faction of Galra opposed to Zarkon.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The first season ends with The Castle and the Lions exiting a destabilizing wormhole in separate directions, with no idea where they will end up or how they will find each other again. Also, a member of the Galra (later revealed to be Commander Thace of the Blade of Marmora) mysteriously helped the team escape from Zarkon.
    • The second season ends with Zarkon defeated but at the price of Shiro going missing. Also Haggar's Wham Line shows the Galran Empire isn't done, even with Zarkon currently in a coma...
    Haggar: Summon Prince Lotor!
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Unlike The Third Dimension and Voltron Force where the costumes were swapped to match the pilots' Lions, in this series the pilots' Lions are swapped to match their costumes (i.e. Keith is piloting the Red Lion, Lance is piloting the Blue Lion, and Shiro is piloting the Black Lion).
    • All Altean technology is white with blue Tron Lines, while all Galra technology is purple and black.
    • The Blade of Marmora primarily uses indigo with both black and white for their sigils, suits, and architecture; Effectively putting them in-between the other two opposing forces.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Since Voltron is "the most powerful weapon in the universe", the team's go-to strategy is a)Form Voltron, b)apply Blue Lion to enemy rear at high velocity. Which is why they keep running into Plots Tailored to the Party that keep them apart or otherwise make Voltron unfeasible.
  • Combining Mecha: "Form Voltron!"
  • Composite Character: This version of Zarkon takes on aspects of both the original Zarkon and the Voltron Force version of Lotor, in appearance and some motivations (Lotor used haggarium to grow stronger and harvested it while this Zarkon uses "Quintessence")
  • Conspicuous CG: Though Voltron, the Lions, and most Robeasts are definitely CG, the improved techniques make them blend far better with the rest of the art than in almost any other show to date. However, the CG sequences run at 24 fps while the animated sequences run at 15 fps, so a lot of the action sticks out pretty jarringly.
  • The Conspiracy: It's implied that the Galaxy Garrison is hiding the truth about what happened on the Kerberos mission.
  • Continuity Reboot: Serves as one for the franchise after the last show was a pseudo-sequel series to the original.
  • Cool Starship: The Castle of Lions now doubles as The Battlestar in this incarnation. It comes complete with a Wave Motion Gun, Deflector Shields and the ability to create wormholes that allow instantaneous transportation across vast distances among other features.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The opening title sequence shows the Black Lion taking out a Galra cruiser single handed while the Castle destroys an entire fleet. Feats they never quite measure up to in the actual show.
    • We finally get to see the Black Lion tearing up a cruiser with its jawblades in the Season 2 finale, after two whole seasons of training and experience for Shiro.
  • Dark is Evil: The Galra operate entirely in black and purple, to contrast with the Altean white and blue.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: There are some examples:
    • Shiro wears black cloths and wields a purple blade from his cybernetic arm.
    • The Black Lion is on the side of good and mostly helps the heroes and serves as Voltron's torso. Though it DOES have conflicting loyalty issues due to having two Paladins: Shiro, and Big Bad traitor Zarkon, the latter of whom is hell-bent on reclaiming the Black Lion and Voltron.
    • The Blade of Marmora still use dark motifs despite being in opposition to the main Galra nation.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Both Allura and her father Alfor have dark skin and Mystical White Hair.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Although the narrative eventually gives way to focus on each member of the group, the opening episode is rather coy as to who the bonafide protagonist will end up being.
  • Detective Mole: Zarkon gives the task of finding the traitor on his flagship to Thace, who is the Blade of Marmora's agent on the ship.
  • Deus ex Machina: The rescue mission on Balmera only succeeds because of the inhabitants' sudden ability to communicate by placing their hands on any surface to talk through the Balmera. And again towards the end, where somehow Allura's residual magic is enough to undo all of the damage from the Galra's strip-mining efforts and save the living planetoid from the brink of death.
    • To be fair, the ancient healing ceremonies only took a small number of Balmerans using their healing powers to assist. The fact that Allura was assisted by all of the Balmerans might have had something to do with it.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: "Tears of the Balmera" is basically "Die Hard on a Spaceship-Castle", with Pidge as the designated John McClane.
  • Disney Villain Death: Haxus falls from a high catwalk after Pidge trips him up. He tries to grab Rover for support, but Rover deactivates and they both fall to their presumed deaths.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: While the original Voltron Lions had some differences in weapons, designs, and abilities, here the differences are even more vast.
    • The Red Lion is Fire, whose heat-beam laser is practically a mobile Kill Sat. It is also a Fragile Speedster, incredibly quick and maneuverable with decent weaponry but lacking in staying power.
    • The Blue Lion is Water, and has a freeze ray. In terms of capability it is the Jack-of-All-Stats Lion that's balanced in speed and power but weaker overall, especially compared to the Black Lion.
    • The Yellow Lion is Earth, which is a Stone Wall that burrows well and typically relies on physical attacks. This is the Mighty Glacier of the bunch, strong and heavily armored but far slower as a result.
    • The Green Lion is Forest, however at the moment it hasn't gotten a chance to show off any special built-in features making it an oddball. It seems to be fast, but not quite as fast as the Red and carries a shield on its back which is its most distinguishing characteristic for now. Pidge gives it an invisibility feature as a modification midway through the first season.
      • The Green Lion finally gets to show off its elemental powers in Season 2, where Pidge's newfound connection with nature gives it the power to spawn vines from a cannon on its back.
    • The Black Lion is Sky (represented by outer space), and is the only Lion to have wings. Like the Blue Lion, it's also a Jack-of-All-Stats - but to a much higher degree.
  • Double Meaning Title: The title of the first season finale is "The Black Paladin". It can refer to Shiro, who learns a bit more about what happened to him while he was captured and how he got his arm. It can also refer to Zarkon, revealed to be the former Black Paladin of Voltron, who is able to use the Druid's Magic and his connection to the Black Lion to force Voltron apart, eject Shiro from the Black Lion, and nearly steal it before he's stopped.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The instructor back at the Galaxy Garrison takes this approach. Princess Allura also uses this tactic in "Some Assembly Required", uniting the team by giving them a common person to hate, which is the trope's purpose in real life.
  • Electronic Telepathy: The Voltron Lions are explicitly said to be able to link with their pilot's minds allowing for more fluid control and the ability for the pilot to see through their Lion's eyes. This becomes more pronounced in the second season, especially for Keith and Red, where Red routinely comes to Keith's aid when they're separated, as well as Shiro and Black, where Black gives Shiro a crash course in the history of Voltron through his eyes.
  • Elite Mooks: The Druids are implied to be this, as seen by Keith's one-sided fight with one.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Bayard, small handheld devices that take on the form of a weapon that reflects its owner's personality and can be combined with Voltron to summon a weapon.
    • Keith's Red Bayard becomes a sword, and can summon a sword for Voltron to use.
    • Lance's Blue Bayard becomes an assault rifle.
    • Hunk's Yellow Bayard becomes a gatling gun, and can summon a shoulder cannon for Voltron to use.
    • Pidge's Green Bayard becomes a katar which doubles as a taser, and can launch its head as a grappling hook.
    • The Black Bayard went missing with its original pilot. "The Black Paladin" reveals it to be in the hands of Zarkon, the aforementioned original pilot, who can make the Bayard take any shape he wants. Shiro then gets it back in "Black Out".
    • To a certain degree, The Lions themselves count as well; they have some degree of sentience and are capable of giving their respective Paladins hints whenever they believe they can help in a specific manner (like Red guiding Keith towards forming the sword and Yellow doing the same for Hunk in forming the shoulder cannon)
  • The Empire: Galra subjects other planets to their rule in order to achieve universal domination.
  • Faceless Goons: Galran Mecha-Mooks have blank masks with a Y-shaped eye slit. Galran imperial soldiers have masks that cover half of their face with a V-shaped slit.
  • Facial Markings: Members of the Altean race have markings around the outside of their eyes, which vary in color by person.
  • Fallen Hero: Implied with Zarkon. He is the former Paladin of the Black Lion, and is able to override Shiro's control of it.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: None of the current generation of Voltron Paladins had been trained to pilot Altean spacecraft before getting called on to pilot a Voltron Lion. In addition, only one of them (Shiro) had been fully trained in piloting Earth spacecraft, and two of them (Hunk and Pidge) had no pilot training whatsoever. As a direct result of this, it takes half the first season before they really know what they're doing, and even in the season finale, it's strongly implied that they have a lot more to learn before they can use Voltron to its full potential.
  • Fanservice: Keith and Lance both get this in "Eye of The Storm", featuring the boys being shirtless when trying to get to the castle's pool, and also focusing a lot on their legs and feet.
  • Fantastic Racism: Princess Alura refuses to believe Ulaz, regardless of who vouches for him. Even after his Heroic Sacrifice she refuses to acknowledge him. This comes to a head when she suddenly becomes hostile towards Keith after it's revealed he's part Galra. This does not correct itself until the penultimate episode of season 2.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Due to the Lions all getting the Divergent Character Evolution treatment, Voltron gets this in terms of its natural defenses; what with the shielded Green Lion and heavily armored Yellow Lion both acting as its left side appendages.
  • Finishing Move: Surprisingly averted, given that Voltron is something of the Trope Codifier for Western Animation. While Voltron does form a sword, it isn't used to finish off either of the giant monsters that it fights.
  • Forever War / Hopeless War: It could be implied that many races and star systems across the universe battled Galra armies for the past 10,000 years, but none of them have ever succeeded because of Galra's highly advanced technology empowered by Quintessence and their alliance with the Druids. Only Voltron has enough great strength to stop them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the first episode, Pidge reacts negatively after the others find a picture of him hugging a girl, whom Hunk assumes is Pidge's girlfriend. The picture pops up again when the team is trying to mentally connect with each other, and Coran mentions that there can be no secrets between them. It's later revealed that the kids in the picture are siblings, and Pidge is the girl.
    • During Allura's flashback to when Zarkon was attacking her and her father in the Castle of Lions, Zarkon appears to be wearing the smashed and broken helmet with a design that is strikingly similar to that of a Voltron Paladin.
    • Done throughout the entirety of season 1 regarding the reveal that Zarkon is the original Paladin of the Black Lion. The Black Lion's energy aura, since black wouldn't show up very well visually, is purple, the same color that everything Galra makes has glowing around it, including the Castle of Lions when it's briefly hooked up to a Galra energy crystal, and Quintessence after the Druids refine it into Galra fuel. The Black Lion requires a pilot who is "a born leader and in control at all times. Someone whose men will follow without question". A vast majority of the Galra Empire follows Zarkon with fanatic loyalty, and Zarkon barely bats an eye even when fighting a Voltron Lion on foot, or when Keith spontaneously sprouts a power-up cannon during the fight. Shiro's Bayard is missing, lost with its original Paladin, and we see Zarkon put it to extremely good use in the finale. And finally, Allura notes a Lion chooses its pilot, and that it's a mystical bond that cannot be forced. Throughout the backstory and the season, the Alteans are very concerned about Zarkon seizing Voltron, and King Alfor deliberately hid the Lions rather than risk Zarkon capturing them because, as one of the Lions' pilots, Zarkon could actually control Voltron, bringing the most powerful weapon in the universe to serve Galra.
      • In hindsight one could even say the Black Lion choosing Shiro in the season 1 opener is foreshadowing as well, as out of the five Paladins, Shiro was the one who had spent a year as a prisoner of the Galra.
    • The the finale of season one, Zarkon, during his fight against Keith, muses that he fights like a Galra soldier. Later, in season 2, it's revealed that Keith has Galra blood in his veins, making him part-human and part-Galra.
      • Also, when the Paladins return to the Balmera to rescue Shay, Keith is able to activate some Galra tech after Lance was shown to have trouble with it. Normally, this requires either one of the Galra, their sentry robots, or Shiro's Galra arm to do.
    • In "Space Mall", a glimpse into the Black Lion's past shows it has Intangibility powers that Shiro hasn't unlocked yet. In the season finale, he finally manages to use them to steal his Bayard back from Zarkon.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Pausing during the newscast in "Tears of the Balmera" reveals the full names of the Galaxy Garrison crew.
    • In the same episode, the flashback to Pidge meeting the team for the first time features a brief shot of a doorway labeled "Faculty Offices": Pausing here will reveal that the names on the door are those of the show's key production staff.

    Tropes G to M 
  • Gender Flip: Pidge is actually a girl this time around.
  • Genius Loci: The Balmera, a living creature that for all intents and purposes is also a planet. It can generate crystals that are used as the power sources for multiple things, including battleships.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • From the first episode:
      Allura: Wait. This castle already has a Particle barrier that we can activate.
      Lance: Girl, you've already activated my par-
      Shiro: Lance!
    • When Lance is tied up by Nyma and the merpeople, respectively, he shows quite a bit of interest before realizing something is wrong. As Lance stated, he likes games.
  • Gilligan Cut: From the first episode:
    Pidge: I wonder if Hunk and Lance are having as good a time as us.
    [Cut to Hunk and Lance screaming.]
  • Gladiator Games: The Galra Empire have this, and force their prisoners to partake in it.
  • A God I Am Not: Allura tells the native Arusians that she is not a god, and is only interested in being their friend.
  • Good News, Bad News:
    Coran: There's a bit of good news and bad news, the good news is the Red Lion's nearby, the bad news is it's onboard that Galra ship orbiting Arus, but wait good news again, we're Arus.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: As long as the Mecha-Mooks can't see the heroes sneaking around, they can't seem to hear them, either. They also have predictable security rounds, which is exploited by Shiro, and never alert the rest of security when they are attacked by a hero in a lone hallway.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Besides Keith's personal weapon. There is a resistance group called the Blade of Marmora who are against Zarkon and their signature weapons are swords.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the conclusion of episode 3 of season 2, Ulaz sacrifices himself by getting consumed by the Robeast, and activating the pocket dimension from within it.
  • Hidden Villain: Prince Lotor appears to be this. Throughout the first two seasons, the Paladins firmly believe that to defeat the Galra, all they have to do is defeat Zarkon and without him, the Galra Empire will fall apart without him to hold it together. Zarkon having an heir is never even once addressed by anyone, so Lotor's existence appears to be a closely-guarded secret known only to Galra high command, since not even the Blades of Marmora appear to know Lotor exists; at the very least, they never mention that Zarkon having a son might throw a wrench into their idea that Zarkon is the only one capable of leading the Empire.
  • Homing Lasers: Voltron's Shoulder Cannon is capable of firing a huge salvo of these at once. In several cases, the projectiles go so far as to completely fly past a target in order to loop and hit it in the front that way.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Altea has been destroyed by the Galra Empire, but Alfor sent each of the Lions to the farthest corners of the universe before Zarkon could get his hands on them. This leaves the universe helpless against their conquerors for the past 10,000 years. Only a handful of star systems remain free. Hope comes back as our heroes have been chosen by the Lions to become the next Paladins and Voltron has returned to free the universe from its evil oppressors.
  • Human Aliens: Princess Allura and the people of Altea. Subverted later on, when it is explained that her race are chameleon-like in their ability to mimic the appearance of other races, which made them natural diplomats. And spies too, judging by the way she uses said ability to infiltrate a Galra ship.
  • Human Popsicle: Princess Allura and Coran survived the destruction of the Altean empire this way.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: A good chunk of the Galra footsoldiers that we get to see and even some of their point defense systems are remarkably poor shots.
  • Internal Reveal: Played with in "Taking Flight". Pidge reveals her true gender. Coran (and presumably the mice) knew from the start, Shiro figured it out by the end of the premiere, Keith clued in shortly afterwards, Hunk had figured it out but wasn't 100% sure, and Allura had known for some time (that period being a day or two because that's when the mice told her), leaving only Lance to be completely taken by surprise.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The Galra military and the Druids don't get along. The Druids are clearly in the ascendant.
  • Irony: Lance, the resident womanizer and most likely person to hit on any female member of any alien species, completely and utterly failed to notice the other female member of the team until she revealed herself.
    • At the start of the series, Shiro becomes the Black Paladin, but gets no Bayard because the Black Bayard is still in the hands of the previous Black Paladin, Emperor Zarkon. At the end of season two, the Paladins finally manage to recover the Black Bayard only to lose their Black Paladin, after Shiro mysterously vanishes from the Black Lion after his battle with Zarkon.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In the second episode of season 2, Hunk mentions the miraculous fact that they landed on a planet, in spite of the fact that Pidge told them "space is 90% empty." Lance simply replies with "Yeah, well, her science must have been wrong."
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Pidge is actually female. The audience learns this in episode 3 of Season 1. She drops the masquerade with the rest of her team in episode 6, most of whom have already figured it out anyway note .
  • Leader Forms the Head: Of course this is in play, as the original Voltron was the Trope Namer; Shiro is the squad leader and his Black Lion forms the head and torso of Voltron. Joked about when the team is still trying to figure out how to combine, as Hunk tries to be the head even though his Yellow Lion was the leg the last time they did it.
  • Life Energy: Quintessence. It's the source of Zarkon's strength and longevity, heals Keith's wounds after he gets some splashed on him, and in the first season, Haggar's druids develop a way to drain an entire planet's worth in a matter of minutes.
    • Allura also performs a ritual to give up a sizable portion of her own life energy in order to save a dying Balmera. In the distant past, Alteans would perform less drastic versions of this ritual as a gesture of gratitude to the Balmera for giving them the crystals that powered their technology.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Justified, the Paladins only have their Paladin armor and the clothes they were wearing when they fled Earth. They didn’t exactly have time to pack.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Occasionally we see one of these when the Paladins get into their armor.
  • Logo Joke: Voltron cuts the moon into a crescent shape, and stands behind it in the empty space where the fishing boy would normally go.
  • Long Lived: The Alteans are implied to have a much longer lifespan than humans. Coran fondly reminiscences visiting Balmeras with his grandfather while the latter was building the Castle of Lions over 10,600 years ago. Even discounting his time as an Altean Popsicle for 10,000 years, that makes him at least 600 years old.
    • Zarkon was contemporary to Alfor and the other Alteans, and doesn't seem to have spent that 10,000 years in stasis. Zarkon may be extending his life via Quintessence, but that is never made clear.
  • Magitek: Heavily implied with Altean technology.
    Coran on the Castle of Lions: The ship might seem like a fantastical, magical creature to you, but it’s really just a big embodiment of advanced supernatural technology that cannot be explained by science alone.
    • Galra technology also qualifies, considering the Druids and the fact that their fuel is refined from Life Energy through magic.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Shiro has a white stripe of hair in the present. Inverted in that he pilots the Black Lion.
    • Lance, being a self-described ladies man like Lancelot. He's also perpetually The Lancer. No matter who he's paired with, he's always playing second fiddle.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Most of the Galra soldiers are sentries. This helps serve up Bloodless Carnage when the Paladins (usually) Curb Stomp them in battle outside of their lions.
  • Mission Control: Allura and Coran tend to stay out of the field and funnel orders to the Paladins rather than get into the mix themselves.
  • Mukokuseki: Unsurprising given the Animesque art style, and invoked. Word of God states that with the exception of Shiro, who is explicitly Japanese, Lance, who is Cuban, and Hunk is Samoan, the cast is designed to be ethnically ambiguous.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The interlock, dynotherm, and mega-thruster commands that allowed the Lions to form Voltron in the original show have now been re-purposed as the launch commands that allow the Castle of Lions to transform into a spaceship.
    • In "Some Assembly Required", the pilots try forming Voltron again by stacking their Lions on top of each other like a cheerleader pyramid. As Shiro slowly drops his Lion on the top, he mutters to himself the immortal line, "...And I'll form the head."
    • The Black Paladin's name is Shiro, instead of Sven like in the original Voltron show. Shiro shares his name with Takashi Shirogane, Sven's counterpart from the anime GoLion that was adapted into what we know as the original Voltron.
    • The show's subtitle "Legendary Defender" is a nod to Voltron's classic title as the "Defender of the Universe". Coran even calls the Paladins "Defenders of the Universe" in the pilot.
    • Princess Allura's royal dress is made of various shades of blue and white, in reference to how she was the pilot of Blue Lion in the original continuity after Sven (Shirogane) got benched. Meanwhile, her pilot suit has shades of pink and blue, in reference to how her pilot suit in the previous incarnation would have either pink or blue highlights.
    • The Blue Lion's pilot is badly injured and needs to take time off to heal.
    • Unlike previous reboots, the main cast's design aesthetic is a slightly modified version of their original character models.
    • Pidge's design, especially the hairband, often had casual viewers questioning whether he was a boy or a girl. This time around, Pidge is a girl disguised as a boy. She's even wearing a remarkably similar hairband in a flashback.
    • Zarkon is the true leader of his forces, not a vassal.
    • His empire in question is not the Drule (as in the original Voltron), but the Galra (as in Go-Lion).
    • Allura and Coran are Alteans, not Arusians, and even though the castle rested on Planet Arus (as in the original Voltron), they are originally from Altea (the name of Arus in Go-Lion).
    • Like in Go-Lion, the Earth is not at war with Galra at the time the series begins, and indeed humans (or at least anyone outside the government) aren't even aware that aliens, much less a universe-spanning empire of them at that, exist, until the Galra invade Earth.
    • Between the prologue and main series, Shiro was taken as a slave, forced to fight in gladiator games, and escaped after an entire year. The same happened to the entire crew in the first episode of the original series, though they escaped much more quickly and easily.
    • Hunk insists they take turns when it comes to who forms the head, a concept that was developed in Voltron Force. They don't do that, but they do borrow Force's concept of using new abilities taken from the secondary pilots.
    • The personalized Swiss Army Weapon nature of the Bayards are similar to the Voltcoms of Force.
    • In the season 1 finale, Shiro faces off in a one-on-one battle against Haggar, who makes use of the Doppelgänger Spin to disorient him, much as she did against Shirogane in the fateful battle of the original Go-Lion. Thankfully for Shiro, it ends better this time around.
    • The season 2 premiere sees Keith in his red armor piloting the Black Lion, just like in the original Voltron.
      • A wounded Shiro also tells Keith that if he doesn't make it, Keith should lead the team, a nod to previous incarnations where Keith did lead the team, and also teasing the fact that Shiro dies in the original.
    • In "Greening the Cube", Coran identifies one of the mice as being named Platt, the name of one of the mice in Go-Lion.
    • The mice entertain Allura in "Space Mall" similar to the way they were shown doing for her in the original series.
    • In the season 2 finale, Zarkon fights with Voltron using a Humongous Mecha that looks just like him. And just like in the original series, he loses.
    • And during that fight, after Shiro activates the Black Bayard, along with the other four, Voltron's sword becomes wreathed in flames- making it the Blazing Sword.
    • In season 3, Lance pilots the Red Lion just like his Go-Lion counterpart did.

    Tropes N to S 
  • Never Say "Die": It becomes obvious, at various points in the show, that the writers were told partway through production that they wouldn't be allowed to use the word "slaves" in a Y-7 program, and hastily replaced all instances of it in the script with "prisoners." This was averted in Season 2.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Happens frequently as the Paladins discover more of Voltron's powers.
    • Voltron and the individual Lions get new weaponry whenever it's convenient.
    • Princess Allura's ability to shapeshift is brought up in the penultimate episode, where it becomes useful, as well as revealing her Super Strength.
  • No Sell: After making short work of most of Zarkon's fleet, Voltron approaches Zarkon's personal ship only for Zarkon to cause the Black Lion to shut down, disassembling Voltron.
  • Nothing Personal: The Bounty Hunters aren't especially fans of the Galra Empire, but by turning over a Lion they can get pardons for their own crimes, which would result in them being executed if they were captured
  • Oh, Crap!: Keith when he fetches up against one of the Galra Druids. Galra Druids do not play nice.
    • In the season 1 finale, Keith again: in a rare heroic Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? moment, he goes off to take out Zarkon when he steps out of his flagship to personally retrieve the Black Lion. Going up against the un-armored Big Bad in a space-side fight when you're in the Red Lion seems smart, right? Well...not when it's Zarkon and he's armed with the Black Bayard, as poor Keith finds out quickly enough.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The rescued prisoners claim Shiro attacked Pidge's brother in a fit of bloodthirsty rage, shocking not only Pidge but Shiro himself, who can't remember doing it or not. By the end of the episode he's able to recall that moment—injuring Matt was the only way to keep him out of the gladiator games.
  • One Size Fits All: The Voltron Paladin suits all come in the exact same size, which Hunk even notices is much smaller than him, but all manage to fit everyone regardless. The only exception is the helmet, which is a size too small for Hunk, making it difficult for him to put it on or take it off. No mention is made of the fact that Pidge's uniform is the same size as everyone else's, despite Pidge being significantly shorter than everyone else on the team.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Haggar and her Druids. Magic is an accepted fact of this universe but the Galra Druids use it on a level beyond anything that anyone in the setting is remotely familiar with, meaning that the Galra have options available that no one are even aware are possible.
    • The Blade of Marmora. A renegade shadow group of Galra who disagree with the Empire's methods and have members in key positions throughout the Galra Empire, some even as high as Zarkon's personal command. They also have access to weapons that can harm the borderline invincible Druids, implying a knowledge of mysticism that is largely absent in the greater universe.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Pidge/Katie ended up basing her "male" appearance on her brother. This immediately sticks out like a sore thumb to Shiro, who worked very closely with said brother and their father and was a close family friend. By the time the truth comes out, everyone but Lance had worked it out as well. Coran is even confused, and asks if they were supposed to think Pidge was a boy.
  • Percussive Shutdown: After Sendak takes the castle and captures Lance and Shiro, Allura and Keith are stuck outside after the particle barrier is activated, leaving Pidge the only Paladin still at large on the inside. Allura directs Pidge to the castle's star drive chamber, in order to shut it down and prevent Sendak from getting away with the castle, and also the Lions. Unfortunately, the drive activates before Allura can go through the proper shutdown sequence, disrupting communications. With no other options, Pidge just says "whatever" and smashes the controls with her bayard, preventing the launch.
  • Planet Looters: The Galra do this to the planets they take over, and make a huge breakthrough shortly into the series that allows them to remotely drain a planet of all of its life force in a matter of minutes.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: Quite a bit of Galra technology, especially their control panels and computers, can apparently only be activated by either a Galra or by other Galra technology. Shiro can do it due to his prosthetic arm, otherwise it requires a Borrowed Biometric Bypass.
    • Suspiciously subverted by Keith, however, as he manages to close a set of hangar doors just by placing his hand on a handprint made for only Galra to use. Played straight with Keith as of Season 2, as it has been revealed that Keith is a Half-Human Hybrid with Galra blood.
  • Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: Sort of. The photo Pidge keeps thinking of in "Some Assembly Required" is shown very quickly. One may not notice that that the boy in the photo has irises too small for him to be Pidge. Pidge is actually Katie, the girl in the photo.
  • Power Crystal: Altean and Galra technology both make use of these, apparently sourced from a Balmera, with the former using naturally shaped light blue crystals while the latter use spikier purple crystals. One is prominently placed in the control centre of the Castle of Lions while smaller crystals are responsible for the Beehive Barrier. The crystals come in different sizes, with battleship-class crystals apparently being rather rare.
  • Power Gives You Wings: The Black Lion is revealed to have wings as a power upgrade, which give it the ability to pass through solid objects, as it was able to pass right through Zarkon's robeast armor and retrieve the Black Bayard for Shiro.
  • Power Trio: Lance, Hunk and Pidge in flight school at the start of the first episode.
  • Pride: Earth hasn't made contact with aliens or even developed the tech to leave their own star system, but they still call their Exploration/Defense force "Galaxy Garrison".
  • Purple Is the New Black: The major color scheme of the Galra and Lord Zarkon in this incarnation is purple; it's used for almost everything they have. And Shiro, whose team color is black, is often shown with purple-tinged highlights in cutaways, as well as a purple aura when his lion glows.
  • Race Lift: Lauren Montgomery said this was a deliberate effort to avoid having the team consist of 6 white teenagers this time around. Of course, in GoLion the Earth humans were meant to be Japanese, even if they looked otherwise.
    • Princess Allura is now ambiguously brown with pointy ears and Mystical White Hair when in the past, she was a white blonde human alien.
    • Hunk and Lance also appear a bit tanner than their past incarnations.
      • Lance is confirmed to be Cuban, and Hunk is Samoan.
    • Shiro, the stand-in for Sven, is Japanese rather than Scandinavian.
    • The whole Altean race went from Human Aliens in the original to Space Elves in this series.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Downplayed Trope. While the Castle of Lions is in remarkably good condition several systems were not functioning correctly after 10,000 years, the least of which was the barrier crystals responsible for the particle barrier being out of alignment. The Alteans were a Higher-Tech Species after all.
    • Played Straight with the Lions. After 10,000 years they are still in perfect condition, despite several of them apparently having their particle barriers active the whole time.
  • Reality Ensues: In their first real fight as Voltron, they struggle because despite Voltron being the most powerful weapon in the universe, it take an enormous amount of coordination between five pilots to make it work.
    • Pidge's male disguise doesn't work very well. Most of the team figures it out early, especially Shiro who knew her back when she was just Katie Holt.
    • Hunk and Pidge are stuck in a zero gravity situation at one point, so Hunk decides that he will "swim" through the air over to Pidge. He goes absolutely nowhere. Later in the same scene, Hunk kicks Pidge over to the door, but she has too much momentum to stop and just bounces off.
    • Shiro points out that with Zarkon having been active for 10,000 years and his empire now dominating much of the known universe, even if Voltron is the most powerful weapon there is - they have a lot of work to do and taking it apart won't be as easy as simply marching to Zarkon's front gate and beating him down considering their entire force consists of only five inexperienced Paladins, an Altean Princess and her assistant, and one castle-spaceship. He's proven right when Zarkon proves to be more powerful than anything they've ever seen, even when equipped with only a Bayard.
    • In "Space Mall" Coran tries to bribe a help desk worker, she does not recognize the money being not only is it 10,000 years old but also from a dead civilization.
    • Coran's societal knowledge of the aliens in charge of the mall is also completely out of date, and over the thousands of years, they have grown from thuggish mercenary traders, into exemplary, civilized capitalists.
    • Throughout the first two seasons, the Paladins act under the assumption that if they can defeat Zarkon, then the Galra Empire will collapse without him to lead it. Shiro even exclaims during the battle with Zarkon in his mechasuit during the season 2 finale that this may very well be their last battle. Unfortunately, even though the battle ends in their victory, and Zarkon badly wounded and in a coma, Haggar's final line reveals that Zarkon has a successor, namely Prince Lotor, meaning that it's really not as simple as taking out the leader to defeat an empire as vast as the Galra.
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: Allura didn't have many options. She does, however, luck out in that one of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits is an experienced (if shell-shocked) soldier and the rest, while still bickering teenagers, were Military School students with some relevant training.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Robot Rover is hacked to join Team Voltron by Pidge, and because of this sacrifices its life to kill the Galra soldier attacking Pidge.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Keith and Lance, though their traits are mostly switched.
  • Repressive but Efficient: "Space Mall" gives a nice demonstration of this trope. Before the Galra conquered most of the known universe, the Swap Moon was a Wretched Hive populated by Space Pirates and other scoundrels. Under the Galra's rule it's a tacky but clean and (more or less) safe shopping mall.
  • La Résistance: Team Voltron and the Blade of Marmora.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The aliens that Pidge meets in the trash nebula are little round balls of fur with big eyes and stubby limbs. She even calls them cute once she gets a good look at them.
  • Robeast: It's a reboot of the Trope Namer; of course they show up. But in this case, the Galra only deploy one or two of them a season, making them much nastier threats than the ones the Paladins usually face and often entire episodes are dedicated to taking them down. They're not even named until Season 2, when Hunk panics at facing another "robot... beast! Ro-beast!"
  • Rousing Speech: At the end of the first episode, as the Lions are being pulled in by the tractor beam, it's Shiro's last-minute do-or-die speech that gives the rest of the Paladins the team spirit necessary to form Voltron for the first time.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess Allura commands the Castle of Lions, which doubles as a massive battleship which assists Voltron in battle with supporting fire. On the ground, she uses her chameleon-like abilities to sneak into an enemy ship and takes out several guards. Though she has no idea how to hold a rifle.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Pidge hid her true gender when her original identity was compromised during her investigations.
  • Sentai: Though they don't have transformation sequences or go about assuming Super Sentai Stances, most of the trappings are still there. Unsurprising, as the original GoLion was produced by the same company that made Super Sentai (Toei).
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The opening scene. A research team claims that examination of the ice core samples they're taking from the outer solar system could provide evidence as to whether there is life in other solar systems. Moments later, that research goal becomes moot when a Galra spacecraft appears on the horizon.
  • Ship Tease: Some of the show's staff engage in a little shipping of their own. Of note are the "Klance" and "Sheith" pairings - Jeremy Shada called Keith and Lance 'space ranger partners' during a podcast interview, and Sheith had already developed a fanbase on Tumblr before the show even came out and had a ship name that was coined by Shiro's voice actor Josh Keaton. One of the storyboard artists also posted a drawing of Shiro with implied Sheith undertones.
    • Lance develops a crush on Allura the second he meets her. Though she isn't interested.
    • Hunk gets some with Shay as well.
    • Lance and Keith as well, especially with Keith's dismayed remark that "We had a bonding moment! I cradled you in my arms!"
    • Season 2 amps up the ship tease between Keith and Allura, such as the two running off together to discover what or who is leading Zarkon to the castle. The discovery that Keith is part Galra puts some friction between the two but they make up with a hug.
    • Something seems to be forming between Pidge and Lance, as shown when Lance helped Pidge buy a video game she wanted in "Space Mall", and Pidge hitting Lance with a robot arm when he talked about Allura in "Collection and Extraction".
  • Shock and Awe: Galra Druids are capable of firing blasts of purple lightning as the Druid who fought Keith in "Collection and Extraction" demonstrated.
  • Shown Their Work: Hunk explains correctly how Fraunhofer lines work.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Katie/Pidge is the sole female Paladin. Subverted with the team as a whole; Allura is set up to be this, until Pidge's Gender Reveal.
  • Space Elves: The Alteans even have the pointed ears to go with it.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To ThunderCats (2011). Both are Animesque re-imaginings of popular 80's cartoons, but rather than be straight forward retellings, they take on a more science fantasy tone with characters given different interpretations and backstories.
    • Also for the Avatar franchise, thanks in part to having many people who worked on those shows working on this one and having the same art studio do the animation, which gives the show the same tone and look as Avatar and Korra. Also helped by the fact that the Lions all have Elemental Powers.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Katie Holt's persistent investigation of her father and brother's disappearance gets her banned from Garrison bases, so she becomes Pidge Gunderson to keep the investigation going.

    Tropes T to Z 
  • Teens Are Short: The four cadets (Keith, Lance, Hunk, and especially Pidge) are visibly shorter than Shiro and Coran.
  • This Cannot Be!: Haggar utters this when Allura absorbs her magical attack in the season 2 finale.
  • Tractor Beam: Galra battlecruisers have massive ones on the bow of the ships. Their fighters have smaller ones capable of lifting a Lion.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Ambiguous until "Stayin' Alive", where it is averted.
    Keith: I don't think the Robeast is gonna sit around and wait for us to transform.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: At one point, Shay is taken hostage by Galra forces. The team assumes it is an ambush, but decides to rush in anyway. The Galra don't even bother sending forces, instead opting to lock the party in.
  • Turncoat: Multiple in season two. Turning for Team Voltron are the Blade of Marmora, but the season finale reveals that someone else turned the other way: in the climactic battle aboard Zarkon's flagship, Allura manages to knock off Haggar the Druid's hood and discovers, to her horror, that she and Coran are not the last surviving Alteans after all...
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Subverted. Alteans measure time in "ticks", which are noticeably different from seconds. The team spends a little time trying to work out the comparison.
    • The second season expands on this. Decafeebs are either years or decades, quintants are days, vargas are hours, and dobashes are minutes. After a while, the Paladins manage to pick up on it.
  • Ultimate Universe: Serves as this for the original series.
  • Villainous Virtues: Haggar, of all people, demonstrates this in the two-part finale of Season 2, even after it becomes clear that Zarkon has gone well and truly off his rocker in the quest to reclaim the Black Lion and is preparing to make his final stand in an experimental armor against Voltron when for the first time it looks like the Galra might actually lose, Haggar keeps her cool, remains loyal to him even as she forcibly disagrees with his methods, gathers her Druids, and acts as Zarkon's buff support until Allura brings the fight right to her. Later, she is shown to have reclaimed Zarkon's body and attempted to treat his grievous wounds.
  • Villain World: By the start of the series, the Galra have already taken over of most of the universe. Voltron and the Paladins' goal is to liberate it by stopping the Galra once and for all and restoring peace and freedom to the universe.
  • Wave-Motion Tuning Fork: The Ion Cannons mounted on Galra battlecruisers.
    • Keith causes one to appear on the back of the Red Lion during his battle with Zarkon.
  • Wham Line:
    Shiro: [to Pidge] Your father and brother would be proud of you, Katie.

    Zarkon: [to Keith] You cannot stop me. The Black Lion will finally be returned to its original Paladin.
    • The trailer for season 2 starts with one:
      Shiro: Keith, if I don't make it out of here... I want you to lead Voltron.
    • The last line in season 2:
      Haggar: Summon Prince Lotor.
  • Wham Shot: When the Voltron pilots are captured by an energy shield in the finale it is seen being shut down by a Galra soldier, Thace.
    • At the end of "Shiro's Escape", we see Keith looking at his knife. He removes the wrappings on it... And it has the same symbol of a Galran resistance, the Blade of Marmora.
    • The second season's finale, "Blackout", shows us what Haggar looks like under the hood...
      Allura: You're... Altean?!
    • And just afterward, on opening up Shiro's cockpit after towing his Lion back to the ship, the Paladins find it empty...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first episode, at the site of the wrecked alien ship, Lance remarks on an attractive female officer, apparently in some authority. She is seen for approximately two seconds, then disappears for the entire rest of the season. Why call the audience's attention to someone who is on screen so briefly, then never seen again? (The WMG page offers some theories.)
    • Kaltenecker is never seen or mentioned again after being brought on board.
  • World-Healing Wave: Allura performs a ritual transfer of Life Energy to restore the Balmera, which is ultimately crucial to defeating the Robeast.
  • Worst Aid: After Lance is extensively injured but before the Galra infiltrate the Castle, Shiro carries Lance by slinging him over the shoulder.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Galra Empire would gladly send children to be killed in their Gladiator Games.