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After successfully saving the Earth from the Cluster, Steven Universe returns to Beach City. However, a series of events spurs him, Connie, the Crystal Gems, and their new friend Katie "Pidge" Holt on an adventure that takes them beyond the confines of not just Earth, but their very galaxy as well. Through this, they learn that the Diamond Authority aren't the only threat to the universe. Now, if they are to defeat this new threat, they will need to bring together an ancient warrior loved by good and feared by evil...

Voltron, the Defender of the Universe.

Defenders of the Universe (AO3 link here) is an Alternate Universe crossover fanfic between Steven Universe and Voltron: Legendary Defender, with Sym-Bionic Titan added later, by Halo20601 AKA MasterCheifMan.

Warning! Unmarked spoilers for Chapters 1-20

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Defenders of the Universe provides examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation:
    • Shiro doesn't suffer from any debilitating illnesses in this fanfic.
    • Jasper doesn't undergo Gem corruption like she did in the show.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • Inverted with Matt, as he escapes to Earth with Shiro in this reality rather than stay captured and join a resistance like he did in canon.
    • Zigzagged with Lapis. On one hand, she did not Fuse with Jasper and drag Malachite to the bottom of the ocean, where they would both suffer heaps of mental trauma that leaves them more broken than they already are. On the other hand, she gets captured by the Galra twice, once to fight in gladiatorial combat and the other time to get experimented on by the Druids, which is arguably much worse than Malachite.
    • Also zigzagged with Keith. On one hand, he isn't an orphan that grew up on his own following his father's death. On the other hand, he's a Child Soldier whose been fighting in a war to free the universe from the Galra his whole life and is a member of The Resistance.
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    • Steven and Connie are forced into situations where they have to kill people to stay alive and protect their friends, something that never happened in the show no matter how dark it got.
    • Inverted with Shiro. He doesn't suffer any illnesses like his canon counterpart and is Happily Married to Adam, where as in canon they broke up prior to the start of the series.
    • Naturally, as she never suffered serious mental torture at the bottom of the ocean, Jasper inverts this. She also never becomes corrupted.
    • Narti is given a backstory in which she was hunted by the Galra for being born a half-breed, with them killing her father and mother.
    • Inverted with Lotor, as he was able to grow up with Zarkon and Hornerva when they were still their old selves.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Keith, while fairly badass in canon, was ultimately just as inexperienced as the other paladins. Here, he's been a member of the Blade of Marmora for almost all his life and has been the pilot of the Red Lion for well over two years, making him the most experienced paladin in the group thus far.
    • Matt also became a capable fighter in the series, but he aids Shiro against Myzax here and, as a side effect of Ascended Extra, gets more time to show his fighting skills.
    • Sendak is able to perform the assault on the Castle of Lions by himself this time rather than needing a full crew to pull it off.
    • Emerald was more of a General Failure in the show; devoting her time and resources to regain her ship after it was stolen from right under her nose by her race's equivalent to crippled people, and completely failing. Here, she's an actual threat; capable of equaling one of the Voltron Lions in a dog-fight. On top of that, she's also Hessonite's apprentice and potential successor.
    • More like undoing Adaptational Wimp, but Voltron does much better in combat than he did in the earlier seasons and also gets more time to show why he's the strongest weapon in the universe.
      • This is most notable in his fight against Drazil. When they fought, Voltron was ultimately unable to win and had to gain assistance from the Balmera to imprison it. Here, even before Sardonyx helps out, Voltron was able to cut its arm off. After they manage to find an opening, they decapitate the Ro-Beast.
      • Another notable instance of this is in his battle against Zarkon's armor. He's able to better match it in combat, and even Zarkon's Wave Motion Gun, while enough to overwhelm him and knock him into another galaxy, proved unable to disconnect the Lions from each other.
    • It's implied that Blue Diamond's Emotion Bomb can affect non-Gem races as well as other Gems, and she even gets a Sinister Scythe to use in combat, so she doesn't just rely on energy attacks.
    • The Off-Colors get to fight and can fuse into a giant dragon that dwarfs even the first Obsidian in size.
  • Adaptational Heroism: General Modula never betrayed Galaluna in this story. In addition, the Mutraddi also fight alongside Galaluna when the Galra attack, signifying that they are also aligned with the heroes. Though in the past, they were shown to be violent and ruthless when Alfor and his allies fought against them, so it's more of them having grown less bloodthirsty over the millennia.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Downplayed with the Galalunans, but they have a reputation for racism and xenophobia here compared to what was seen in Sym-Bionic Titan, where they mostly went unexplored.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Since Myzax and Prorok don't get to become Ro-Beasts this time, this is in effect for them.
    • Peridot has yet to gain her metal manipulation and has shown no signs of developing it yet.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Certain plot lines are more condensed and solved earlier than in canon:
    • The Olkari story-line is combined with the group's acquiring of the Green Lion. Only Lubos dies, the Holt siblings now have the location of their father, and they get Pumpkin.
    • The quest for the Yellow Lion is combined with the Balmera story arc. Their first trip being to get the Lion, with the return trip being to free the Balmera and its people.
    • Sendak's attack and the purging of Alfor's AI from the Castle of Lions both occur simultaneously with the Paladins journey to Balmera.
    • The search for Samuel Holt is a mixture of "Reunion" and the Off-Color story-line, while also adding some of "Lars of the Stars" as it introduces Emerald alongside her Sun Incinerator.
    • The chapters titled "Two Steps Forward" and "One Step Back" are essentially more condensed versions of the "Crack the Whip" and "Steven vs. Amethyst" episodes. In the case of "Two Steps Forward", it mostly focuses on Pidge and Keith coping with Samuel Holt's death before it shifts to a Gem assault on a spacecraft repair center that leads into Amethyst's confidence issues in the next chapter, "One Step Back".
    • "Worth and Forgiveness" is this story's own version of "The Ark of Taujeer" and "Earthlings". The Beta Kindergarten is removed completely, so they never really learn that Jasper is the "Perfect Quartz" and Amethyst essentially takes Allura and Keith's place as the missing Paladin for the Taujeer rescue while Steven and Peridot go after her.
    • "The Astral Plane" combines elements of "Eye of the Storm", specifically Zarkon chasing the Castle of Lions across the universe to retrieve the Black Lion, with Shiro's Planewalking subplot from "Space Mall".
    • "Belly of the Beast" is a combination of "The Belly of the Weblum", with elements of the main Ruby Squad episodes, most notably "Bubbled" minus the angst since Steven already learned about Pink's shattering earlier and was fused with Connie at the time.
    • "Escape From The Zoo" is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's a mix of "The Zoo" and "Escape From Beta Traz", with the Zoo in place of Beta Traz.
    • "Room for Rubies" is basically the same as "Room for Ruby", but with the entire Ruby Squad (sans Eyeball) taking part and ultimately staying on Olkarion, with the exception being Navy.
    • "Resettling-In" has a smaller version of the Diamond visions from "Jungle Moon" and also the invasion of Galaluna from "Escape From Galaluna", albeit with Broad Strokes taken.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Zigzagged with Pidge/Katie. While those are her names, she was almost always consistently referred to by her nickname, Pidge, in Legendary Defender. Here, whether she's called Pidge or Katie changes depending on whose talking to her or what they want to call her.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • The Gems and The Galra are familiar with each other due to having had a violent encounter back when Zarkon was still the Black paladin. The Diamond Authority is also aware of Voltron and his capabilities.
    • The Gems themselves are connected to the Quintessence plane. Their gems connect them to it with their bodies being made from pure Quintessence.
    • If "Beginnings" is anything to go by, the Diamonds have similar origins to Voltron as they were born of similar "ores" to the meteorite that was used to create the Legendary Defender. Pink Diamond herself was brought into being using a portion of the exact same meteorite that was used to create the Voltron Lions.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Due to being Allura's cousin, Lance's feelings toward her are brotherly rather than romantic. Both Pearl and Bismuth to an extent get the brunt of Lance's flirting this time around.
    • Pidge and Lance were close friends, but nothing beyond that. They start developing romantic feelings for each other here.
    • Since Keith is fully Galra (both genetically and in appearance), Allura is far more hostile toward him from the outset. After they defeat Sendak and having talked with Shiro about it, she's able to accept Keith as a paladin of Voltron.
    • Keith saw Shiro as an elder brother figure and looked up to him, and his relationship with Matthew was pretty much non-existent. Here, the three of them are more along the lines of True Companions, having traveled through space and fought the Galra together for over two years.
    • In canon, Adam and Shiro broke up before the start of the series due to the former's concerns about Shiro's deteriorating health. Here, they're married.
  • Adaptational Species Change:
    • Keith is now fully Galran instead of being a half-breed.
    • Pumpkin is a species called a "veggitoid" instead of being a sentient pumpkin.
    • Lance is Altean.
    • Hunk is a Balmeran.
    • The Weblum is more whale-like compared to its worm-esque canon version. Though it's still described as a space worm by Bismuth.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Myzax and Prorok's Ro-Beast forms are completely removed since both die before they have the chance to becomes them.
    • Since the Off-Colors were sent to live peacefully on Olkarion, Lars's Lars of the Stars arc isn't happening.
    • Rolo's Gang also makes no appearance what-so-ever and isn't even alluded to.
    • The unknown monsters that attack Diabaazal only appear when the Paladins enter the Quintessence field and are removed in favor of the Diamond Authority's invasion of the Galra home world.
    • The Zoo-men don't appear during the Zoo infiltration nor do they play any significant role. They do appear in the next chapter though.
  • All-Loving Hero:
    • Steven wants to be this by reasoning with the Galra. The ones that have experienced their cruelty firsthand shoot that idea down pretty quickly. This causes Stevonnie a lot of stress due to being forced into situations where murder is pretty much the only answer to the situation. Surprisingly, this works in Steven's favor at times as he's able to redeem Bismuth much earlier this time around.
    • Connie is also a case of this, though not as much as Steven since she's more willing to resort to violence.
  • Alternate Universe: There are many differences for both shows in this fanfic:
    • Jasper didn't go to Earth with Peridot and still serves Homeworld directly.
    • Keith, besides being 100% Galran, has been a member of the Blade of Marmora for almost his whole life.
    • The Holt family lives in Empire City.
    • Since Pidge never joined the Garrison, she didn't cut her hair to disguise herself. As a result she looks like she did before Matt left Earth.
  • Anti-Magic: The Druids, thanks to their studies and experiments on Gems, have learned how to counteract Gem magic, such as Garnet's future vision.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Matt was absent for most of Legendary Defender due to being both captured and later becoming a resistance fighter. Here, he's one of the main characters.
    • Emerald was just a minor antagonist for a single episode in Steven Universe. She's a recurring enemy here.
    • Unlike canon, Bismuth doesn't stay bubbled and becomes the new member of the group, making her this.
    • The shadow monsters that appeared in "Beginnings" in Legendary Defender had no significance outside that one episode. They're being set up as a future antagonist in this story and are already establishing themselves as a threat.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • After all Haxus did, ranging from remorseless enslavement to trying to kill Katie in front of her brother while emotionally taunting them, no one shed a tear after Keith killed him.
    • Considering Lubos betrayed his own people to live a life of luxury while they fought to save him, he pretty much deserved getting riddled with lasers.
    • Prorok also won't be missed by anyone given how arrogant and disobedient he was even to his superiors.
    • Subverted with the Gems that the Galra captured. While they were horrible in their treatment of other races and the defects of their own kind, Pidge ultimately can't help but feel sorry for them because no one deserves what the Galra will do to them.
    • The Syndicate members that Lotor's masked general kills were all self-serving scumbags who only cared for their profits, so they won't be missed. Lapis only expresses minor objections about killing them because she felt they could have had some use, and even acknowledges that they had it coming.
  • Bash Brothers: Keith and Shiro team up for the first time to fight Sendak while escaping Castle Doom.
  • Big Bad: Zarkon, being the malevolent dictator controlling most of the universe and all that.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Peridot has grown to despise Homeworld's actions, no longer seeing the Diamond Authority in any positive light.
    • After Steven and Bismuth learn that Rose shattered Pink Diamond, they become heavily disillusioned with the deceased leader of the Crystal Gems. Especially Bismuth, who outright calls Rose a hypocrite for doing so.
    • Most of the Voltron Force lose their ability to trust Allura after they learn that she deliberately kept the truth about Zarkon and the Black Lion from them. Especially since withholding said information almost got them killed and contributed to Garnet's death. After Garnet's funeral though, they do start to move past it, though Keith is on lukewarm terms with Allura. They're eventually able to mend fences before the final fight against Zarkon.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Garnet and Pearl return to the Voltron Force following the recharge of the Warp Pad.
    • The Balmerans, Taujeer, Merfolk, and Hoarfrost aliens all return in "Preparations" to aid in the final fight against Zarkon. Rax in particular becomes a permanent member of the bridge crew for the Castle of Lions.
    • The dark creatures from the Quintessence portal in "Beginnings" return in "The Black Star" in the form of an organic star-ship that battles against the Homeworld vessel.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Even being an Altean prince doesn't stop Lance from being this. He might have had better luck if he wasn't flirting with Pearl or Bismuth.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: As is the norm with both series, crossing galactic distances isn't much of a chore, making it Type 5. The Lions can fly to the edge of the solar system in seconds, while Gems like Lapis can do so in days. The Castle of Lions's teladuv systems can transport the Paladins to anywhere in the universe almost instantaneously.
    • To a lesser extent, while they have the means to cross these vast distances with ease, there are a few bumps in the road. It took the Red Lion two years to bring Keith, Shiro, and Matt to Earth due to external factors (Dealing with Galra, food and supply stops, letting Red recharge, etc.), and even without those factors, it still would have taken a while. Something to remember is that the Red Lion is the fastest of the Voltron Lions, so it's telling that the trip took her so long.
    • The new Galaxy Warp Pad in the Castle of Lions also has similar issues. While it can bring the Paladins to Earth from anywhere in the universe in no time at all, it has a recharge period of about one month after a single use.
    • Type 2 with the Galaxy Garrison. Their advanced technology allows them to reach the furthest parts of Earth's solar system in two years.
  • Children Forced to Kill:
    • Subverted at first. Stevonnie is almost immediately forced into a life or death situation where they either kill the Galra soldiers shooting them or die in the void of space. The pressure and morality of the situation almost causes them to split back into Steven and Connie, but Garnet is able to help them through it. It also helps that the Blue Lion was able to provide them with nonlethal options for their first dog fight. However, they are still forced into life or death scenarios where killing may be the only option, something that they are heavily conflicted by. In "The Battle for Arus", they end up killing Galra fighters. While they are able to pull through and finish the battle, they really don't like what they had to do.
    • Then they have to eject Sendak out of an airlock. They weren't exactly happy campers after that experience.
  • Child Soldier:
    • Keith has been fighting against the Galra Empire basically his whole life. Thace tends to be concerned about this and how it affects him. He's been fighting against the Galra since he was a pre-teen.
    • Marmora agents in general tend to join rather young. When they were caught in the time-loop, Thace retained the same composed demeanor that he had as an adult despite progressively getting younger, signifying that Galra join the Blade of Marmora young and are forced to mature rather quickly.
    • Steven, Connie, and Katie are just fourteen year old kids entering a 10,000 year war where death is very likely. Allura feels terrible with the fact that she effectively drafted children into a war with the Galra.
  • The Chosen Many: If a Lion decides that more than one person is worthy of piloting it, then both are deemed as Paladins of Voltron.
    • Both Steven and Connie can pilot the Blue Lion individually, but she's at her strongest when Stevonnie is the pilot.
    • Keith is the pilot of the Red Lion, much to Allura and Lance's initial distaste.
      • He was also able to temporarily pilot the Black Lion to save Shiro, even being deemed worthy by her.
    • Both Katie and Peridot are worthy of piloting the Green Lion. Though Peridot does note that the Green Lion prefers to have Katie fly her while Peridot operates the weaponry.
    • Amethyst is worthy of the Yellow Lion.
    • Like canon, Shiro is the pilot of the Black Lion. Though both he and Garnet can pilot the Lion, unlike the others, she can only chose one pilot at a time and the will of one Paladin can potentially override the other.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Like the series, the Paladins wear armor that matches their respective Lion's color. Unlike the series, when the Lion-swap is made, they change to that Lion's armor to match.
  • Composite Character:
    • Sort of. The Deathblack Beastmen and Ro-Beasts are the same thing, albeit for different versions of the Voltron show, but they're called both here. Their actual name is the former, but the Paladins call them the latter for the sake of simplicity.
    • The Paladins of Voltron also call themselves the Voltron Force. Doubles as a Mythology Gag.
  • The Conspiracy: Given how Homeworld Gems as well as Garnet, Pearl, and Bismuth know little to nothing about the Galra, it's pretty clear that the Diamond Authority is keeping their past encounter with the Empire a secret. In addition to this, they apparently also have some old projects intended to counter Voltron.
  • Cool Sword:
    • Besides his Marmora blade, Keith's Bayard also turns into a dual-edged broadsword.
    • Stevonnie's Bayard turns into a blue replicant of Rose's sword. Though Bismuth notes that it isn't as impressive as Rose's original sword.
    • Voltron's sword, obviously. Even more so after Shiro regains the Black Bayard and gains the Blazing Sword.
    • Zarkon's Bayard is both a cutlass sword and shield.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Lapis Lazuli. The universe seems to have made its personal mission to make her life as horrid as possible. She ends up captured and trapped on Earth for over 5000 years with her gem severely damaged, causing her immense pain the entire time. Then after she's all healed and leaves, she gets captured again and forced by the Galra to fight in gladiatorial combat for their amusement and barely survives her first round. Then she gets captured again to be harvested for her life energy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • After they form Voltron, Sendak's ship gets destroyed very quickly.
    • When Pearl cuts loose during a sparring match, she casually defeats both Lance and Keith at once.
    • Voltron also destroys Prorok's entire fleet in almost ten seconds.
    • In the past, Voltron's first ever battle was against the Diamond Authority and their fleets. He casually devastates the entire army and forced the Diamonds to high-tail it out of dodge.
    • Zarkon easily defeats Alfor when the fought 10,000 years ago. Of course, Alfor wasn't trying to win. Only stall for time.
  • Curse Cut Short: A more family friendly version. When Ulaz throws a grenade into a room of unsuspecting Galra soldiers, one of them only goes as far as "What the quiz..." before it blows up in his face.
  • Darker and Edgier: There's actual cursing here when there wasn't in either series (barring some family friendly substitutes) and certain enemies die in rather bloody ways. Not to mention that characters go though more bodily harm than they did in either show, and Garnet gets killed trying to save Shiro and the other Paladins.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Rise of Lotor" focuses on Lotor and the efforts of his generals, particularly Lapis.
    • "The Black Star" is all about Yellow Diamond dealing with the fallout of the previous battle with the Galra, such as Blue's broken state, and struggles to obey White Diamond after all the displays of her Lack of Empathy toward her children.
  • Deader Than Dead: The ultimate fate of any Gem that gets hit by Haggar's Komar blast. While shattering a Gem is a Fate Worse than Death that leaves them in an And I Must Scream state of limbo, the Komar completely drains them of Quintessence. So when they're completely drained, they're gone forever.
  • Death by Adaptation: A few characters end up kicking the bucket when they never died:
    • Lubos gets brutally killed where as he lived in canon.
    • Samuel Holt was allegedly dead well before Pidge and Matt could find him.
    • Garnet ends up sacrificing herself fighting Haggar to help Shiro escape.
    • The Fameythst gets killed by Haggar's Komar blast during the Galra assault on the Zoo, with the few survivors getting poofed and/or shattered by Zarkon's attack. The only seen survivors of the attacks are Holly Blue Agate and Skinny Jasper.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • As a side effect of being a Balmeran and not the Yellow Paladin, Hunk isn't really important this time around.
    • Downplayed with Lance. He's still an important character, he just isn't one of the Lion pilots and largely helps maintain the Castle.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Certain characters get killed off differently compared to how they died in Legendary Defender.
    • Myzax gets killed in the arena and doesn't become a Ro-Beast.
    • Drazil gets killed by Voltron on the Balmera instead of being imprisoned and returning later.
    • Zarkon kills Prorok himself before he gets the chance to become a Ro-Beast and be killed then.
    • Zarkon dies in the show by his son's hands in Season 5, but he's killed around the end of the Season two mark here by Voltron.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Lance was taken aback by Pearl's beauty and proceeds to flirt with her. She responds by dropping him on the floor.
  • Downer Ending: Some of the endings to certain chapters aren't pleasant for our heroes.
    • "Lost and Found" ends with Katie and Matt discovering that Samuel Holt has long since been dead.
    • "Secrets of the Black Paladin". Good God, things really end on a bleak note for the heroes in the season 1 finale. Keith learns that Zarkon was the Black Paladin in the past, causing his faith in Allura to be shattered, for starters. Also, Steven gets critically injured trying to help Keith fight Zarkon, Shiro is heavily wounded, the Paladins are scattered across the universe and unable to contact each other or the Castle of Lions, and to add to all the terrible things that happen to them, Garnet gets killed by Haggar!
  • The Dreaded:
    • Zarkon is widely feared throughout the universe. Keith notes that with how traitorous most of his followers are, his empire would have fallen a long time ago had he not been so respected and feared by his own people.
      • His Druids are among his most feared servants, Haggar being the most feared. Thace felt it was necessary to call for backup when just one of them was on the prison transport he was on.
    • The Diamond Authority and Homeworld are also feared by numerous races for the destruction they have wrought upon various civilizations. Their race is also referred to as "World killers".
    • Voltron himself is also shown to be feared. Zarkon takes the threat he poses very seriously, and this is a guy who controls a majority of the universe and its resources. Yellow Diamond's expression and hasty disconnection after being told that the five ships Emerald encountered where the Lions shows that she is also deeply terrified of Voltron.
  • Dual Wield:
    • Keith typically wields his Bayard alongside his Marmora blade in combat.
    • Stevonnie inserting their Bayard into Voltron gives him a second sword and a speed increase. They also get to wield their Bayard alongside Rose's sword when they fought against Zarkon, but it was destroyed.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Zarkon, even as an evil galactic emperor, still cares for his wife, Haggar/Honerva. He personally killed Prorok when he dared to try and blast her.
    • Blue Diamond still mourns the death of Pink Diamond and greatly wants to shatter Rose for killing her. Yellow also mourns her loss, but is more stoic about it.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: All members of the Blade of Marmora know this as a means of communicating and sending out distress signals. It's not actually Morse, but it's close enough to be their equivalent.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Most of the higher ranks in the Galra Empire really can't understand why Lotor is so merciful towards the races they conquer. Many even laugh at how he lets the planets rule over themselves rather than enforce marshal law on them.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Gems that the Galra have captured are servants of Homeworld. One of the Archive of Our Own tags makes it clear that the Galra Empire and the Diamond Authority will not be allies at all, and will instead be enemies. Either way, both are genocidal conquerors, so pick your poison.
  • Expy:
    • White Diamond is based off Ragyo Kiryuin from Kill la Kill.
    • While at the Space Mall, Katie and Lance run into an alien raccoon and a large tree alien who're very identical to Rocket and Groot, albeit named Root and the raccoon has no name given.
    • The Black Star is based off the White Star from Babylon 5, and the enemy ship its crew encounters is based off the Shadow Vessels from the same series.
  • Fantastic Racism: Much like both shows, there tends to be an undercurrent of prejudice among the species encountered:
    • The Galra see the Gems less as sentient beings and more as sources for unlimited Quintessence that just happen to be capable of walking and talking.
    • Keith has a bit of this toward Gems, as their race is that of "World-killers" like the Galra. Shiro tells him that they really shouldn't be picky about who they can get help from.
    • Subverted with Allura and Lance toward the Crystal Gems, as they see them as friends after they wake up from cryosleep.
      • Played Straight toward the Galra, as the first thing Allura and Coran did upon seeing Keith was attack him. Allura only stopped because she's told that Keith is the Red Lion pilot. Both Allura and Lance are shown to hate all Galra and only tolerate Keith due to him being the chosen pilot for the Red Lion, meaning they really have no choice but to accept him as a paladin. They are able to overcome this after the paladins defeat Sendak and save Arus.
    • The Galra themselves dislike almost any race that isn't them. Comes with being a Proud Warrior Race that controls the universe.
    • The Olkari dislike the Galra in servitude to the Empire, but trust the Blade of Marmora.
    • Rax isn't fond to the Gems due to their race having colonized countless worlds and wiped out their civilizations.
    • Homeworld Gems don't like defective Gems or organics. Even on a rescue mission, they had orders to kill on sight if either were spotted. Hessonite in particular hates organics not out of malice, but because they make a mess when she kills them.
    • The Diamond Authority has a low opinion of organic life in general.
    • Galra have also been shown to be disdainful, if not outright murderous, toward half-breeds of their own. Narti was hunted down just for existing back during Zarkon's reign.
  • For the Evulz: Jasper openly admits (while killing random Galra) that she doesn't hunt them because they attacked their colonies. She's doing it because she can.
  • For Want of a Nail: Since Lapis never returned to Homeworld, Jasper never went to Earth, so she's still serving her planet out in space.
  • Fusion Fic: The worlds of Steven Universe, Voltron: Legendary Defender, and later Sym-Bionic Titan all coexist in the same universe. With the former two, the author even stated that a goal of his was to create a world where the elements of these shows feel like they can coexist together.
  • Glory Seeker: Prorok prioritizes his own glory over his leader's orders. Naturally, he gets killed for this.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!:
    • Alien terms seem to be in place of cursing like in the show. The most prominent being "Quiznak" which may likely be the f-bomb given how it's used. Amythest and Pidge seem to have caught on and use it as well.
    • Gems tend to use the word "Jank" in place of certain curses.
    • Averted in Chapter 6. Keith openly calls Lance a douche-bag and says "hell" later, much to everyone else's dismay.
    • Pearl, of all people, averts this and outright says "give them hell" during the fight to save Arus, much to her embarrassment.
  • Graceful Loser: Sendak calmly accepts his demise when it seems inevitable as his ship crashes into the planet, saying his last words which sum up his ideology well:
    Sendak: Victory or death.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Both Keith and Stevonnie wield swords in combat and are among the heroes. Voltron himself naturally has his sword as well.
  • How We Got Here: When they return to Earth in the first chapter, Matthew and Shiro spend the next two chapters getting the Crystal Gems and Katie up to speed on what's happened in the last two years since they vanished.
  • Humongous Mecha: Voltron. Later Zarkon's Armor and the Lion Slayers as well.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • Lance flirts with Pearl, but she's only attracted to women.
      • He also flirts with Bismuth, but she finds his cousin, Allura, to be more her type.
    • Connie has a bit of a crush on Shiro, who is married to Adam.
  • Infinite Supplies: Most of the time this is played straight, but it was averted in "Space Mall", where the chapter begins with them running out of rations and medical supplies. After the coalition expands following Zarkon's death and the Paladin's gain a full-time bridge crew, they don't have to worry about running low on supplies anymore.
  • Irony: Zarkon finds it amusing that Alfor's blade is wielded by Keith, a member of the same race responsible for his demise.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Peridot is still redeemed and no longer has her limb enhancers.
    • The Cluster is still stopped by Steven communicating with it and help it bubble itself.
    • Pumpkin still becomes a pet, albeit under different circumstances.
    • Steven is aware of Garnet being a Fusion due to Peridot managing to "poof" her with a Gem-Destabilizer.
    • Keith is still born on Earth and is given an Earth name.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing:
    • Keith prefers to address Red with female pronouns due to this.
    • Because of her hatred towards Galra, Allura only refers to Keith as "the Galra" at first. Though they are able to get over this following the fight against Sendak.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Haxus telling Lubos he was no longer needed after their deal ended was cruel, but since Lubos sold out his people for his own benefit, it's well deserved.
  • Lack of Empathy: Haggar thinks nothing of the agonizing torture she inflicted upon Gems during her experiments, even as they beg for death.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Matt notes that Jasper sounds like a deeper, angrier Allura, referencing how both characters are voiced by Kimberly Brooks in their respective shows.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black:
    • The Diamond Authority may be genocidal, like the Galra Empire, but they are a family who looks out for one another and make it a point to rescue their colonies should they be in danger.
    • Lotor and his Generals are this to the Empire. They seek to abolish the harvesting of Gem Quintessence and treat the conquered worlds fairly, allowing them to rule themselves and only stepping in when needed. They also seek to bring order to the universe through peaceful means rather than through war.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Pretty much the entire Gem race in regards to the Galra and Voltron. The Diamond Authority had an encounter with them in the past, but they deliberately withhold this information from their underlings. The only Gems who know about the incident are themselves, their Pearls, and Hessonite.
  • Machine Worship: The natives of Arus apparently took to worshiping Allura and Voltron as deities. Allura was very quick to dispel this notion.
  • Moral Guardians: In-Universe example. After Keith starts cursing, Pearl, Garnet, and Matt cover Steven, Connie, and Pidge's ears so that they don't hear it and chastise him for using such language. Matt says that it's pretty much his job to protect his sister from such things.
  • The Mourning After: The end of "The Astral Plane" is a funeral mourning the loss of Garnet and how she impacted the lives of the Paladins and Crystal Gems.
  • Mythology Gag: There are a number of references and nods toward not just the original 80s series, but also the original Golion version as well:
    • The Galaxy Garrison was established in 1999, which is a reference to Golion when 1999, the time setting, was considered the distant future.
    • Matthew saying "We're space explorers... and we need space!" was said by Keith in the original 80s show.
    • Allura's Nanny Hys, a character from the Golion version, is mentioned.
    • Many of the nicknames Amythest comes up with are references to the nicknames the team had in Golion.
    • When coming up with a battle cry, Connie comes up with "Lets Go! Voltron Force!" They later start calling themselves the Voltron Force.
    • Throk has an ally named Caponello, who is based off his Japanese version of the same name in Voltron: Vehicle Force.
  • The Nicknamer: Amethyst gave all her teammates nicknames:
    • Shiro: Chief
    • Stevonnie: Petal
    • Keith: Broody (they're working on it)
    • Peridot: Dot
    • Amethyst: Amy
    • Pidge is still Pidge though.
  • Noble Demon: Sendak is a fanatical Galra commander, but he is truly accepting of his demise when he believes it to be inevitable, so he's no Dirty Coward. While it doesn't stop him from trying to enslave Steven and Connie, he sees no honor in killing children.
  • Precocious Crush: Connie has a bit of a crush on Shiro that goes in hand with Hero Worship.
  • Promoted to Love Interest:
    • While Hunk and Shay had a good deal of Ship Tease, it never really went anywhere and only started getting hinted at again at the end of season 7. Here, they are Happily Married.
    • Adam and Shiro are married here where as they broke up in canon.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Lapis's effectiveness stems from how much water she has access to. On Earth, she's easily the most powerful being on the planet. In a gladiatorial combat arena where she has almost none, she loses at least 95% of her effectiveness.
    • Despite how capable and skilled Keith is, he ultimately turns into small fry when compared to Pearl, who has thousands of years of combat experience and is a master of several forms of swordsmanship and martial arts.
    • Explosions cause debris and shrapnel to go everywhere, some of which impaled Pidge in her stomach area. Had it not been for Steven's healing abilities, she would have died.
      • Even after Steven heals her, she's not completely at full health nor is she cleared to leave the Medical Bay. This results in her sitting out most of the fight on the Balmera. Even when she decides to go out and help the Paladins form Voltron, she's in constant worry over whether or not her wound will re-open during the fight.
    • Attempting to kill one of the team isn't going to be completely forgiven. While Steven and Connie are perfectly willing to forgive Bismuth (it's who they are), the rest don't trust her in the slightest.
    • Keeping secrets, especially ones that would be vital in certain situations, is rarely a good idea. Had Allura told the Paladins that Zarkon was once the Black Voltron pilot, then they probably wouldn't have been so hasty to fight him.
    • "Space Mall" starts with the Paladins running out of food and medical supplies. The Castle of Lions doesn't have unlimited resources after all.
    • As Keith told Connie, Zarkon's empire is built on fear. His people fear, respect, and worship him like a god to the point where this fear is the main reason why the Galra Empire hasn't collapsed even after thousands of years. The minute Zarkon kicks the bucket, the empire starts collapsing and losing to rebellions across the galaxy at an alarming rate.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Keith is Thace's son rather than the son of an unnamed human. Axca is also his maternal half-sister.
    • Lance is Allura's cousin.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • Katie and Lance become a couple after "The Legendary Defenders".
    • Steven and Connie in "Back Home".
  • The Resistance:
    • The Blade of Marmora stands against the Galra Empire.
    • The Crystal Gems rebelled against the Authority in the past.
  • Revenge Before Reason:
    • Jasper is perfectly willing to defy her orders if it means that she has a chance at taking down Rose Quartz for Pink Diamond's shattering.
    • Blue Diamond is also willing to throw reason out the window if it means that she can shatter Rose herself. Thankfully, Yellow helps her see reason.
    • Bismuth, at first.
  • Seen It All: At this point, Matt and Shiro have been all over the universe, so very little surprises them anymore. Then they meet the Crystal Gems...
  • Shout-Out:
    • Chapter 6 is titled "Welcome to the Jungle".
    • Eyeball falling down a flight of stairs and crying out "Jank!" over and over again is one toward Family Guy where the same thing happened to Peter.
    • "Smokey Quartz is my name, and I'm here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum."
    • Coran's "trinkets, odds-and-ends, that sort of thing" line when showing Bismuth the forge is a nod to Skyrim.
    • Garnet naming the cats on Earth is a reference to Nappa naming the Saibamen in Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
    • Lance's distraction attempt with the Druid is one to Star Wars.
    • Yellow Diamond's Lion Slayer resembles a mix between a Gundam and Eva unit according to Peridot.
    • What does Peridot say when she and Pidge activate Voltron's arm cannon and fire it at Zarkon? "Say hello to my little friend!"
    • Rhodonite's "One is all, all is one" speech in chapter 32 is based off the same speech made in Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • The device Sendak uses on Modula and Stevonnie is similar to the Agony Matrix used by Darkseid in the last episode of Justice League Unlimited.
    • Lapis has taken to carrying a flask of water to keep herself armed, much like Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • Plenty toward the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
      • Keith going over his job toward Lance and calling him a "douchbag" immediately afterward is a direct reference toward Avengers: Infinity War where Dr. Strange does the same to Tony Stark.
      • Pearl channeling a bit of Avengers: Age of Ultron and calling Keith out for cursing exactly the same way Captain America does. She also doesn't seem to be living it down any time soon.
      • Another Age of Ultron one comes from when Amethyst coughed "testosterone" in the same vein as Maria Hill.
      • While at the Space Mall, Pidge and Lance run into Rocket Raccoon and Groot expies and the Earth store plays "Hooked on a Feeling" in the background.
      • Lance has a problem with Keith's plans, just like Starlord has problems with Iron Man's plans.
      Lance: Let's talk about this plan of yours for a second. I think it's good, except it kind of sucks; so, let me come up with a plan that is actually good.
      Keith: Okay smartass, what's your brilliant idea?
      • Lapis tells Sendak "At this point, pain's is an old friend", which references Doctor Strange's famous line when he battled Dormammu.
  • So Proud of You: Pearl frequently tells this to Steven and Connie for their accomplishments as Voltron Paladins.
  • Space Battle: Being set in space, there are a few fights set in the black, star-filled void.
    • "Secrets of the Black Lion" is a massive space fight between Voltron and Zarkon's Armadas.
    • "Beginnings" has the first fight Voltron was ever involved in; The Empire of Diabazaal vs. the Diamond Authority.
    • "The Legendary Defenders" has all of the allies the Paladins have made fight alongside them in a final assault on Castle Doom.
  • Synchronous Episodes:
    • The events of "Welcome to the Jungle" and "The Living Planet" both happen simultaneously.
    • Chapters 24 and 25, titled "Belly of the Beast" and "Escape from the Zoo" respectively, occur at the same time.
  • Take Up My Sword: Shiro asks Keith to become the Black Lion pilot and leader of the Paladins in the event that he should die. After Shiro disappears, Keith is reluctant to take up the mantle, as doing so would mean giving up on his friend when he has faith that he's still alive. After the Galra launch a successful invasion of Galaluna; capturing Modula, Steven, Connie, the Red Lion, and multiple Mutraddi, he takes up the mantle to save his friends, even dawning Shiro's armor.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted thankfully. After Stevonnie(and Steven and Connie by extension) kill for the first time, Garnet is able to comfort and help them. Both Garnet and Pearl basically serve as therapists for the life or death situations they find themselves in. After they return to Earth post Balmera liberation, Shiro and Allura take up the mantle.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After Lapis is rescued by Narti, she starts having a much better life than she did previously. She gets taken in by Lotor, is made one of his top Generals, forms a tight-nit group of friends, and even starts a romance with Lotor himself.
  • Time Skip: After Zarkon's death, there is a four week time skip.
    • "Rise of Lotor" takes place approximately seven phoebs (months) after Zarkon's demise.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Sendak's attack on the Castle of Lions, which "poofed" Pearl, almost killed Pidge, and forced them to delete Alfor's AI served as this to the Paladins. It shows them that they are most certainly not invincible, that the fight against the Galra will be a hard one, and that death is a certainty if they are not careful.
    • The first Beastman/Ro-Beast is this for Voltron, showing that even though he's the strongest weapon in the universe, there are things that can challenge him.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Lost and Found": After all their searching, it's revealed that Pidge and Matt's father died before they could find him.
    • "Secrets of the Black Paladin": The Paladins are scattered across the corners of the universe and we have our first major character death, and it's Garnet!
    • "Beginnings": Voltron's origins are revealed and his first battle against the Diamond Authority ends with the only survivors being the Diamonds themselves, their Pearls, and Hessonite.
      • What were the Diamonds after? A special "ore" that White Diamond demanded they bring. She then uses said "ore" to create and birth Pink Diamond.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • After thousands of years trapped on Earth, it looks like Lapis is finally free! Then she gets captured by the Galra...
    • Happens again when they're escaping the Galra. It looks like she's going to get out, only for her to get captured by Sendak and later experimented on by the Druids while Keith takes Shiro and Matt to Earth.
  • You Are Not Ready: Garnet frequently uses this reasoning so as to not tell Steven anything he isn't prepared for. Bismuth calls this out on being complete bullshit, since at this point he's saved planets alongside his friends and has been put into situations that have forced him to adapt his morals, so this excuse doesn't work anymore.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Haxus tells Lubos this when Keith tries to use him as a hostage. Unlike canon, he gets brutally killed.

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