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What Could Have Been / Voltron: Legendary Defender

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  • A lot of things have changed over the development of the show:
    • On Afterbuzz, Mitch Iverson said that May Chan pitched an idea for the Beta Traz episode with Lance and Hunk freeing people they think are prisoners and then bringing them all back to the castle. However, Coran becomes flabbergasted as he demands to know why the paladins just robbed a zoo.
    • The showrunners have stated in multiple interviews that many character interactions and explanations for various plot points had to be rushed, cut out, or replaced with more action scenes due to executives' insistence that they would bore younger viewers.
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    • In an interview, Lauren Montgomery said some ideas for Keith were that he was originally going to have fangs and white hair that he was constantly dyeing. It was discarded to avoid spoiling his Galra heritage.
    • Season 3 and 4 were originally one season before a last-minute change two weeks before its debut led to it being split into two seasons that would air in a space of two months. Season 5 and 6 were similarly split. The showrunners have confirmed in an interview with Den of Geek that they will be able to deliver more episodes on a more regular basis in order to avoid Awesomeness Withdrawal.
    • That same interview, the showrunners revealed that:
      • Many aspects of the show had to be cut down or removed for time at the behest of Executive Meddling; in particular they point to the Whole Episode Flashback in Season 3 featuring the original paladins of Voltron, which was intended to be two episodes, as well as wanting to give the paladins more scenes bonding with their lions before going off to fight. Had the flashback episode been a two-parter as originally intended, it could be possible that it would've addressed the fates of Gyrgan, Blaytz and Trigel along with revealing that Lotor was born either before or after his parents were exposed to the Quintessence that turned them evil.
      • Shiro returning to the team midway through season 3 was not supposed to happen, the original plan was for Keith to remain in the position of leader; however Lauren Montgomery revealed in an interview that Executive Meddling demanded the character's return because they wanted him to sell toys and said in an another interview that in hindsight, it turned out for the best.
      • Lotor was originally going to have two male generals before they were scrapped and replaced by four female generals. This partly to avert The Smurfette Principle, given that the only prominent female villain in the show at the time was Haggar.
      • Three of the four female generals were originally going to have the names of the The Golden Girls backwards, but the Korean staff caught on, resulting in only one character with this name; Ezor, after Rose Nylund.
      • Another idea originally had Lotor having many ranks of female Galrans and that Zarkon had a no-women policy, in order to address the lack of Galran women in season 1 and 2. This was changed to Lotor having four female generals and Zarkon having four female commanders in season 4.
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    • Operation Kuron and Keith's leadership arc were going to be larger stories (even if they were subplots instead of the main plot) in season 4, before Real Life Writes the Plot and Executive Meddling resulted in them to be postponed. Had it happened, Keith would've gotten much needed Character Development much sooner. Instead, it was shifted to seasons 5 and 6, respectively.
    • During ECCC 2018, Montgomery said she wanted more flashbacks for Pidge where she would be scanning the sky for her brother and dad. Then she would decide to leave her mom a note, join the Garrison, and then cut her hair. While Montgomery did say the haircut made it in, she wanted to show how it all led up to Pidge's final decision to go and find her missing family.
    • Jeremy Shada revealed at ECCC 2018 that he auditioned for the role of Keith before voicing Lance.
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    • In an Afterbuzz interview, the showrunners said that Keith almost appeared in "Monsters & Mana" with his avatar being a barbarian. They also said that they were going to have a lot of items with nods to pop culture in the treasure room, such as He-Man's sword, Ariel's fork, Cinderella's slipper, Sleeping Beauty's spinning wheel, and so on. However, due to Executive Meddling (when they sent in the images, the team forgot to hide the references they were using) they were told they couldn't use these items and were forced to take them out. The same happened with Coran's dragon, who was at first named after the person who created D&D, but were told they couldn't use it.
    • In a Screen Rant interview after season 6, the showrunners said that they did in fact consider killing off Shiro for good at the end of season 2 and also considering him returning in the series finale. However, when executives realized that he would be a popular character, it was eventually discarded. Given that it would've caused Unfortunate Implications towards amputees and PTSD survivors, and given that it would've likely been a brazen case of Bury Your GaysMild Season 7 spoilers , it's probably for the best that it was ultimately scrapped.
    • The original version of the breakup scene between Shiro and Adam was supposed to be longer, more explicit about their status as a romantic couple together, and taking place in what was their shared private apartment, with Adam being a teacher uninvolved with the Galaxy Garrison. After it was rejected by Executive Meddling (strongly implied to have been WEP's fault rather than Dreamworks'), Adam was retooled into being Shiro's platonic best friend and a coworker at the Garrison. The fateful decision was then made to have Adam Killed Off for Real, at which point his death would not have been a case of Bury Your Gays. After the executives relented at the last minute the scene was hastily modified to reflect the original romantic nature of Shiro and Adam's relationship.
    • Lance was originally designed to be wearing a turtleneck (just like his 80s counterpart) and fingerless gloves.
    • A post Season 7 interview with Hypable had Montgomery reveal she wanted to dress Shiro in a full captain’s outfit reminiscent of Captain Global to go with the idea of the Atlas being an Expy of the Macross. However, they decided the design looked too silly and abandoned it.
    • The MFE fighter jets in Season 7 were meant to transform like the Valkyries from Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but this idea was scrapped due to CG budget limitations. Likewise the Sincline ships were originally meant to be five ships but were cut down to three for the same reason.
    • Christopher Sean auditioned for the role of Keith (then codenamed "Red Lion") before Steven Yeun was confirmed.
    • Keith and Lotor would've been more tied to each other had the original plan for season 3 and 4 been used. In relation to that, Erica Luttrell confirmed at a 2019 SacAnime panel that Keith and Acxa would become a couple before the original plan was discarded after Dreamworks executives decided to bring back Shiro.
    • Seasons 7 and 8 were originally going to be very different than what they ultimately became, since head writer Tim Hedrick had mapped out the entire 78-episode story of the series from the beginning, but then he stepped down from his position after Season 6 due to signing on to do The Fast and the Furious animated series, which meant that the story of the final 26 episodes went in a different direction than what he had planned. Lauren and Joaquim have even confirmed that all of Season 7 was written under his guidance, but after he left they secured permission to rewrite it from scratch, though Tim was still credited for "The Feud!" and "The Journey Within".
    • One of the scrapped ideas for the show was that Earth would've been a space colony with Lance being a child soldier, which could've made VLD being compared to Mobile Suit Gundam due to the original set up having two factions at war, showing the dark side of war and having both sides in the wrong.
    • Shiro's epilogue in the finale originally featured him getting married to a lookalike of Roy Fokker, instead of his subordinate Curtis, who was instead an attendee at the wedding. It was changed after being leaked and to avoid facing legal troubles with Macross franchise owner Tatsunoko Production, who had won the lawsuit against Harmony Gold over the Macross rights that HG held for Robotech.
    • Ezor and Zethrid were supposed to both die: Ezor being killed in the explosion in Season 7 and Zethrid being killed trying to avenge her in Season 8. To avoid more Bury Your Gays controversy, the Season 8 episode in question was rewritten so that Zethrid was angry about Ezor leaving her rather than being killed, Keith then saves Zethrid and she is reunited and reconciled with Ezor. The fact that they do very little after this and that Ezor's voice actress wasn't even brought back (instead it was Allura's voice actress voicing her instead) is a dead giveaway that something got changed in production.
    • The ending was originally going to be much darker and feature all of the paladins sacrificing their lives, rather than just Allura by her lonesome. This idea was scrapped for being too much of a Downer Ending.
    • When told that Shiro could not be removed, they considered having Keith killed in his place. Each paladin had a death written out for them to be used as necessary if approved. Pidge's involved her losing her life trying to save her brother and father.
    • Hunk was supposed to be Killed Off for Real in the finale of season 7 sacrificing his life against the Altean Robeast, and be replaced with Acxa afterwards, who would receive a dedicated redemption arc. Executives approved the idea then stopped it due to not wanting too many female paladins on the team.
    • The epilogue of the show was originally supposed to be focused mainly on the various minor characters and their lives, leaving the fates of the main characters more to the viewers' imagination. The backlash over Adam's death led to the infamous Shiro wedding scene as an attempted Author's Saving Throw, which led them to make epilogues for the other main characters as well. One idea for Lance was to have him become a teacher at the Garrison. Another possibility was Allura being reborn as an infant found by Lance as a homage to Sailor Moon. A third was to have Lance embark on a quest to bring Allura's spirit back to life, which was discarded for being too similar to Star Wars Rebels.
    • Matt was going to have a larger supporting role in the last two seasons, given his appearances in most of season 5 but Blake Anderson's busy commitments resulted in his role to be rewritten for Sam instead, which explains why he was absent in most of season 7 and had a recurring role in season 8.
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