We all have cherished recollections of particular cartoons from that heyday, which brought us numerous enduring animated television series. One such animated series was the well-known “Voltron,” which debuted in 1984 and whisked us away to a world of science fiction, fantasy, and robots!
A two-season animated series called “Lion Force Voltron” was produced by Ted Koplar and Peter Keefe. Many adaptations and reboots followed, including a substantial Netflix series that did the show justice. To learn everything there is to know about the Voltrons, we will examine the original animated version today.
What was the show all about?
The “Legend of Voltron,” a guardian of the cosmos, served as the focal point of the programme. A powerful robot named Voltron battled evil and upheld peace throughout the universe. A curse caused Voltron to be disassembled and split into five pieces, each of which wound up in a separate location on the planet Arus. A team of space explorers was entrusted with the knowledge of how to construct and activate Voltron in times of need when the wicked forces of Zarkon attacked the Planet Arus.
Then, these space travelers collaborated to join the “Voltron Force,” which attacked Zarkon. Based on the Japanese television program “Golion,” the first season was dubbed “Lion Force Voltron.” It had 52 episodes in total, and then a ‘Part 2’ with 20 episodes was broadcast afterward. The Voltron franchise has 200 episodes in all. The show also featured a number of special releases and spin-off series. Let us look at the first few episodes to gain a sense of the plot of the show.
Exploring the first few episodes and the overall story arc
The first episode of the programme, titled “Space Explorers Captured,” opens with an introduction from “Keith,” the Scout Team’s captain. The Scout Team also includes Lance, Pidge, Hunk, and Sven in addition to Keith. The Galaxy Alliance deployed the Scout Team, which is now nearing the “Planet Arus.” The “Galaxy Garrison,” the main office of the Galaxy Alliance, was situated on Earth. The Scout Team operated under the direct supervision of the Garrison, and the alliance was established after numerous worlds banded together to ensure peace throughout the galaxy.
As Keith and the Scout Team reach the Planet Arus, Keith notices that the planet is caught in the midst of an asteroid shower that may or may not be volcanic. They then notice that the heiress ‘Princess Allura’ is under attack and that her spaceship has been destroyed. Keith concludes that this attack must be orchestrated by ‘King Zarkon,’ an evil force in the galaxy who wishes to conquer Planet Arus.
Keith takes a closer look at the planet and contacts the ‘Galaxy Garrison’ to inform them that he will be initiating landing protocol so that he can protect his friends on Arus. They use their telescanner to observe the place from afar and see that the planet is empty and the streets are deserted. The place looks like it’s in huge trouble, and Keith hopes that the people of Arus took to their underground shelters for safety. As they approach the planet, Zarkon’s attack ship destroys the Scout Team’s spaceship as well.
Back at Galaxy Garrison, the chief marshals explore the possibility that Zarkon’s forces have captured the Scout Team. They explore the option of sending a rescue team but reject the idea since Zarkon’s planet is over two thousand lightyears away. Moreover, they are reassured that the Scout Team will find a way to escape since they are thoroughly trained in survival and self-defense.
The chief marshal then mentions a legend on Planet Arus about a castle of lions that held a secret to building a super robot named ‘Voltron.’ The Chief Marshal wonders if this robot could save the Space Explorers.
Thousands of lightyears away, a prison ship containing the Space Explorers makes its way from Planet Arus to Zarkon’s ‘Planet Doom.’ Zarkon addresses his army of followers and declares that he longer needs to fear the Galaxy Alliance now that he has captured the Space Explorers. One of the people in his court raises the question of Voltron, but Zarkon brushes it off and does not see Voltron as a real threat. In the meantime, the Space Explorers are held captive in a special cell in Zarkon’s palace.
Zarkon is holding a tournament in his Palace Doom and intends to bring the Scout Team in as the final contenders in the fight against a terrifying beast. The Space Explorers wonder how to escape this situation, as Zarkon has even marked their arms with tattoos. Keith suggests they use their brains rather than their brawn, and the five Space Explorers finally locate a highly raised window in their cell.
Pidge jumps to the window and looks out of it to find that their prison cell is right about the monster’s cell. Pidge ties a rope around the iron bars, and Hunk then twists the window’s iron bars to make a hole big enough for the Space Explorers to escape. As they jump from the height, the Space Explorers cling to the vultures in the skies, and the birds drop them off in an eerie place surrounded by skulls.
They finally locate Zarkon’s arena and spot the prison spaceship that brought them here. As they try to escape in the ship, Zarkon’s guards spot them and launch an attack on the Space Explorers. However, the Space Explorers finally manage to escape, and Sven drives their spaceship right into Zarkon’s crown room. After damaging the place, the Space Explorers set off in the prison spaceship while Zarkon orders his troops to follow them and shoot lasers at them.
The Space Explorers struggle to maneuver the ship amid this attack, but their ship finally stabilizes on the planet of Arus. The Space Explorers wonder what caused their spaceship to regain control and finally spot a statue with mystical powers that helped them have a safe landing. As they look around, they spot the ‘Castle of Lions’ where the secret of Voltron is hidden. According to this legend, Voltron was an invincible robot who defended the universe against evil.
However, Zarkon resorted to witchcraft and sent the evil witch ‘Haggar’ in the disguise of a beautiful space goddess. Haggar lured Voltron closer and sent an enormous energy charge through him. Though her attack worked to some extent, it could not wholly destroy Voltron. Instead, his body was split into five parts, and each of these parts became a robot lion.
The Space Explorers plan to find the secret to bringing these lions out of their hidden dens so they can come together to form Voltron again. According to the legend, two of these lions would become Voltron’s legs, two of the lions would become his arms, and finally, one would form Voltron’s head. As the episode ends, Keith gets ready to find the Castle of Lions and locate these lions in order to bring Voltron back.
In the next episode, titled ‘Escape to Another Planet,’ the Space Explorers finally land on Planet Arus and send a message to the Galaxy Garrison. Keith orders the group to eject out of the spaceship, and they all land on their own in the middle of a desert.
They wonder what to do without a spaceship when Pidge suggests that they find the Castle of Lions. While the Space Explorers are in the midst of a discussion, they are attacked by some civilians on Planet Arus. Hunk tries to scare these civilians away and is angered by the fact that they have to fight for these people. Finally, the Space Explorers set out on a hike to find the Castle since it is pretty unsafe to stand in the desert waiting for Zarkon’s next attack.
In the meantime, Zarkon sends many spaceships to Planet Arus to locate the Space Explorers and is optimistic that they have landed on Arus. The fog in the skies makes it difficult for Zarkon’s forces to find the Space Explorers who have managed to locate the Castle undetected. They observe the statues around the Castle and notice that these statues are growling. Finally, they get access to the Castle’s door and walk towards it in the hopes of finding the key to Voltron. The Castle’s doors open on their own, and Keith is suspicious of how quiet the place seems.
Nevertheless, they step inside, and the door closes behind them, leaving them trapped inside. They try to escape, but a strange man tells them they cannot escape since they are strangers who cannot be trusted. The man introduces himself as the Castle’s diplomat, who is now just a keeper of these ruins. He also mentions Voltron, and the Space Explorers ask him to give them the key to Voltron so that they can save this planet.
The man, who we know as Coran, then promises to assist them in any way he can and introduces them to ‘Princess Allura.’ Coran tells them that they are the only survivors at the Royal Court and Allura expresses her sadness over the state of Arus. Keith promises to help her save the place and inquires about Voltron. Coran tells them that after Haggar turned Voltron into five separate lions, each of these mechanical lions fell to the ground.
All of these lions ended up in different parts of the planet as they landed, and Zarkon then managed to crush the planet of Arus since Voltron was now indisposed. Coran also tells them that though these lions are on Arus, they don’t know the secret key to assembling them since King Alfor was the only one to possess this key. The Space Explorers then promise to find these lions and become the ‘Voltron Force’ that would defeat Zarkon and defend Planet Arus from his evil rule.
In the meantime, Zarkon sends his forces to Arus and orders them to find the Voltron Force at any cost. On the other side, Coran and Princess Allura take the Voltron Force to their control room and hand them new uniforms as part of their tradition. Coran then tells them the lions’ location, starting from the Black Lion that is on top of the lion monument outside the palace.
The Red Lion lies beneath the fiery lava of the volcano, the Green Lion is hidden deep in the forests, and the Blue Lion is at the bottom of the sea. The Yellow Lion is also hidden deep in the desert, and Coran tells them that they have underground tunnels that connect to the lions. He then shows them how to connect the lions to form Voltron and advises that they need five keys in order to get access to the lion ships.
The third episode of the show, titled ‘A Ghost and Four Keys,’ begins in Castle Doom, where Zarkon demands that the Voltron Force must be defeated. Zarkon’s royal witch ‘Haggar’ tells him that the Voltron Force must have gotten their hands on the Voltron formula.
Zarkon then sends his rogue beast monster to Commander Yurak’s ship, hoping that this will provide some assistance in capturing the Voltron Force. However, his commander is offended by this gesture and declares that he does not need Zarkon’s rogue monster to capture the Voltron Force. On the other side of Planet Arus, Coran tells the Voltron Force that just gathering the lion ships is not enough. They needed special keys to activate them, and these keys were placed in King Alfor’s tomb with him.
Pidge steps out to keep an eye on Zarkon’s army while the rest of the group heads walk past highly advanced technology to reach the royal crypt. As they enter the room, they hear the voice of King Alfor, who makes a ghostly appearance to greet the Voltron Force. He allows the group to open his tomb and retrieve the keys, but they find only four keys within his coffin. The fifth key belongs to the black lion, and Voltron cannot be operated without all of the keys. They decide to look for the key later, as Zarkon’s forces launch an attack on the Castle of Lions.
Pidge shoots his laser guns at Commander Yurak and his army of robots and finds himself cornered by them. He contacts the Voltron Force, who decides to take their chances with just the four keys they have. They request Coran to show them the lion ships, but he refuses to show them the way until they have found the fifth key.
Time keeps running out, and the Voltron Force consisting of Keith, Sven, Lance, and Hank, decides to go out and rescue Pidge without any defense. Princess Allura insists they cannot step out just like this and orders Coran to show them the lion ships. He finally caves in and activates the system by which each of them can ride an elevator to the lion ship.
The mechanism works with just the four keys, and all the lions except the black one make their way to the ships. The Voltron Forces then set out to rescue Pidge, who finds himself falling into a secret cave within the mountains while escaping Zarkon’s army of robots. Within this cave, Pidge comes across a group of civilians.
On the other side, the four lion ships handled by the Voltron Forces launch an attack on Commander Yurak’s ship and manage to corner him. Pidge watches the lion ships from afar, and he wants to join them so they can complete the Voltron Force. However, the civilians in the cave stop him from stepping out.
As Yurak struggles to fight against Keith and his Voltron Force, the witch ‘Haggar’ steps in and offers her powers to strengthen Yurak. The four lion ships come together to fight Yurak, but they are easily defeated without the power of the fifth key. They are determined to find the fifth key and finally defeat Zarkon, and the saga continues in the next episode.
The fourth episode, titled ‘A Missing Key,’ follows the Voltron Force’s adventures as they try to locate the key to the Black Lion ship’s key. The episode begins with Coran and Princess Allura awaiting the return of the Voltron Forces, but they seem to have fallen to the ground after being defeated by Commander Yurak. Coran contacts the Galaxy Garrison and discusses the probability of sending out help to the Voltron Forces.
However, they soon dismiss the idea once again and are hopeful that at least Pidge will make his way back to the Castle. In the meantime, one of the civilians helps Pidge find an alternate way to the Castle of Lions. The man shows him a secret passage from within the cave walls and finds a lever that opens a pathway to the Castle. Pidge returns to the Castle and visits Coran and Princess Allura, who update Pidge on the status of the Voltron Force.
Pidge is optimistic that the Voltron Forces are not lost at any cost and that they might just be out searching for him. As Pidge worries about his friends, Hunk’s transmitter turns on, and Pidge hears the sound of his friend’s snores. Pidge tries to establish some contact, and finally, Keith replies with a message that they are alive and safe within their lion ships. Pidge asks his team to come back to the Castle so that they can find the fifth key together. He also promises to never go out alone again and cause any trouble for the Voltron Force.
The Voltron Forces return to the Castle and are reunited with Pidge. They ask Coran if he has been able to locate the fifth key, but there seems to be no progress. They check through the entire Castle twice and even look through King Alfor’s tomb once again. Finally, they spot a mouse hole in the crypt, and Pidge says that the ‘space mice must have created this hole.’ Pidge claims they are his friends and says that he can show the team where they live.
Keith and Pidge trap the mice and then interrogate them about the missing key. Finally, Princess Allura intervenes and says that these mice are her friends who kept her company throughout her lonely childhood. She asks the Voltron Force to rescue these mice, and she herself asks them about the keys. The space mice tell her that they thought the key was a good luck charm and that they brought it to their nest for good luck.
The Voltron Force frees the mice on the condition that they get them the missing key right away. The mice immediately return the key to Princess Allura, who then hands it over to Coran. Coran exclaims that this is the correct key and that the spirit of Voltron will now live again. At the same moment, King Alfor appears in spirit form and wonders why Coran has reawakened Voltron’s spirit. Alfor gives them his blessings to bring Voltron back, and he wishes them the best in saving the planet.
In the meantime, Zarkon’s forces start blasting laser bombs across the planet and intend to destroy the whole place. The Voltron Force assesses these attacks from a screen within the Castle’s control room, and they decide to get to lions and form Voltron. Coran puts forth his concerns regarding the Voltron force’s safety, but Keith insists that they must get moving since nobody is safe until they stand here watching the laser attacks from a distance.
Princess Allura wishes them a safe journey, and the Voltron Force travels through the five different underground tunnels in these Lion Ships to locate the Lions. They activate their keys and get to the lions while Zarkon’s forces prepare to attack them once again.
The Voltron Force then decides to jump at Zarkon’s monster in order to defeat him, but none of their strategies seem to work. Finally, all five of them come together and form Voltron’s head and limbs. Voltron withstands all of the monster’s blasts without sustaining any damage to his metal body and then wields a sword to get rid of Zarkon’s monster. Finally, the Voltron Force manages to defeat Zarkon’s forces in the form of the all-powerful Voltron robot.
In this way, the Voltron Force came together to defeat Zarkon and protect the galaxy from all evil. The episodes mostly evolved around the Voltron Force facing one crisis or another, as they tried to protect Planet Arus and the entire universe by using the powers of the king of robots – Voltron!
Exploring the memorable characters of the show
The Scout Team formed by the Galaxy Garrison consisted of Keith, Sven, Lance, Hunk, and Pidge. They later joined forces with Princess Allura to become the ‘Voltron Force’ that pilots Voltron’s lions.
Keith was the leader of the team, and he piloted the Black Lion. Keith always looked out for his team, and together they managed to defeat Zarkon on many occasions. He was the voice of reason, and the others greatly respected his opinions and followed his orders.
Lance piloted the Red Lion, and he had quite the temperament. Besides being hot-headed, Lance also had a sharp tongue and was occasionally quite sarcastic.
Pidge was the third member of the Voltron Force, and he was quite the genius when it came to science and technology. He also assisted the group in their escape plans and piloted the Green Lion.
Hunk was a well-built, powerful team member, but he was also quite soft-hearted. He piloted the Yellow Lion.
Finally, Sven was the group’s assigned pilot and often took up the task of maneuvering their spaceship across the galaxy. He was also partnered with the Blue Lion, but he later left the group to work with ‘Romelle.’ He became a part of an advanced force that primarily focused on Planet Doom, but he occasionally returned to fight alongside the Voltron Force.
Princess Allura was the heir to the kingdom of Arus and was the daughter of King Alfor. After her father’s death, Allura became the ruler of the planet and also joined the Voltron Force. When Sven was indisposed, Princess Allura piloted the ‘Blue Lion.’ She had a group of pet mice that could understand and even mimic human speech. Moreover, Princess Allura was also the love interest of the evil Prince Lotor, son of Zarkon.
Zarkon was the evil king of the Dule Empire, who had set up his Castle on ‘Planet Doom.’ The Drule Empire was an intergalactic force that consisted of aliens who followed Zarkon’s orders. Initially, they resided on ‘Planet Drule’ but later relocated to ‘Planet Doom’ after their home planet exploded. Zarkon seldom fought in any battles himself, and instead, he sent his army of followers to attack the planets and defeat the Voltron Force. He also had a son named ‘Prince Lotor,’ whom he often sent on missions as a scapegoat for Zarkon’s failures.
Zarkon was the one to get rid of Voltron in the first place, and he believed that this robot could not defeat him even if he returned. Zarkon also had his eyes set on Planet Arus and was determined to conquer Arus and become its ruler. He had once killed Princess Allura’s father, ‘Alfor,’ in battle and was a formidable opponent when he did step on the battlefield.
Marvelous Verdict: A legacy worth remembering!
Voltron is one of those shows that leaves behind a wave of nostalgia whenever it comes up in any discussion. It was one of the best-animated shows of the 80s and most definitely one of the best robot cartoons ever made. The show had a wide arc that ranged across various seasons and hundreds of episodes, and each episode brought forth a unique plotline that was a breath of fresh air.
It brought together witchcraft, fantasy, and space travel, which combined to form a perfect blend of elements that kept the viewers entertained. The show had wonderful character designs and graphics, and the animation was also pretty well executed. The main characters were voiced by notable names such as Peter Cullen, Neil Ross, and Jack Angel, who did a marvelous job of bringing these characters to life.
Though it has expanded into a franchise, Voltron is still considered an underrated cartoon packed with action and adventure. The show also promoted themes of friendship and teamwork and made for a very fun watch, especially for children. Though there have been many versions of this show, the 1984′ Voltron: Defenders of the Universe’ is undoubtedly the most loved Voltron series and has left behind quite a legacy.
To sum it up, Voltron was a classic television show that gave us a lot of fond memories back in the day. It was the perfect blend of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy; and made for a thoroughly enjoyable watch. The show received many positive reviews from the viewers and has ever since had many spin-offs and reboots that do justice to the essence of the spirit of Voltron!