Voltron: Legendary Defender is hands down one of the best reboots in the history of reboots. It manages to elevate its original source material without abandoning its roots. It combines gorgeous animation with layered characters and an engaging story. Plus, it has giant robots and you can never go wrong with giant robots. However, all good things must come to an end though, as the eighth season of Voltron will be its last. Naturally, showrunners Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos pull out all the stops, as the Paladins of Voltron, alongside the crew of the IGF-ATLAS, face their greatest challenge yet.
Most series, when ending their run, often pick up on plot threads that have been running throughout the series and bring them to a head. The biggest plot thread in Voltron was the looming threat of Haggar-also known as Honerva, wife to Galra emperor Zarkon and mother of Prince Lotor. Honerva becomes the de facto antagonist of the final season, with the second episode, “Shadows”, dedicated to her backstory. Voltron is known for making its villains just as complex as its heroes and Honerva is no exception, especially when you learn her grand plan.
We also see how the Paladins have developed over the course of the series. Keith went from lone wolf to a dedicated leader. While Shiro, who has suffered so much, steps up as captain of the ATLAS and continues to help his former teammates defend the universe. We even see a romance blossom between Lance and Allura. The cocky, mouthy sharpshooter and the dignified princess couldn’t be more different, yet the romance actually feels earned due to previous seasons setting it up.
The animation department continues to knock it out of the park, with some of their best work yet. The battles between Voltron and Honerva’s Robeasts are immense in size and scale, energy flying off the screen and the earth shaking with the weight of their blows. The planets and alien races our heroes encounter differ wildly in appearance and customs which is a mark of excellent worldbuilding. This series has always been a feast for the eyes, and its final season is no exception.
However, for all the character development and gorgeous animation, the series stumbles in its final episode, “The End Is The Beginning.”
SPOILERS BELOW THE PICTURE
Honerva ends up destroying nearly all of reality in order to reunite with Zarkon and Lotor, but the Paladins convince her to stop, citing the beauty of life and how it’s worth living despite whatever hardships you encounter along the way. However, in order to right reality, both Honerva and Allura end up sacrificing their lives.
Fans were outraged and rightfully so. A WOC protagonist, who was an integral part of the series and a fan favorite, ends up getting killed off in the very last episode. That didn’t sit right with me. It seemed cruel to kill off Allura when she had not only found love with Lance but had a chance to reconnect with her people whom she had thought were extinct.
Similarly, Shiro ends up getting married to one of the ATLAS’ crew members, Curtis. Now I have no problem with Shiro getting married, if anything, he deserves a happy ending. However, the issue is with Curtis. We only see him in the background in a few episodes; we have no idea who he is as a character, or why Shiro fell for him. If the season had taken its time and made Curtis a three-dimensional character and developed his relationship with Shiro, this would feel less puzzling.
Despite a frustrating finale, season eight of Voltron reminded me why I loved this show and these characters and serves as a reminder that reboots don’t have to be bad-just find something new to bring to the table and don’t be ashamed of the source.
FINAL VERDICT: 4/5 robot lions.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.