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Voltron Season 5: The Mystery of the White Lion

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Towards the end of the Voltron season five trailer there’s a brief shot of a white lion’s eye looking directly at Allura. What’s going on there? Why did we hear an actual lion roar over it?

Many fans immediately jumped to the idea that this could be a sixth robot lion, the White Lion. While it’s far too early to say what exactly it is we do have some clues from some the original Voltron: Defender of the Unvierse source material. 

One of the more memorable episodes of that original runwas the Allura focus episode, “Secret of the White Lion.” The tenth episode in the original series, Allura was still new to piloting the Blue Lion and wasn’t quite confident in her place on the team. 

Exploiting this, Haggar cast a spell on Allura that gave her a dream/vision of not only a white lion but also her mother. Waking from the dream Allura could hear a voice coming from the white lion, that of her fallen father King Alfor. Rushing to find it, she believes the white lion is the reincarnated form of her father.

That may sound a little crazy but Alfor had spoken to her from beyond the grave before so it was within the realm of possibility. The other Voltron pilots try to get her to see reason but she refuses. She so badly wants it to be her father that even when it attacks the other pilots she still holds out hope. 

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Eventually it’s revealed to her it was all a plot by Haggar to capture and kill the pilots of Voltron. Allura manages to shake off the visions of her mother and, after the lion turns into a giant Robeast, defeats it in time. 

If Voltron: Legendary Defender is drawing from that episode, it could very easily just be a direct adaption where Haggar tries to trick Allura with a new vision of her father. Allura had been able to speak with a hologram of her father before its destruction in “Crystal Venom”. The chance to hear her father again, especially as she leads more and more worlds against the Galra, could be very tempting. 

While Legendary Defender hasn’t directly adapted any of the classic Voltron episodes, it isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility. “Secret of the White Lion” was selected by Voltron: Legendary Defedner Line Producer Benjamin Kaltenecker for inclusion in the Voltron 84 run of episodes on Netflix. Perhaps that was a small tip of the hat for things to come? In his intro to that episode Kaltenecker stated,

“You see Allura growing into her own, become more confidant in who she is. That confidence in turn is just gonna make the Voltron team even stronger.”

Allura in Legendary Defender could use some confidence as her responsibilites grow more and more heavy at this critical time against the Galra.

While it would be easy just to draw clues from the Voltron: Defender of the Universe episode, the producers of Voltron: Legendary Defender have stated in the past they heavily drew inspiration from the original series that was adapted into Voltron, Beast King GoLion

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In rewatching that episode there are some some key differences that could end up being reflected in whatever season five of Voltron: Legendary Defender does with the white lion. In GoLion the white lion speaks not with the voice of Fala’s (Go Lion’s name for Allura) father but her mother. It’s also not explicitly stated her dream was the cause of Honerva (Haggar in GoLion), so perhaps her father was really trying to reach out to her? Fala believes her mother’s spirit is trying to help her become a great warrior.

Voltron: Legendary Defender hasn’t done much with Allura’s mother. We briefly saw her in the season three-flashback episode, “The Legend Begins” but we know very little about her. Perhaps insetad of Haggar sending a vision of Allura’s father, perhaps she sends one of her mother. That would be pretty enticing; perhaps enough to distract her from her attempts to stop the Galra. It could also tie into Haggar perhaps blaming Allura and her family for the events that turned her into what she is today.

Of course with another lion being glimpsed fans are already scrambling to create theories about there being a sixth robot lion. While one never showed up in any of three previous Voltron series, one did appear in the crossover comic Robotech/Voltron.

Uniting two of the biggest robot anime’s of the 80’s, main plot of the comic concerns the two unvierse’s bleeding into one another and the team’s attempts to get everything back to the way it was. At the end of issue #4 King Alfor’s ghost appears to Rick Hunter (the lead character of Robotech) and says he has a way to get everyone back home. The first sign Rick sees? A white lion.

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In the final issue Rick appears with little fanfare in the white lion which he calls “Kimba”, an obvious reference to the 60’s anime Kimba the White Lion. The White Lion sadly doesn’t combine with Voltron and honestly doesn’t do that much in the plot. All it really did was finally give an official version of the sixth lion fans had wanted to see for so long.

So could we see the robot White Lion in Voltron: Legendary Defender? For all we know so far Alfor only made five lions but there’s nothing to say he couldn’t have made another. What if he made it in secret? There is one small bit of evidence another Lion exists.

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In the Legendary Defender episode, “Changing of the Guard”, Lance and Hunk defend the planet Puig. After they win, Kolivan points to a Puig carving with Voltron and an extra Lion. While Kolivan’s dialogue, “word of Voltron’s triumph is spreading”, implies this was only drawn recently perhaps this carving was from years ago. Perhaps that extra lion is the White Lion?

Or, fitting somewhat closer to the original episode, Haggar builds a lion for Zarkon to pilot against the Paladins. Going from the Paladin of the Black Lion to the White Lion would be some nice symmetry.

Maybe the real Shiro (and not the possible Clone Shiro who’s been with the team for awhile) is communicating with Allura with the power of the white lion’s spirit. After all, he did connect with the Black Lion on a sort of spiritual plain before. Perhaps the “real” Shiro when he disappeared at the end of season two was drawn to the spirit of the white lion. 

The White Lion was supposed to help unite the universes in Robotech/Voltron and traveling across universes has become a crtical element in Legendary Defender. Lotor was trying to draw energy from the space between realities in season four after all so who knows? Maybe the White Lion in Legendary Defender comes from that space. 

The Voltron Legendary Defender producers have mentioned they’re fans of Robotech and it had a huge influence on the series so they could have read the Robotech/Voltron comic and been inspried by it. Anything is possible!

Hopefully some of these clues can help fans piece together what this shot of the white lion could mean. We can’t wait for season five to drop so we can find out!

Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Robotech keeps finding its way into Voltron! Follow him on Twitter! 

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