Remember when Studio Mir – the guys who provided animation for Legend of Korra – agreed to co-produce TV shows with DreamWorks Animation? Well, roughly two years after that story broke, animation fans will finally see the fruits of that deal come to bear.
Today marks the Netflix premiere of Voltron: Legendary Defender, the newest iteration of the Voltron franchise following the short-lived Voltron Force on Nicktoons. Reviving the original incarnation of the property for new audiences, the series marks an exciting expansion by DreamWorks Animation Television into action-adventure territory following the success of Dragons: Race to the Edge. But before you hit the play button and binge the show’s thirteen-episode first season (which begins with a 70-minute pilot), here’s everything you need to know about the new version of everybody’s favorite giant robot (or one of your favorites, anyway).
Besides the animation studio, fans of the Avatar/Korra franchise will also be delighted by the key talent behind Legendary Defender. Joquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, both directors and storyboard artisst on both shows, serve as showrunners and executive producers on Legendary Defender. Fellow crew memeber and Korra writer Tim Hedrick will serve as head writer on the show.
As you may note from the talent involved, Legendary Defender will have a decidedly different aesthetic than previous shows, with a visual style that’s clearly influenced by anime and manga, particularly within the realm of the giant robot sub-genre.
Like many of the 80’s animated properties, Voltron‘s heady mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy had kids glued to their TV screens all over. This is something that Dos Santos hopes to recapture with the new series, described as a ‘comedic action-packed’ reboot: “As children of the 80s who grew up with Voltron what was there not to love?” He said in a press statement. “You had 5 awesome lions, piloted by 5 awesome heroes who combined to form a giant, sword wielding Titan! It unapologetically married sci-fi and fantasy in one incredibly over the top, bombastic package.”
Dos Santos also stressed his promise to flash out the Voltron universe with this series, with “a rich backstory and characters who will evolve over the course of the series.”
All of that is awesome on its own, but if nothing else can sell you on it, Legendary Defender has one of the best casts ever assembled for a TV series.
Steven Yuen (of The Walking Dead fame) voices the lead character of Keith (Red Lion pilot), alongside Jeremy Shada (Finn from Adventure Time) as Lance (Blue Lion pilot), Bex-Taylor Klaus (Arrow, MTV’s Scream) as Pidge (Green Lion pilot), voice-over veteran Josh Keaton as Shiro (Black Lion pilot), and Tyler Labine (Hulu’s Deadbeat) as Hunk (Yellow Lion pilot). Also starring is Kimberly Brooks (Mass Effect, Steven Universe) as Princess Allura, Rhys Darby (HBO’s Flight of the Conchords) as Coran (Allura’s royal advisor), with Neil Kaplan (another voice-over veteran) as King Zarkon (ruler of the Drule empire) and Cree Summer (Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Codename: Kids Next Door) as Witch Haggar (creator of the Robobeasts and master of dark magic).
Legendary Defender is part of DreamWorks Animation Television’s expanded deal with Netflix, which includes Guillermo Del Toro’s Trollhunters series (set to debut this year as well). If this is an indicator of the type of shows to come from this extended partnership, bring ’em on!
Voltron: Legendary Defender is now streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned for the 2-part review!
What do you think? Are you going to watch Voltron: Legendary Defender?