Voltron Legendary Defender Season 2 Interview: Joaquim Dos Santos & Lauren Montgomery
The reviews are in, and it is Crystal (Venom) clear that DreamWorks’ Voltron Legendary Defender Season 2 will outshine Season 1, and just about any other animated series out there. Season 2 drops on Netflix this Friday, January 20. See our Rating of Season 2 at the bottom of this article.
There’s no denying the combined power of a critically-acclaimed (100% on Rotten Tomatoes) Netflix series that grabs you from the first line, “Easy son, this ice is delicate”, and immerses you in an increasingly expanding universe, where the stakes are so high, the main characters never have time to press the pause button, and you, as the viewer, are so caught up in the action, suspense and humor that you don’t dare stop until the whole Season is over. But, is it over? NO! This is serialized TV at it’s best, so at the end of the Season, you are left with an even bigger cliffhanger than Season 1, where you would happily give your right arm (à la Shiro) to continue into the next season right now!
Does this all seem like an exaggeration? Do you taste bias in these words? You say this is just a show for kids? You say grown-ups would never get this insane for an animated TV series? Say what you will about subjective vs. objective, or that the writer is being paid to say all this (which I am not), but the phenomena of Voltron is rich with nostalgia. Considering I literally wrote the book on Voltron’s first 30 years (Ok, I was paid a little for that – Voltron: From Days of Long Ago, A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration), I have witnessed the humble beginnings of the Japanese Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV shows as they were Americanized into Voltron: Defender of the Universe by a talented group of writers, producers, directors, voice actors, and sound technicians. The mere fact that we are still talking about Voltron, let alone enjoying its resurgence with an incredible new Netflix series, is nothing more than MIRACULOUS! So, thank you to all those people I wrote about in the book for paving the way for today’s Voltron Legendary Defender.
To show that today’s Voltron is better than ever, here are some thoughts from actual grown-ups on Twitter about how special Voltron Legendary Defender is to them:
I need to make plans for #VoltronSeason2, like, have a good sleep beforehand, prepare snacks, etc.
— 💙 Jay 🌸🍃 (@_blueshades) January 16, 2017
— Knight (@knig4t) January 6, 2017
— McKenna Kaelin (@coffeewithkenna) January 6, 2017
— Mee-Shell Ma Belle (@meeshell___) January 5, 2017
So, let’s just agree both kids and adults are excited for Season 2 of Voltron Legendary Defender and to keep that excitement going, ToonBarn Head Writer Marc Morrell had an exclusive interview with the showrunners of Voltron Legendary Defender, Executive Producers Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery. This interview can be heard, in its entirety, on Let’s Voltron: The Official Voltron Podcast on LetsVoltron.com, starting this Thursday.
Marc: I hope you had some time off with your families over the holidays.
Lauren: Oh yeah, we got a little break. We got about a week and that was nice. Never enough, but we’ll take what we can get.
Joaquim: Yeah, it was a good recharge.
Marc: So, it sounds like you’re recharged for a tremendous launch of Season 2 of Voltron Legendary Defender.
Lauren: Yeah, it’s coming up. We’re excited about it. Excited to hear what the fans say about it.
Joaquim: Yeah, super excited!
Marc: We had a chance to review the first 3 episodes of Season 2 and they really grab you right off the bat and take you for a fantastic ride.
Lauren: Yeah, that’s what we were hoping to break the mold a little bit, and get our guys out there so they’re not on their usual kind of Voltron missions now. It’s kind of just romp with our characters, but it was really fun for us to handle. We had a lot of fun with those episodes, and so it’s good to hear that it was fun to watch for you as well.
Marc: Yes! And we also saw the Season 2 trailer. You’ve really raised the bar on Season 1!
Lauren: Oh, thank you!
Joaquim: Hopefully, the rest of the season will live up to it with no pressure now, buddy, no pressure.
Lauren: We look forward to disappointing you at some point in the future.
Marc: Ha, Ha! It’s not going to happen.
Lauren: Alright, I’m going to hold you to that.
Marc: (Laughs) Well, what I like about the trailer for Season 2 is it kind of gives you a rehash of Season 1 before it gets into the new stuff. This works great for people who saw Season 1 and for people who haven’t seen any of it yet.
Lauren: Yeah! And I think that’s always the goal: to get the fans excited, but also hopefully open the door for new fans. It was our goal when making the show, and we continue to try to get new people to watch the show and come check out what we’re making.
Marc: Right! What we liked that Season 1 showed us near the end, the paladins could take on the Galra bit by bit, but when it came to taking on Zarkon and Haggar, they were not ready, despite Keith trying to take them on with no hesitation.
Joaquim: I think that’s kind of a cool thing. The paladins aren’t quite up to the task just yet, so they still got work to do. There’s still plenty of room to grow. I think that’s what were hoping to explore in Season 2, watching those characters evolve and learn and get better at what they do.
Lauren: Yeah, and making sure our villains aren’t something where you can just walk in and fight. They were pushed to face off against Zarkon much earlier than they wanted to, and they pay for it, as you see in the first episodes (of Season 2) where they’re all kind of split apart. And, they’re going to have to work their way back and ultimately, get to a better place where they can try and take on Zarkon again.
Marc: Right, so in Season 2, once the team manages to find each other again, they’re bombarded by Zarkon and have no clue as to HOW he’s finding them.
Joaquim: Yeah, and again, that’s sort of a testament to us, trying to put these characters in a vulnerable spot. You know, they’re obviously heroic and doing heroic things, but they’re not winning every episode. They’re up against a giant, giant threat. We want to make the Galra and Zarkon and Haggar a legitimate threat to Voltron and the Paladins.
Lauren: Yeah, and Voltron isn’t the cure-all for all worlds. He’s an amazing weapon that can be used, but when you’re up against a force as large as the Galra, even he is kind of the underdog. It seems like an insurmountable feat for them to accomplish.
Marc: Right! We have some speculation from some of the fans that the connection that Zarkon was able to re-establish with Black Lion at the end of the first season, and the fact that Shiro has Galra technology as part of his arm, they were wondering if there was some kind of tracking device built into the arm or whether it was Black Lion that enabling Zarkon to be able to find them.
Lauren: Yeah, those are just two of the options, and I think in the episodes, the paladins come up with other reasons. There are a lot of ways that Zarkon could have found to track them, and they need to figure that out, because they can’t keep running from him at the pace they are going. If they face him again now, he’ll defeat them, and they know that.
Joaquim: And for us, you know, the fan speculation is cool. We like getting people talking and we like hearing the different theories. It’s just cool to see.
Marc: Yeah, and of course, we’ve got the idea now that the paladins understand that they really are going to have a hard time taking on Zarkon alone. So, there are some people from other worlds that they get to, and they find some allies along the way that can help them take on Zarkon, right?
Joaquim: Yeah, ultimately I think that’s going to be one of the things that we come to realize as Voltron’s mission. He’s sort of gotta rally the universe against the Galra. And so, our team members need help. I think that’s one thing that we’re also super proud of, is they realize they can’t go it alone and they need a bigger force to take on Zarkon.
Lauren: And we always wanted to make our universe feel very large, so when you’re trying to populate a universe that’s been dominated by the Galra, there’s going be more than just one group of people that are gonna fight back. So, seeing all the effects that Zarkon has on these different types of aliens, and who kind of rolls over and who fights back. It just adds to the overall lure of the story we’re trying to tell.
Marc: That’s pretty cool. You had mentioned before that we have some cool guest voice artists this season and you had mentioned Weird Al Yankovic. So, could you give us any ideas as to who else might be included in Season 2 as guest voice stars?
Lauren: Well, if you’ve seen the first 3 episodes, then you will have heard Arnold Vosloo‘s voice. He was The Mummy (Imhotep). And I think we’d like to let you see it and hear it for yourself to find out what awesomeness we have to bring.
Joaquim: Yeah, I think we can say if Weird Al is any indicator, think in that direction.
Marc: Ok, alright. You guys also put out a video for the Ultimate Voltron from Playmates Toys. I want to thank you for putting that out for everybody.
Lauren: Yeah, no problem. DreamWorks was integral in wanting to get that done and we were more than happy to participate. It was a lot of fun. And you know, we’re toy geeks, so we really enjoyed getting to be able to look at it up close and play with it, before we were even able to get our hands on it in stores.
Marc: So, how does this make you feel? (pushes button on Ultimate Voltron toy, and it shouts, “Form Voltron!”
Lauren: (Laughs) It’s pretty awesome. It’s great to see that Voltron design that we worked on so hard in an actual toy form. I can hold him in my hand and pose him. It’s exciting. It’s becoming real, finally.
Joaquim: Yeah, he’s got a good sense of scale. The toys were something that was always off on the horizon for us, when we were working on the first season. It’s cool that they’re finally here. It does make the whole experience feel that much more real.
Marc: It’s because of you guys that this is the first time in 16 years that there are Voltron toys on the toy shelves in the toy stores.
Joaquim: That’s awesome!
Lauren: Wow! I didn’t even realize that. That’s cool.
Marc: January 20th is coming up soon. There’s going to be a social media frenzy that day as soon as the Netflix drop happens. Can you tell us, is it going to be like last time where the first 3 episodes were part of one episode, or are they all individual episodes?
Joaquim: I think they’re all individual episodes now.
Lauren: Yeah, we took the time just to set up the world in that big long movie, because there was just a lot of information that needed to happen, but that was only the time that we really needed to do that. I think from here on out, we set up the world, and now, everything is just episodic.
Joaquim: The cool thing about Netflix is, if anybody’s missed anything, or a little in the dark as to what means what, they can just go back to the episodes and review them at their leisure.
Marc: Right, and this is still going to be a 13-episode drop, right?
Lauren and Joaquim: Yep!
Marc: That day also comes up against another event, a Presidential Inauguration.
Joaquim: Very true.
Lauren: Yeah, so regardless of how people feel about it, if you wanna think about something else, or if you want to celebrate, just watch the show (Voltron Legendary Defender – Season 2).
Lauren: Or, maybe you don’t care about it at all. Then you can just watch our show.
Joaquim: Yeah, if you’re just tired of the noise, just get a little Voltron going. You’re good to go!
Marc: I can tell you already. We’ve sort of taken an informal poll. We already know from all the fans that listen to the Let’s Voltron Podcast, obviously, they’re going to be watching Voltron over that other thing.
Joaquim and Lauren: (Laughing)
Lauren: We would recommend that.
Marc: We could probably even predict that some people are going to be on their 3rd watch-through (of the entire season) by the time that other thing happens.
Joaquim and Lauren: (Laughing)
Joaquim: That is amazing.
Lauren: That would be incredible.
Marc: Yeah, so the internet may explode on January 20th just because of all that.
Joaquim: We’re looking forward to reading all the comments and stuff. That’s for sure.
Marc: My son and I are getting together first thing in the morning with our bowls of cereal, and we’re going to start with Episode 1 and just keep going until it’s done.
Joaquim: I love it! That’s awesome!
Lauren: Oh, wow! Cool!
Marc: Do you know if you’re going to be seeing us at WonderCon at all this year?
Lauren: You know, I don’t know yet, but I think it’s pretty safe to say there’s a good chance.
Joaquim: Yeah, it’s been discussed on some level. So, yeah, I think it’s a good bet.
Marc: Great! What are you looking forward to the most as Season 2 comes out and all the fans get a chance to see it?
Lauren: It’s hard to say, because you don’t want to give away any spoilers, but for me, there’s just some character progression things that I really like, and I just want to see how the audience accepts them. I guess if it brings them closer to the characters, those are the things I really enjoy.
Joaquim: Yeah, for me, I think it’s those conspiracy theories, all those different fan theories that go in all sorts of directions. I think with anything, some are a little close, and some are so far off that it’s just hilarious to read them.
Marc: We would expect our characters to grow a bit from Season to Season, and we look forward to seeing that growth. You know, a team that came together to form Voltron, where they had to think together all the same, to be able to form Voltron, and now, they’re starting the season apart from each other, and they have to come up with their own ways of getting back together with the others, it really is going to develop that growth in each character.
Lauren: It’s always interesting to see how the characters react when they’re grouped with different characters, when they don’t necessarily have that leadership of Shiro to crutch on. And sometimes, when they’re left to their own devices, I think Pidge, how she would handle something on her own is probably very different from how, you know, Lance or Hunk would handle it. So. it’s always fun to just kind of see the characters more in that way.
Joaquim: I think the other cool thing is that we’ve created a situation with the lions where they’e evolving and bonding with the paladins, and when they’re in these individual situations, it’s safe to say it forms connections that might not have formed had they just been in the normal team formation.
Marc: Right. What I’m really hoping is there maybe something that can replace Rover in this 2nd season. I really miss Rover.
Joaquim: Oh, wow! Rover!
Lauren: I think you may have already seen him in the first episode (of Season 2). But you know what? We’re always open to it. Rover was a very special thing, and I think if we just brought him back, instantly it would negate his sacrifice.
Marc: That’s right.
Lauren: But, we never say never.
Joaquim: Rover will live long in our hearts.
We want to thank Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery for joining us on ToonBarn, and if you’d like to hear this interview, please go to LetsVoltron.com, as it will be available starting on Thursday, January 19th, just in time to catch it before Voltron Legendary Defender – Season 2 comes out this Friday, January 20th, only on Netflix. As promised, our rating of Season 2 is below.
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