It’s been more than a month since the newest season of Voltron Legendary Defender released on Netflix, but fans are still reeling over the show’s biggest twists. In a revealing interview with Inverse, showrunners Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos unpack Voltron Legendary Defender Season 5, revealing everything from the fate of Zarkon, to the motives of his son Prince Lotor, to the bridge that will tether the Voltron Paladins back home to Earth.
Though there has been enough time, we’ll still issue a fair warning: Spoilers for Voltron Legendary Defender Season 5 are ahead.
Is Zarkon Really Dead?
Zarkon is “done-zo,” says Dos Santos.
That’s right. Halfway through Season 5, Voltron Legendary Defender does the unthinkable by killing off Zarkon, the main enemy of Voltron since the beginning, even in the original ‘80s anime. In a twist hardly anyone saw coming, Zarkon’s turncoat son Prince Lotor was the one who delivered the killing stroke, and not the Paladins of Voltron.
Both Dos Santos and Montgomery confirm Zarkon is dead, and won’t come back in some twist. “He’s never coming back. Zarkon’s done-zo,” says Dos Santos.
Montgomery adds: “You never really know and that happens a lot in comic book movies, but we’re gonna take a hard stance this time.”
Since the beginning of Voltron Legendary Defender, both showrunners knews Zarkon would be the primary villain of the first 26 episodes, “What we considered our Season 1,” Montgomery tells Inverse. “And then Lotor was gonna be a large part of our Season 2, the next 26 episodes. We didn’t go into and just boot Zarkon out. It just happened as we went through the story.”
Montgomery adds that killing Zarkon was a surefire way for Lotor, Team Voltron’s former enemy turned “ally,” to earn the heroes’ trust. “It was a great way to have Lotor prove his intentions to the crew,” she says. “Nothing’s gonna say that stronger than taking out their strongest enemy, [who is] his father.”
Speaking of Lotor, the turncoat royal of the Galra Empire is also a lingering question of Season 5.
Can Lotor Really Be Trusted?
Montgomery and Dos Santos say that yes, Lotor can be trusted, but the “fun” of his character is that you never know that for sure. In fact, he may still be working in his own self-interest. Just how do you solve a problem like Lotor? The creators of Voltron say you can’t.
“That’s kind of the fun of the show. He’s a complex character that you never know 100% if he’s legit,” explains Montgomery. “All of his motivations feel real when he says them, and you want to believe them, but you just don’t know if he’s just telling you [what] you want to hear or if this is truly the man he is.”
Dos Santos says there is a “very genuine” place that Lotor speaks from. But as Star Wars proved long ago, the truth mean something else from a certain point of view. “You never know what angle is there, but you know an element of his personality that feels very genuine about what he’s saying.”
That might be most evident in the Season 5 finale, when Lotor and Princess Allura find the spirit of Oriande, also known as the White Lion. Only one of them could have earned this great power to turn the tide of the war, and the showrunners say Lotor is okay with the fact it ended up with Allura.
“He didn’t get jealous or rage out that he didn’t have this,” Dos Santos explains. “He knew there was a prospect that only one of them would have this ability or be granted this gift. It helps bolster him as a character.”
“All he needed was one of them to do this and ultimately they’ll be able to accomplish their goals of uniting the universe,” adds Montgomery.
Was Pidge’s Father Always Going to Survive?
Finally, after five seasons, Voltron wrapped up one of its biggest storylines: Pidge and her family have reunited. But Pidge’s father wasn’t always going to survive. “Like Zarkon, we weren’t sure how that was gonna pan out,” says Montgomery, adding that “it could have gone any other way.”
“He could have been a Robeast, or he died. We didn’t know for sure when we wanted him happy and healthy. But as these stories pan out he ended up being a great bargaining chip for Zarkon,” she says.
Dos Santos says they did think Pidge deserved a happy ending. And anyway, the Voltron Paladins need a tether back to Earth, to set up future stories. “We wanted Pidge to have the true reunion she deserved, and definitely opens that link back to Earth.”
Voltron Legendary Defender Season 5 is streaming now on Netflix.