Season 3 of Voltron: Legendary Defender raised the stakes exponentially for the paladins of Voltron. But if you’ve not seen the original incarnation of the show, Voltron: Defender of the Universe, you may have missed several references the Netflix version makes to the 1984 series. So, here are some of the best easter eggs in Voltron: Legendary Defender.
“My Name Is Not Shiro”
Fans always appreciate a good character cameo. In Defender of the Universe, Sven is the heavily-accented Paladin of the Blue Lion seen in the first six episodes. In “The Right Arm of Voltron,” Sven saves Lance from Haggar’s attack, getting injured in the process. He returns later in the series, but in a supporting role to Voltron as a rebel fighter against the Drule Empire.
Through the first two seasons of Legendary Defender, Sven appears to be the 1984 counterpart to Shiro, just like the other Paladins. But in “Hole in the Sky,” Sven shocks Team Voltron (and fans) by making a cameo appearance in an alternate reality. He’s a direct nod to the original, with a focus on his rebel fighter side. And in a poignant moment, he even sacrifices himself to save Lance from an enemy attack, just like his predecessor.
A Tale of Two Space Cities
Both series really excelled in creating detailed backgrounds and alien worlds. Defender of the Universe did an especially fine job of this with Voltron’s homeworld, planet Arus. Aside from the Castle of Lions, the neighboring town features ancient architecture and ruins. It casts the image of a war-weary population, one that suffered long before the beginning of the series.
While Legendary Defender features quite a different version of Arus, it still calls back to that little town. In Season 3, Team Voltron liberates the people of planet Puig from the hands of the Galra Empire. Their village looks quite familiar – worn-down buildings, a sense of oppression and history. But there are also symbols of hope and worship scattered about in the form of Voltron carvings on the sides of walls. The town on Arus also had these carvings. It’s the little things like this that really help to pay homage to the original series.
The Cats See All
Another Defender of the Universe character that Legendary Defender pays tribute to is Cova, Haggar’s blue cat. Cova helps Haggar with her magic and other tasks in service of King Zarkon as they try to bring down Voltron. While not a main character, he is a memorable element of Defender, particularly for his blue fur and demonic meows.
In the recent Netflix version, Cova is renamed as “Kova” and gets a more prominent story. He originally belonged to Honerva (who became Haggar later). At some point, Kova fell ill and Honerva treated him with quintessence, which resulted in an extended lifespan. Ten thousand years later, he now belongs to Narti, one of Prince Lotor’s generals. Since she is blind, Kova serves as Narti’s eyes and ears, a strategic advantage in battle. It’s great to see how Legendary Defender can take a character like Cova and reinvent him in an expanded role.
A Hat Fit For Royal Children
While the new Lotor doesn’t have any headwear, the original Lotor sports a unique piece. In Defender of the Universe, the Prince wears a regal-militaristic helmet that gives off an authoritative air and makes him that much more intimidating and creepy. The same helmet makes a cameo in Legendary Defender, only this appearance is much cuter.
In “The Legend Begins,” Zarkon gives a helmet to the baby Princess Allura as a gift. Allura’s helmet has a nice, fresh redesign and has the flavor of the new Galra Empire’s style while still keeping the old helmet’s distinctive shape. It’s an awesome hat tip (pun intended) from one royal child to another.
A Game of Musical Lions
Of course, at the heart of each Voltron franchise is the team itself – the Paladins of the Voltron lions. Defender of the Universe had the same configuration for its team pretty much throughout the entire series. Keith piloted the Black Lion, Lance was in Red, Allura in Blue, Pidge in Green, and Hunk in Yellow. The only difference was when Sven piloted the Blue Lion for the series’ first six episodes.
Things aren’t as easy for the team in Legendary Defender, but the new series still pays its respects to the original team. Due to Shiro’s sudden absence, the Paladins must find a new pilot for the Black Lion so they can form Voltron. Yet instead of finding a new pilot immediately, a trickle-down effect occurs. Keith goes from the Red Lion to the Black Lion, Lance goes from the Blue Lion to Red, and in a surprising moment, Allura takes over Blue. Together, the team now matches its former line-up.
There are plenty of nods sprinkled throughout Voltron: Legendary Defender that call back to the show’s origins, but Season 3 certainly has the most Easter eggs so far. It’s worth watching Defender of the Universe before watching Legendary Defender Season 3 so you can fully appreciate these references and things will make more sense. And perhaps, you’ll catch a few that aren’t on this list.