Operation Kuron has been a hot topic in Voltron: Legendary Defender since its introduction in Season 3 when Shiro reunited with Team Voltron after being a Galra captive and experimental test subject. Once fans found out that “Kuron” means “clone” in Japanese, the theories about Shiro’s authenticity poured in. Season 5 acknowledges some of those theories, yet leaves room for more. With so many different aspects of Operation Kuron developing, let’s break it down and consider what’s next.
The Spy Behind the Eyes
Season 5 first mentions Operation Kuron in “Blood Duel” when Haggar tells her scientists to start Stage 4. Stage 4 allows Haggar to spy on Lotor and Team Voltron through Shiro’s eyes, which, at the end of the season, gives her the coordinates to Oriande. But what’s next?
A theme that came up a lot this season is how Haggar needs a puppet, someone “she can control and manipulate.” Lotor accuses Zarkon of being her puppet, and then Sendak becomes her puppet as a possible new emperor. What if Shiro is next? If Operation Kuron has at Stage 5, its purpose might be to give Haggar physical control over Shiro. With that kind of power, she could have Shiro do anything from tearing Team Voltron apart from the inside to handing over Lotor or Voltron itself.
A small but significant possibility to also keep in mind for Stage 4 is Lotor’s reaction. In Season 4, Lotor killed his own general, Narti, after realizing that Haggar was spying on him through her. If he finds out that she’s doing the same with Shiro, will Lotor kill Shiro on the spot? Or will he go after Haggar to stop the problem at its source? And if he does kill Shiro, imagine how the team will react.
Poison That Yields Results
Another aspect to consider is what Operation Kuron’s ultimate goal is, and for that, we must look at the underlying factor behind all this: quintessence. Quintessence can power both ships and robeasts and extend lifespans. It can also poison minds and turn people evil, as it did with Zarkon and Haggar. From what we’ve seen, Shiro may very well be on the same path.
At the beginning of “The Journey” in Season 3, Shiro is sealed in a chamber of purple quintessence as part of Operation Kuron. This quintessence is the same kind that powered Zarkon’s armor in “Blood Duel” and created the superweapon seen in “Bloodlines.” At the end of Season 1, Haggar told Shiro that he could’ve been the Galra’s “greatest weapon.” With this quintessence, plus all the experiments he’s gone through, he would be.
We may already be seeing some side effects of the transformation. He’s been acting meaner and more dominant around the team, which is what happened to Zarkon when he was poisoned. So if the operation does succeed in making a super weapon, it may be at the cost of everything that makes Shiro good.
A Lost Soul
As for Shiro himself, he’s starting to realize something is amiss. In a pivotal scene in Season 5’s “Postmortem,” the team taps into Voltron’s energy and they end up in a mindscape realm. It takes Shiro a while to appear, but once he does, his face is dark and he calls out to Lance, saying, “Listen to me.” He later tells Lance he can’t remember what happened, then confesses that he doesn’t feel like himself.
Aside from Operation Kuron’s name, Shiro’s confession is the strongest evidence we have for him being a clone. It’s also possible that while in the mindscape, the real Shiro’s spirit — trapped since the team last fought Zarkon — was trying to warn Lance of his situation. This makes more sense when the clone says he can’t remember what happened. So if this is the case, will the team be able to rescue the real Shiro and put an end to Kuron?
The most important thing going forward with Operation Kuron is to stay wary. Season 5 brought some ominous developments, and it’s bound to only get spookier from here. Yet one way or another, we’ll find the truth about Shiro. We’ll never stop.