WonderCon 2016 | Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery Talk ‘Voltron

Voltron is back! The 1980s cartoon, based on the anime, returns to Netflix on June 10th, thanks to Dreamworks Animation. At WonderCon 2016, we got a chance to meet up with producers Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, who told us about making Voltron: Legendary Defender for today’s audiences, while still maintaining what fans love about the original.

Also: Bex Taylor-Klaus on ‘Voltron’ and the Future of ‘Scream’ (Interview)

Crave: Why is now the right time to reboot Voltron?

Joaquim Dos Santos: I think now is the right time because there was a lot of business that was made, acquiring Voltron and many other shows by Dreamworks. I think we are now officially in the time where the majority of kids who grew up with Voltron have kids of their own. We are in a place with a company that is willing to back it, financially, in a way that may not have been available to the franchise before.

Were you guys familiar with the 1980s cartoon, or anime, before you started?

Lauren Montgomery: Yeah, absolutely. Both of them, actually. Joaquim grew up with it in a much stronger way than I did. I was just young enough that I watched it, but I didn’t remember watching it. I would see it later in life and it would look familiar. I had to rediscover it. I would watch it regularly, over and over, throughout my life. When the show came up, I went back and did my research, did a whole refresh. For the first time, I watched GoLion, which I had not watched before. That was a whole other show! That was very interesting. It had a lot of drama that I think was taken out of the American show because it catered to kids. It was crazy.

Joaquim Dos Santos: There were some very serious themes there! I had the toys, I grew up with it. I remember the first time I saw it. I remember playing it on the school yard. All that being said, if you were to ask me to explain the story throughline as a kid, I couldn’t really do it. What I did know was that these five characters piloted these five awesome lions, and it became a robot, and he fought other monsters. For me, as a kid, that’s really all I needed.

Do you feel like the reboot will cater towards adult nostalgia, or is built for kids, with something extra for their parents?

Lauren Montgomery: We tried to make it both, as much as possible. It’s definitely a need that it caters to kids, that we get that new audience and we introduce Voltron to a whole new generation. But we are also trying to make a show that we would want to watch as adults, with storytelling that is just more elevated than it was when we were kids. There wasn’t really a hard target that we were going for; we just want to make the best show we can. We definitely didn’t want to darken up Voltron too much because the Voltron we remember was never that dark. To go that dark with a colorful robot made up of five lions contradicts itself! We just wanted to keep it fun, but give it real stakes.

Joaquim Dos Santos: I think we made a good balance of humor and genuine camaraderie. These guys [the voice actors] doing all the press, they all have such natural camaraderie and I think that comes across in the characters. We wanted to make sure there was a good blend of comedy, action and adventure – fun adventure.

Dreamworks Animation

Rhys Darby was saying that there was a lot of humor in it. Was that a goal, to keep it light and funny?

Joaquim Dos Santos: For sure. Like Lauren was saying, the concept of Voltron, when you think about it, is really a ridiculous concept. So I think there is this aspect where certain characters in this universe we have created are familiar with Voltron, and that is the legend they know. But kids from Earth, if they were wrapped up in an adventure where a big robotic lion came and picked them up and made them the leg of this giant robot, it leaves a lot of opportunity for comedy.

Will there be any “Easter eggs” to the original series?

Lauren Montgomery: For sure. We have tried to keep the new show as reminiscent of the old show as possible.

Joaquim Dos Santos: I think the whole thing is kind of a giant Easter egg.

Lauren Montgomery: We’re not trying to make something that is so completely off that it is unrecognizable. We are such huge fans of the original. The show we want to work on is just a better version of the original.

Joaquim Dos Santos: In that sense, I don’t think we have to “sneak” anything in. We are just doing a reimagining of something we loved as little kids.

Lauren Montgomery: That being said, there are still a couple things we snuck in there.

Like what?

Joaquim Dos Santos: If we were to talk about that, it wouldn’t be so fun to figure out! But they are definitely there.

WonderCon Cosplay Gallery 2016 – Day Three

Top Photo: Dreamworks Animation