Voltron Partners Not Responsible for Failures in Gay Inclusion; Sources Dispute Claim From DreamWorks Staff

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DreamWorks, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Lauren Montgomery, after claiming to make content “as inclusive as possible,” failed to follow basic best practices on handling diverse characters respectfully, ignored clear warnings that their depictions were harmful, and attempted to blame external partners to hide their studio’s mistakes.

“Each and every one of [the staff of the show] has been a champion of inclusivity and acceptance…”
—Joaquim Dos Santos, Voltron Executive Producer

With a 5% audience score for the last season on Rotten Tomatoes and countless messages on social media from upset fans, no one can deny that DreamWorks’ Voltron failed its audience. The animated show about giant robots, which was directly marketed to LGBT individuals with rainbows on its Netflix title cards and a cast and crew that spoke constantly about the value of diversity, delivered a marginalizing ending that left queer fans hurt, angered, and confused. Since then, many people have been asking, “What happened?” How did a show with so much promise fail so spectacularly?

Despite claiming the show’s staff were “champions of inclusivity and acceptance,” and having multiple resources within the studio to tell an inclusive story, showrunners Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery failed to follow even the most basic best practices for depicting minorities during their tenure at DreamWorks. At the same time, the studio ignored warnings from LGBT individuals that Voltron’s story, one that the Dos Santos would later declare was “an animated olive branch” to the queer community, would have a profoundly negative impact on real people in the queer community.

After seeing the negative reactions, the showrunners attempted to shift blame onto the intellectual property holder, World Events Productions (WEP), by claiming they were hamstrung in telling diverse stories by the show’s status as a licensed property. However, GeekDad has confirmed that the showrunners’ claim that the license holder put up roadblocks to depicting queer characters is utterly false. Voltron’s diversity problems are the fault of DreamWorks management and the showrunners themselves.  

So what happened?

Gay fans have spoken on how the ending of Voltron sent a clear hurtful message: you could be gay, or be a hero, but not both. As we discussed in our previous article, Shiro (the sole gay hero) was, before the final season, a complete character, one defined by more than just their queerness. Shiro is significant not in that’s he’s just gay, but that he’s a hero. He’s a main character in an action show. He’s respected and admired by his peers. He faces significant adversity throughout the show (as queer people often do), but he survives and triumphs over it. That narrative of overcoming obstacles, of earning respect and becoming a leader, a hero, is so important—before the final season, we have a glimpse of what it looks like to see a queer man succeeding.  

In the last season, after being revealed as gay, Shiro’s friendships, dreams, and career are all sidelined. His role in the story, despite being a leading character for the previous seasons, is greatly diminished. His friends barely interact with him. Though we see him find fulfillment in his job as leader for eight seasons, we’re told (though not shown) he “finally finds happiness,” by abruptly retiring in his late twenties, abandoning the admiralship we saw made him happy, and marrying a guy he’s never spoken with in a five-second epilogue.

The loss of the sole gay male hero in western animation was a devastating blow for queer fans. After waiting decades to see themselves represented by a hero who was more than just a gay person, queer fans saw their hero tokenized and taken from them in the final seconds of the show. Further, the gay wedding to a random character, after the showrunners had repeatedly claimed that any relationship would be developed over several seasons, dripped with insincerity. While straight relationships were, as promised, developed over time, the showrunners haphazardly threw a gay one in at the last minute for points, as though they were far more interested in getting the credit for a gay wedding than actually writing respectful (but potentially less flashy) stories about queer people.

But how was this allowed? DreamWorks had diversity consultants that existed to prevent this kind of hurtful depiction, and the studio acknowledged they had multiple gay writers on staff for other shows, any of whom could have easily been called in to consult.

The answer, unfortunately, appears to be simple arrogance. DreamWorks does not mandate that showrunners use the resources available to them, nor provides oversight at the studio level to ensure diverse content is handled respectfully (something they acknowledged in our interview with She-Ra executive producer Noelle Stevenson).

The showrunners did not seek review on the first animated gay male wedding from a single gay person. A source familiar with the events confirmed to GeekDad that the two straight showrunners wrote the the ending without involving the people they claimed to represent, or their own diversity consultant, in the process. Ultimately, when Dos Santos and Montgomery set off to depict the first gay male wedding in western animation, they chased their own ephemeral idea of “what’s good for gay people,” instead of actually speaking to gay people.

“We are honored to have been embraced so tightly by the fandom, more specifically the LGBTQ segment of the fandom.”
Joaquim Dos Santos, Voltron Executive Producer

While there were gay writers on other shows at DreamWorks, the source confirmed they weren’t consulted. Additionally, GeekDad would like to stress that simply having queer staff within the company doesn’t lessen the problem of showrunners failing to use readily-available resources. Expecting non-show staff to step up and offer feedback for issues in representation, especially when it’s outside their core role, means asking them to give unsolicited criticism on behalf of their entire group (and create more work for the studio, potentially harming their career for failing to be a team player). The entire purpose of having dedicated diversity consultants is to avoid asking any individual at a company to speak on behalf of their group at risk to their career.

Leaked image of Voltron’s Ending, from translation firm BTI Studios

Despite their failure to do basic review, DreamWorks was given a clear opportunity to correct their mistake. In late October, several days after the showrunners reported they had completed work on Voltron, but still months before the final season would air, screenshots of the ending leaked from BTI Studios, one of the localization firms DreamWorks hired to translate the final season. The leaks, shown above, depicted Shiro marrying a parody character resembling Roy Falkner from Macross (another animated show about giant robots, and one the showrunners are known fans of).

Fan reaction was swift and intensely critical, and fans reached out to DreamWorks, as well as Montgomery and Dos Santos, to discuss how destructive this ending would be. While at this point the studio’s options would have been limited given the show was technically complete, they could have trivially cut the hurtful epilogue, or they could have modified the text underneath the still of the wedding to prevent the gay hero from retiring, potentially softening the blow.

However, DreamWorks remained confident in their vision of gay representation, and despite the feedback from the leaks that the epilogue, that a sudden sloppy wedding, that the retirement of the sole queer hero, would be injurious to the queer community, the studio and its staff again prioritized their own idea of “what’s good for gays” over the opinions of the real gay fans who reached out to them.

The show’s final season aired on December 15, 2018. Unsurprisingly, queer fans hated it—the show, which had been explicitly marketed to LGBT consumers, quickly saw its approval rating tumble into single digits on Rotten Tomatoes. Many queer fans expressed confusion and hurt on Twitter. One fan would later recount to me, “The ending of Voltron, specifically season 8’s ending, left me feeling empty. There was an intrinsic thought that enveloped me, reminding me that no matter what, people like me don’t get their stories to be told.” This sentiment of hurt and exclusion, that Voltron wasn’t for everyone, was echoed again and again on social media.

Dos Santos and Montgomery were silent, and would not give an interview for the next three months. DreamWorks refused interview requests, and did not release a comment, but instead released a small clip on Twitter entitled “our heroes” that showed every major character except Shiro, they gay one they stripped of his hero status. Afterwards, they posted the entire epilogue to their social media in a tactless attempt to advertise the gay wedding, further antagonizing queer fans.

In stark contrast, fans on Twitter reported that Bob Koplar, the president of World Events Productions and Voltron’s IP owner, was reaching out to individual fans, returning calls to his office to personally apologize to people that were upset or felt lesser at the end of Voltron.

Many fans steadfastly refused to believe the wedding was the product of Dos Santos and Montgomery, who had made repeated prior statements that romances would be developed over time, and that the Shiro’s queerness would not become his only defining trait. More than thirty thousand fans signed a Change.org petition asking for DreamWorks to release the ending that the showrunners wanted, believing the released epilogue must have been a result of DreamWorks changing the planned ending by the showrunners.

It hurts so much to have gay marriage weaponized against us this way. It hurts so much to see straight fans tell us to shut up and be grateful for the wedding when it was done for the wrong reasons, all because they don’t understand why it hurts and don’t care enough to listen.
—C. Smith, queer critic on Twitter.

When they finally emerged months later, Dos Santos and Montgomery explained on AfterBuzz TV (a YouTube talk show) and on Let’s Voltron (the official Voltron podcast) that they had wanted to tell a more inclusive story, one that involved Shiro potentially reconnecting with his former boyfriend Adam. The showrunners claimed that, because they “didn’t have the position of being the creators of the IP” and because Voltron wasn’t “creator-owned,” (claims they made on AfterBuzz and Let’s Voltron respectively), they were unable to add in the fact that Shiro was gay until very late in production, after they already planned to kill off Shiro’s ex, Adam.

Confusingly, they also stated in multiple interviews they were given complete freedom to craft the epilogue as they saw fit. By their own admission, nothing was impeding them from writing a respectful conclusion in the epilogue, only that they could not pair Shiro with his (now dead) ex.

Dos Santos also made the misleading claim on AfterBuzz that they only had a day to make decisions about the epilogue. While the initial concept for what to depict in the epilogue may have been determined rapidly, production would not complete for at least six to eight weeks (as we know from the timestamps on the leaked animation and their own tweets about the show’s status). During this time a review could have been conducted in parallel, and they could have course-corrected by making changes to the animation storyboards, altering the text, or cutting the epilogue entirely.

The showrunners’ repeated claim that not owning Voltron is what caused issues with queer representation seemed to implicate WEP, Voltron’s IP holder. This is especially true when the claims are paired with a comment from Ty Labine, one of the voice actors on the show, who claimed that “keepers of the lore” had “kept the gates shut” regarding representation.

GeekDad’s source close to DreamWorks and WEP refuted this, and was able to confirm the IP holder was not responsible for blocking the introduction of queer characters.

Further muddying the waters, Dos Santos frequently contradicted himself in interviews. On the same episode of AfterBuzz where he claimed the issue of external ownership was part of the problem, he later stated, “To DreamWorks’ credit, the tide started changing internally… [they were] open to exploring this relationship between Adam and Shiro,” implicating DreamWorks as the party blocking queer characters.

Dos Santos also contradicted himself on Let’s Voltron. He stated that as She-Ra, helmed by the queer Noelle Stevenson, was in development at DreamWorks, attitudes within the studio began to shift, opening the door for them to have a gay hero. However, She-Ra was several months from release when Dos Santos and Montgomery got the green light from DreamWorks to say that Shiro was gay. The statement that a series in production changed minds at DreamWorks, and, by changing minds at DreamWorks, opened the door to representation seems to further confirm that forces within DreamWorks, not external partners, were blocking the introduction of queer characters. The issues in introducing a queer character were caused by DreamWorks, not external parties.

Though it is difficult to pin down exact statements since their answers constantly change (mid-interview in some cases), we can say that Dos Santos and Montgomery, as well as some voice actors, attempted to shift part of the blame onto the IP holder. In reality, the issues have always been with DreamWorks’ studio management, or with the showrunners themselves.

Unfortunately, Dos Santos and Montgomery still do not appear to understand the extent of the injury they caused. In their interview with AfterBuzz, when asked directly about Shiro’s abrupt retirement, they simply responded, “We saw it as ‘dude had been through a lot’,” but didn’t acknowledge the criticism from so many queer fans. Nor, when discussing the epilogue, did they acknowledge that they didn’t speak to a single gay person about the epilogue. Nor did they pledge to do better by involving more diverse voices in their creative process in the future. They even claimed to the AfterBuzz interviewers “we did the right thing,” despite the overwhelming evidence they did not.

As media consumers, if we’re going to claim a show is actually groundbreaking, the staff should do more than simply tell us they care about diversity. Regardless of intent, the fact that Dos Santos and Montgomery failed to follow even the most basic steps to ensure that the first gay male wedding in western animation was actually positive for gay men, and the fact that they, and their studio, ignored clear warnings, demonstrates an utterly broken content review process at DreamWorks, and a system in which executive producers and show staff are permitted to skirt responsibility for their failures by shifting blame onto external parties.

DreamWorks and representatives for Dos Santos did not respond to our request for comment. We were unable to reach representatives for Montgomery. Additionally, in retaliation for this article, author Sean Z’s interview with DreamWorks’ Executive Producer Brenden Hay was delayed indefinitely.

Sean Z would like to thank GeekDad Editor-at-Large Ken Denmead and core contributor Jules Sherred for their support on this piece, as well as the sources who shared this information with us.

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73 thoughts on “Voltron Partners Not Responsible for Failures in Gay Inclusion; Sources Dispute Claim From DreamWorks Staff

  1. Very interesting read. Definitely gives a lot to think about. The entire situation is confusing.

  2. Sean, I wanted to thank you so much for this. I always knew what we got was what they had in mind and not something edited by third parties. If one analyses the entirity of seasons 7 and 8 you see some important things: Shiro had “fulfilled” his role as getting Keith to become Voltron’s true leader. So after that, he’s left behing, especially after he’s revealed as a gay man. He becomes the “boring” character they always said he was, when they actually made him boring after he was done “being useful” to the story. I mean, in the Afterbuzz show they confessed to not have a bible for the series, which is clearly shown in how Shiro (who has relied on his Galra arm and self combat throughout the series due the lack of his bayard) suddenly would rely on a gun (of all things) in season 8 to fight others. His epilogue showed that same unawareness of the character they had created, they forget all what made him Shiro (his drive to success and to go beyond, his passion for the space, his love for the voltron team, even his ptsd) to fit a narrative they believed would be good enough to be seen as progressive story writers. No, they did a big disservice to all of us for thinking they can speak for us. And furthermore, as you have already pointed, they had numerous opportunities to change this and yet didn’t. Their egos and their hate for Voltron (yes, HATE), made them blind to all criticism.

    And I think hate and resignation were involved in this because a certain part of the fandom tried to push their own narrative (kl shippers) and harassed them and the staff constantly. In afterbuzz they mentioned they wanted at one point to resign from directing Voltron and I think it has to do a lot with it. Considering the death of Adam, I think they opted to hear the loud voices instead of hearing the voices of people who know about the issue. It’s like listening to Trump because he yells, instead of listening to academics who know far better than he does. That’s what they did, they didn’t care enough to research, to hear others’ point of view and to try to understand how their story had evolved. They were too enclosed in their hurt egos to realize what the epilogue was going to do was far worse than the outcome of Season 7, which is also why they didn’t hear us when the leaks situation happened, they hated Voltron and didn’t care anymore.

    All of this explains as well why, to this day, they have failed to offer a TRUE apology for what they did. They keep shifting blames and (this still hurts me) say “maybe someone else in the future will fix up what we did”. NO. It’s YOUR responsibility to fix YOUR mistakes, not somebody else’s. That shows immaturity on another level, to tell the audience “well, if you want this fixed do it yourselves”. Guess what? We already do through transformative works, but what you did to the canon source is still unacceptable. And you need to repent for that, else, the trust with your audience WILL NEVER be rebuilt.

    The loss of Shiro is one that still hurts me, months after the end of the show. Shiro is my favorite character and I really felt identified with him. I’m a bisexual woman and to see Shiro being a great leader and the best version of himself, without a care of his sexual orientation, was completely refreshing and amazing to me. I loved that he could success, joke, have friends and be accepted and trusted by everyone no matter what he liked in bed. The normalization of his queerness was something tremendously beautiful to me because that’s what we need in our world, to normalize queerness, not to exacerbate it. And then S7, S8 and the wedding came and destroyed all of that. Because now it didn’t matter that Shiro was his own person, now his value was completely rooted on his sexual orientation and how he could be exploited for that. It hurt so much to see that it doesn’t matter who you are as a person, if you’re queer, that’s the crucial thing and your value comes from how your queerness can benefit us or not. I felt so used and so betrayed, especially as you mentioned before, because they kept telling all of us, their audience, that they wouldn’t rush any kind of romance on the last minute. They lied to us, they threw away our faith and support. It’s plain arrogance as you say, they only cared for themselves and the story they wanted to tell, not the story that was being told. After Voltron, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch western media again. I’d rather stick to eastern media like anime in which I can’t interact with the authors because of a language barrier. At least I will never feel this betrayed again, I guess.

    I think the disregard to Shiro as an interesting character can also be shown by the way they insisted on wanting to explore the possibility of him and Adam reuniting. That wasn’t in the original plans and for all we’ve seen of Shiro through the story, we get a feeling of understanding that he has possibly gotten over him. The reasons they broke up were very legitimate, and to undo all the character he (and Adam as well) have gone through since their separation is disrespectful. Shiro went to Kerberos as much as it saddened him to break up with Adam because that’s what he was most passionate about and what he wanted to do before his death. After all that happens with team Voltron, I’m sure he would have never regretted doing it in first place. Maybe Adam could have changed and understand his point of view later on, but Shiro has already grown up and met so many differente people. Why must gay people only be fated to one person in their life? Why don’t we get to also have decent relationships that sometimes end? Why must we come back to the same person? Is it because there are no other gays available? If not, then why don’t you have more queer characters in your story? All of this angered me so much. It apparently was either Adam or Extra #2, never Shiro staying alone and working on himself and/or somebody else. It always comes back to his sexuality instead of him as an independent person.

    JDS saying: “We saw it as ‘dude had been through a lot’” is bs as well. Shiro had earned resilience from everything he’s gone through and resilience allows people to keep with their lives after all the trauma they’ve had gone through. Shiro was through a lot after being a Galra slave and yet he still went ahead and became the leader of Voltron. Shiro went through death itself and still came back to become the Admiral of the Atlas. He’s gone through a lot and yet he still persevered. So why did you take all of that away from him? That’s not how life works at all. To also reinforce the idea of marriage as a happy ending is incredibly toxic, and I speak of this as the daughter of divorced parents. Marriage shouldn’t be an ideal. Sure, marriage is nice and I love happy endings and to consume media that has happy marriages, but the way this was portrayed, as an ultimate goal in life and that there’s nothing else after it unnerves me.

    Finally leaving Shiro alone, I would like to talk of another thing what won’t ever stop angering me. That’s when JDS said that all this bad reaction shifted the focus of the new mecha. As a fan of mechas, who has grown up on the Gundam franchise, I LOVE MECHAS. But the thing with mechas and fusions is that they are amazing when they have something new to bring to the table (an example of that that comes to my mind is when Gundam Nadleeh made its appearance in Gundam 00 first season); whereas the fusion of the Atlas and Voltron didn’t do any of that. The only thing they used it for was to make Shiro “a part of the team again” when he never stopped being a part of the team in my eyes. That shows he wasn’t in JDS and LM eyes anymore. And in the end, even with the fusion, they still lose to Honerva, so what was the point of this big mecha if even that isn’t going to help the heroes win? And doesn’t bring anything new at all, other than being bigger. A waste of resources to try to patch up their awful storytelling, honestly.

    Now, to end this too big review, I want to say that JDS has always said he wanted to accomplish what Captain America 2 did. And in a way he did, but not as that movie, but as the MCU in general with Endgame’s release. He threw away all the hard work he put on a character to force him on the ending he particularly favored, instead of understanding the story had grown from its original conception. Writers must understand that the story changes from the moment they’re created, and to not acknowledge that it’s a disservice to the characters and the story’s audience. To kill a story because of your own ego as a writer is what differentiates between people who make art and people who are on a paycheck.

    Thank you again, so, so much for this article. Even if I’ll never know peace after what Voltron did to me and to all of us, at least I can rest assured knowing it was them all this time as I had suspected. Thank you.

    (Sorry if there are mistakes, english isn’t my first language!)

    1. This in no way excuses what happened, but I understand that Shiro’s story was supposed to be one similar to the original series. In the original Voltron (and Go-Lion before it), Shiro/Sven dies a few episodes into the series. The original plan, according to some interview from a few years ago, was to keep Shiro around for longer than that but then still have him die in order to hand off the reigns to Keith. However, due to the popularity of Shiro and the related toy sales, it was decided by Dreamworks to keep him around. From there, the plans with Shiro and Keith were pretty much thrown in the air – explaining why Shiro flounders around for a while as the leader and Keith up and leaves for a time.

      Again, no excuse for what happened. When they finally decided that Shiro would be revealed as a gay man, it’s clear they didn’t have much of a plan in place. It was seemingly done in a cynical fashion, just to say, “Hey, we’ve got a gay character.” They clearly could have done better.

    2. A great reply ? I am mostly over it by now, but the hurtful way they handled Shiros character arc – and Allura, and Lance – totally crushed me. It was a horrible experience to be told there is these awesome relateable characters which are also minorities, then see them only get tortured and broken down piece by piece until there’s nothing left. Everything about it was hurtful to the people who related to these characters in one way or another.

      Also I were annoyed at KL shippers like most while it aired, but as s8 approached and I saw interviews with Dos Santos and Montgomery dissmissing these people I gained some sort of protective-older-brother relationship. I were there at the very start of the fandom, and KL had a MAJOR impact on this show getting any recognition. The first pictures that got out there and popular was by a storyboarder for the show and they were indeed Keith and Lance. No matter what you shipped, if not yourself then the people who introduced you to this show were likely introduced by these art pieces. How crazy large this ship got gave them several magazines talking about them, and they milked it for all they were worth. I get not putting the ship in the show but dismissing the impact it had on the shows popularity is disrespectful to fandoms and the great power they hold as a whole.

      1. kl shippers RUINED the fandom. they harassed and lied about other ships just to make themselves look better. don’t lionize them. of course there were innocent kl shippers but as a whole, they were a humongous force and their impact on the rest of the fandom was NOT positive. they acted like the owned the fandom and the show by putting on a fake social justice front, and it made everyone else miserable.

        i’d say that harassing the crew and voice actors for years on end, putting people on blacklists so their friends could harass them and send anon hate, and lying about how anyone who didn’t agree with them was a predator or abuser, isn’t something you should be looking at with rose-tinted glasses. there were good kl shippers but the fandom as a whole was a humongous mess of delusional cyberbullying.

  3. a strange and sad ending for voltron and for shiro. I hope that the feedback is listened to and changes at dreamworks are made.

  4. Thank you for bringing light into this confusing situation. People are still very hurt by all this. I do hope DW, Lauren and Dos are going to read this. I hope they will understand and that corrections will be made. To say that we hope that in the future they will do better and learn from this is not enough to me. Voltron Legendary Defender is too important for a lot of people and this also creates a precedents that opens doors for other show to do the same. VLD used to be the example of what good you could do as a representation for LGBTQ fans and other minorities and took a nose dive as soon as Shiro was revealed to be gay in season 7 episode 1, worse of all through season 8 and especially the episode. I hope with all my life and heart that they will at least remove and delete the epilogue. That they will learn from their mistake and fix it. This is what needs to be done. People are still hurt and consequences are still happening as we speak because of this mess (depression, hurt and worse). Shiro was our first real representation in the animation industry and the best we could ever hope to have. If they were to marry him, they should have done so with a character that made sense. I do think that killing Adam was the right call as to me he was there to show us Shiro being gay and show that things not always work like we hoped to, that it is ok to move on and that war do kill people that we love sometimes. So he could have been married to a character we knew, one that he interacted with through the seasons, a character that had development and caring between them. A lot of hints were given through the show, but moreover by the staff AND lauren and Dos about what the outcome was going to be in terms of gay pairing in the show. It was heavily implied, but never confirmed because they didn’t want to spoil anything before getting there they told us, which totally made sense. But in the end, it turned out to be a lot of baiting to give people hope and a very hurtful maneuver that almost felt like vengeance to tell us that our hope were misplaced and ‘gross’. All smoke and mirrors that they could easily hide behind and tell us that no they never confirmed such a pairing would happen. That is true, but heavily implying something is still saying and promising it. If they were not to give what they were implying, then better to have done an open ending, leave the fans decide how it ends on their own. This would have been a more acceptable options and frankly that is what most of us were prepared for, because although we hoped they would have the courage to follow with their words and promises, we knew that maybe they wouldn’t be allowed to (or something like that) and make something more subtle and suggested that people not happy with the outcome could easily ignore if they wanted to. The season in itself, the fact that Shiro is removed from the black lion after fighting so hard for it, that he’s ostracized entirely from his friends and even from being on the screen gave a message that felt a lot like homophobia to the fans and to the kids watching the show. This is not something we will recover easily, if ever in some cases. This is reminiscent of a lot of our daily life as a gay person, which hurts even more after all those great promises and hope given. This felt like a trap to get us to stick around. VLD is an amazing show from season 1 to 6, but to me the show died when Shiro was revealed to be gay (an amazing revealed that made me so happy) but every characters, storyline and especially everything around this main character fell downhill from there.

  5. Voltron was incredible. I had mad respect for Shiro at the end of the series.

    This was … A cartoon about a giant robot from outer space. Why can’t we just appreciate it for the amazing piece of imagination it was?

      1. It’s 2019, everything has to be read into and agendas seen where they’re not needed or welcome. Entertainment for entertainment’s sake is dead, gotta fill those quotas and get woke…sigh.

        1. Forgot we’re supposed to only have white, straight, male media for entertainment. How dare, etc.

        2. Dude that never existed. Ever. Entertainment for entertainment’s sake has either been a vehicle for selling some product or telling everyone what status quo was for someone else’s benefit.

          1. To think that Star Trek had the first interracial kiss on American television 1968 and people are acting like fiction pushing for representation is a novelty

        3. Very rarely is there entertainment for entertainment’s sake. That presupposes that everything was created in a vacuum, neither commenting on anything nor influenced in creation by anything. There’s always an agenda. The thing is, whenever someone points out negatively that there is an agenda, it really means, “not my agenda.”

          1. Sigh.

            There’s telling an engaging story and then there’s simply pushing an ideology. Well written stories can get a person to think and see the world in a different way without telling them what to think. ST’s interracial kiss is a great example of this. But this thinking that everything needs a quota for ‘my group’ is just asinine. Each time someone pushes for it they’re forgetting all the other groups who aren’t represented in some way and are okay with that. Yes, ‘but this is tackling one group now…’ I get it, however pushing your group over others is certainly agendist. Also, I don’t have an agenda other than ‘entertain me’ so that observation’s moot. And I love that someone else invoked the bugbear of the SWM already. Kinda reinforces my point of agendas. Oh well, I’m out. I forget it’s the internet and trying to have a conversation is next to impossible. And, no, not just because you think it’s not ‘what I want to hear.’

          2. Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind or don’t want any back and forth. (Comments on blog articles aren’t the best for responses, especially since the updates can’t be provided for specific comment threads, but I try.)

            “Well written stories can get a person to think and see the world in a different way without telling them what to think.”

            You’re right. Well written stories can make a statement without being explicit. The interracial kiss you mentioned was definitely an agenda item, and it was presented in a manner that was more implicit than explicit. So great example, and I agree.

            “however pushing your group over others is certainly agendist”

            The supposed absence of an agenda is “agendist” as well. A purposeful lack of transgression, I suppose we could call it, is itself an agenda supportive of the status quo. It implies that things are fine.

            Of course, it’s curious to say that bringing to light one group over other groups is agendist. That means in order to not be agendist all groups and all issues need to be tackled at once, which is an impossible task that cannot be accomplished. No one reasonably asks for that. It’s a suggestion that leads to flattening it all out to…not attempting anything. Again, we end up with the status quo. According to the groups who believe that there needs to be greater representation and issues need to be tackled, that is viewed as something that really only looks at one group. The group that benefits most from the status quo.

            “Also, I don’t have an agenda other than ‘entertain me’ so that observation’s moot.”

            A more on-topic question: How did Voltron do in terms of entertaining you? You haven’t said anything about the series, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. So the remake of a remake is an “amazing piece of imagination”?

      Your expectations are so low that it’s no wonder you think it was incredible

    2. Because queer people are vastly under represented, so when they show up, it *REALLY* matters how they are treated.

  6. Thank you for such a respectful and fact-filled report. The condemnation of those involved in failing the community is appreciated, but the fact that it’s not hateful and embittered (as I certainly am) is refreshing, haha. I am deeply hurt by the fact that two straight people used us for points but didnt even think to use us as a resource. It’s like we’re trinkets. It’s heartbreaking. But to know for sure is a bit of a balm. Once again I am disappointed but not surprised, but this is a wonderful article. Thank you for the time and work that went into it.

  7. I appreciate this article, and especially bringing up the non stop contradictions by the executive staff, but I’m confused why you completely left out Zethrid and Ezor for rep inclusion?

    1. Sure says a lot that in spite of them being the one actual undeniable example of the showrunners sweeping the more unsightly parts of their narrative under the rug as well as being directly responsible for what originally would’ve been incredibly hurtful and poorly handled wlw rep they still weren’t considered worth including for once, doesn’t it 🙂 But then again they never are, so why start now?

  8. Nobody abruptly retired. He “left the battle behind” because they WON THE WAR, what battles do you want him fighting? What is this common expectation from Shiro fans that he just be battling constantly and never get a moment’s peace to do exploration or research, the things we also see him genuinely interested in when it comes to space? Is he supposed to go…pick fights? I guess? Since the war’s over? Just start a new one?

    1. the problem with the line is that he literally starts the show as a pilot for the Galaxy Garrison. his literal job, since the start of the show, is to explore space and protect Earth. he never, at any point, says that he wants to do anything else.

      then, at the ripe, ancient age of 27, after becoming Earth’s highest ranking officer and literally mind-melding with Atlas, he just… quits.

      and then dies. because in-show, he’s never cured of his terminal disease. so no, your hollow attempts at defending JDS/LM are worthless.

      1. If you read “leave the battle behind” as “quit his job” that’s your problem, my dude. If you think the only way he can be useful, or active, or anything but I guess dead, is to be in battle, that’s entirely on you.

    2. The think is the war was over for everyone, but Shiro was the only one that “left the battle behind”

      So how is that everyone is left with new beginnings, except Shiro that gets an end?

      1. I don’t know, could it be because his arc was largely about the aftermath of being abducted, tortured, and had part of his body turned into a literal weapon, and when a character arc is about being a tool of war “doesn’t have to fight anymore” is a pretty common end goal?

        And he got a new beginning. That’s what weddings are, in fiction, extremely obvious symbolism for something new beginning. The only more obvious choice would have been him holding a baby in his epilogue card.

        1. The war was over. It made no sense to point this out in Shiro’s epilogue when we seen that the battle was over and won and there was nothin else for them to be fighting. Why didn’t anybody else leave the battle behind? Why was Shiro the only one who left the battle behind? Is there still a battle going on, and are the other Paladins fighting it?

          And by you’re logic of new beginnings, shouldn’t everyone have gotten married. Or is everyone still stuck in a battle

    3. The problem is the context itself. His epilogue card say that he ‘left the battle behind’, but it’s been YEARS since the actual war, so what battle is he fighting in? Afterbuzz interview has also confirmed that the epilogue happen years after the final battle–they literally said it as a response for Shiro’s epilogue question. Which means that in these gap that they aren’t showing, Shiro is still ‘doing something’. Presumably continue being the Admiral of Atlas and helping the universe to recover from the battle. You know, helping people, exploring space, all that jazz–the thing he literally do before he got caught up in an intergalactic war.

      Which means that in THIS context, ‘left the battle’ is an indirect way of saying that he stopped doing all that. Because see, the word ‘battle’ doesn’t always equal to ‘war’. And the whole sentence: ‘Shiro found his happiness and left the battle behind’–insinuates that he just retired to be, what, a househusband? I can’t express just how wrong that sound to me. Shiro, the dude who literally left his FIANCE behind to go to the moon, finally find his ‘true happiness’ by dating a guy and marrying him. In his presumably late twenties or maybe early thirties. An age where you’re usually referred to as being ADULT, a group of age where people usually just start getting comfortable with this stage of life. Not…. the typical age where people usually planned a retirement.

      Maybe it’s just a matter of individual impression of the epilogue, but the way they worded it completely disregard Shiro’s core character throughout the series, and I think that’s what really upset people.

  9. I’m surprisingly not surprised. However, I’m going to say this but it breaks my heart to. I don’t think the originally intended Shiro to be gay. I think they lied. I think they made him gain the last minute to score cool points and for PR stunts. The showrunners just wanted to make a character that they thought was going to be expendable and left on the Wayside by season 2, as they’re token gay guy. That way, it’d be an easy out for them in writing a character and seemingly be edgy. They didn’t want to make any other character gay, not even Pidge, even though that could have clearly have been a good representative too, because she was a Mainstay of the story and I think that Laura Montgomery didn’t want to have her favorite character to be gay. It hurts to say this but the way they wrote that story, really gives a strong hint of that. You could see who their favorite was and you could see who they were throwing away on the Wayside once they were done with him. It breaks my heart they did this. I admired them so much. They still make me cry

  10. Legit, what?

    I do not understand just WHAT this article ACTUALLY IS talking about. Have they even SEEN the whole Voltron series?!

    Shiro in the beginning was the main character we were trying to get info upon. We knew nothing about him, how his arm came into play, and just why Keith had a bond with that man. We got to find out later on that he is apparently a ‘clone’ of millions within the series.
    Shiro went through some extremely, huge hardships, and piloted the Black Lion, THE MAIN LION, twice!! First time, because he had a natural instinct only then to disappear, second time because Keith forced Shiro into becoming the leader again.

    We finally got the info we needed on Shiro after he returned to the paladins, and the “retiring around his 20’s” thing, boy. Legit a HUGE shake my head. He was twenty when he went into space, returning to earth he missed a year or so, now if we add that he is well, maybe in the 20-24 age group. Continue on about traveling the WHOLE UNIVERSE and so on, before he vanished. We can assume for earth years, he might as well be considered in the age range of 24-30’s. NOW, when Shiro dissapeared, he was within the Black Lion soul wise. Before I continue, remember, SHIRO WAS CLONED AT AN EARLY AGE OF 20. After they found Shiro, maybe add 2ish more earth years or less, around 30-32? Take that whole season of finding Shiro’s soul in the Black Lion, adding to his age now, he would be well over his 60’s with how much grey hair he has. Legit, there was logic in the ENTIRE Voltron series. Not many people pay attention to that detail.

    NOW, explain to me HOW this man is seen as a hero and gay, but can’t be both?! This man saved the universe with every other paladin around him. He risked his own life to try and save those around him, HE EVEN GAVE UP HIS LIFE ONCE TO SAVE PEOPLE. How does this mean he isn’t a hero?!

    We got to know and understand Shiro as the season of Voltron was coming to an end, we finally understood him and now focused upon new targets of the series. Legit, they focused on even background characters as well. WHAT OTHER PLATFORM FOCUSES ON THAT?!

    Do the research, and watch the series. Then collect the data and post.

    1. there’s literally a bunch of things I want to refute, but you insinuating that shiro already hit the sixties totally caught me off guard. lmao and now i forget what i want to say

    2. I am physically CRINGING at your response to this article, honestly. Here’s some stuff you got wrong.

      Shiro is at most in his mid-to-late twenties. In season 1, he’s 25. In season six, he’s 26. There is no way he is in his thirties unless more mumbo-jumbo time-skip shit were to happen. He’s not 60 because of the grey hair. His hair is grey because of QUINTESSENCE EXPOSURE. How do you think he got the white forelock??

      And in regards to “he can’t be seen as both a hero and a gay man”, that’s responding to the logic that is used in sidelining his relationships with all of the paladins, and turning him into a cardboard cut-out of a captain, while tokenising him as the gay rep. Also, Keith didn’t force Shiro into being the leader again???

      “Do the research, and watch the series. Then collect the data and post.”
      That’s incredibly ironic considering it looks like you didn’t do at least 2 of those things.

    3. Bro. You really said all of this? I’m embarrassed for you, fam.

      Looks like we found the internalized homophobe!

  11. Loved shiro, hated season 8. I think they let us all down as fans with that season, and the low audiene score attests to that. I am not gay so shiro being gay wasn’t important to me personally, but I loved him, and tgat ending, in fact all he did in season 8,just did not sit right with me at all. I feel for anyone deeply invested in his arc.

    1. I disliked Shiro’s epilogue, but I enjoyed season 8. What was it about season 8 that fell short for you?

  12. While a great read (forgot to mention how Shiro is easily the kost tortured character in the series, to a point that reaches torture porn. wow, they gay man is exploited for gay torture and pain porn, how progressive! /s), the constant use of the q slur made me skim through a lot of it because it started making me uncomfortable.

    1. Do you also take this argument to universities that have Queer Studies departments?

      Practically every word the LGBTQ+ community has has been used as a slur. “Homosexual” was originally a medical diagnosis. About ten years ago there was a *huge* social media campaign to get people to stop saying “gay” when they meant “bad.” And yet when it comes to the word “queer” we’re just supposed to roll over and let the homophobes have it? What? That makes no sense.

  13. Ok when the hell was Netflix or dream works promotion targeted the LGBT like what it was the LGBT that attached themselves too it because now people can’t just be a team they all have to be in a relationship with each other it is a show about a giant robot that needed team work and bonding to form otherwise it wouldn’t work it was never supposed to be about LGBT relationships it was supposed to be a team saving the universe with a giant robot

  14. Hey man, maybe don’t act like you speak for the whole gay community on this. Personally, my queer ass was overjoyed that we’re living in a time when we got not one but two onscreen gay weddings in kids’ shows. It is so much more than I ever would have expected growing up watching cartoons where the only reference to gay people were shitty homophobic jokes aimed at amusing parents.

    Like, it’s fine if you have issues with the storyline! *I* had issues with the storyline! There are legitimate criticisms to be made! But saying this was “devastating” to LGBT people as a whole? That it hurts gay representation? Citation needed, my friend. You can’t assume that people yelling on Twitter are the most reprentative members of the community. Some of us were busy watching it with our kids and getting verklempt about progress.

    And it IS progress. This is how progress happens! You don’t go from “we can barely acknowledge the character is gay on screen” to “fully developed romance” in one go, dude. We are working past *years* where the idea of having actual gay characters on kids shows was just… impossible. I mean, maybe you’re young and don’t remember the fuss people made about the purple tellytubby being gay because he carried a handbag, and this was obviously an attempt to corrupt your children and make them gay. But that was the attitude! Any connection between gay people and children’s media was seen as us trying to push the Gay Agenda on the children. The best we ever got were characters that never had romances, and so were allowed to be ambiguous.

    Again, not saying you can’t criticize the story. But you have to take in the context of literal *decades* where the very idea was completely out of the question. We are fighting against a long, long, history here.

    1. Don’t take scraps and praise it for the sake of representation. Have standards and stick to them or else media would think all they need to do is the bare minimum. If you think this is a step forward. You’re part of the reason why last minute forced lgbt happens. That’s not progress and people need to have higher standards if they ever want to move forward and actually progress

  15. was it necessary to say the word queer so much??? just say lgbt/the lgbt community, queer is a slur that means odd/weird and many people like my friends and i are uncomfortable with being called weird, especially by probably straight people.

    1. What is interesting is that the word queer has been reclaimed in the lexicon in a positive way. It’s not just the LGBT community but the LGBTQ (sometimes with an A for allies) because queer can also include those who are questioning, people in the other categories, or something not included such enbies or possibly even those who identify as asexual.

      However, you’re right that the article used the word too often. Since there are people who still find the word offensive, it should really only be used by people who identify as queer or in conversations with someone who uses the word as a self-descriptive and is accepting of others using it as well.

  16. i think it wasn’t just lgbt representation that made the fans so angry, the way they treated lotor, and gave his parents, the abusers a redemption arc, but not him, and lm and jds calling lotor the bad guy, when in reality he isn’t that much, was also very infuriating, i have seen a lot of abuse victims talking about on multiple social media sites, how they saw this as just “if you have been abused, nothing good is coming for you” and have left them feeling terrible and disgusted, i feel like you guys should make an article about that too, in my opinion

    1. Yeah they just straight up destroyed the show. Started out strong and amazing, completed in utter failure.

  17. There was a lot more flawed with Voltron. The way they treated shiro was awful. But so was the way they treated minorities. Abuse victims. Women. They argued their straight relationships played out slow burn, but presented their lead man as a Nice Guy who swooped in on an emotionally vulnerable woman he had been jealously pursuing since the first episode. It was textbook toxic behaviour being rewarded. It robbed both characters of their agency, their narrative arcs and even gave them demonstrably miserable ends.

    There was a lot more at fault in the final season than Shiro. We all know by now that the showrunners forced him into the role tokenistically and hamfistedly. They shifted blame onto others, covering up their obvious spite toward the fandom. Whilst I won’t deny some fans got crazy scary about the show, it didn’t help to kick the hornets nest and repeatedly lie about everything.

    Voltron let everyone down.
    Cast, Crew, Characters, Fans of every kind. It let down children whom it could have inspired. It let down adults who wanted to see better for the next generation. It let down the entire Voltron franchise by being a dark stain on its history.

    And all this time later, the cowards who caused it all can’t even come clean.

  18. This article is fantastic. Not just for roasting the worst season of anything I’ve ever seen, but for being constructive criticism for everyone out there claiming to be inclusive.

    A lot of people don’t think when they hear “representation”, and think that it means the LGBT community wants it said constantly that a character is gay, and wants everyone in the show to be gay. But in reality, what it means is that we wanted someone to be LGBT but treated normally. If the showrunners had hinted that Shiro was gay once in season one, and then did EVERYTHING he did for the other seasons, maybe dropping hints at his identity once or twice more, that would have been beautiful. There is no need to constantly state someone is LGBT all the time.

    That is what real representation is about. Someone is just as normal or badass as everyone else, but happens to be gay. It isn’t like their entire personality changes as soon as they’re announced LGBT. Most people don’t even KNOW someone is LGBT until they say it. And that should have been the case here.

    What angers me more is that this so called “developed on-screen relationship” never even existed. I would have made perfect sense to make Keith and Lance LGBT, as they had so much on-screen chemistry, especially in the first seasons. It was incredible and I really thought, “this is how you do LGBT representation, they’re just normal guys that happen to be gay or bi”. And then it didn’t happen.

    VLD showrunners just wanted to slap on a sticker that says “we’re inclusive”. They didn’t plan to have Shiro as LGBT in the beginning, and they didn’t plan to be inclusive at all. They are liars, and they betrayed thousands of people who trusted them and respected them.

    You can bet that, if they make another show, LGBT people will NOT be behind them at all.

  19. Corporation produced Giant robot cartoon didn’t get a sensitive and deeply personal issue exactly right to satisfy my sense of self-worth? Color me shocked.

    But damn, Voltron looked so cool. Can we get a super cut of all the robot fights?

  20. Since it’s not The Shiro show you can’t be mad if it’s not always or often about him. Was he in the manga or was he made for this show? Imagine being a black person getting mad that the darkest person on the show dying ( and most certainly wasn’t even black but I’ll take it) Getting bent out of shape because your favorite character was somehow sleighted in your mind is SILLY. For those that say ” was marketed with rainbows, so the LGBTQ community was finally gonna have a mainstream hero!” Well either you’ve never seen Voltron or you think they’d flush their franchise down the toilet by excluding their MAIN base. It was a publicity stunt marketing wise for inclusiveness. LGBTQ is still a minority like it or not and it’s gonna be that way for the foreseeable future. You can fight for fairness but jeezus some of y’all mad that the gay guy wasn’t always the hero when it’s not his show!

    1. except this article isn’t saying it was “the shiro show.” it’s about how the showrunners kept lying about how hard they were working on being inclusive to lgbt characters, when all they did was sideline shiro after making a huge public spectacle about his sexuality and then married him off to a rando for brownie points.

      would you go onto an article talking about how awful it was that allura was killed off when she’s the only nonwhite, nonblonde allura in any voltron series, and complain about how no one should be upset because it’s not “the allura show”? you are completely missing the entire point!

      people are so upset because the voltron crew kept promising a bunch of stuff that they /knew/ they weren’t going to be able to deliver on, and that’s extremely upsetting when it concerns lgbt characters because shiro was the ONLY main gay male character in western animation. and they ruined him!

      if they hadn’t made a bunch of promises (lies) and hadn’t used comic con to make a big public stunt out Having A Gay Character that they knew they were just going to immediately flush down the toilet, maybe people would be grateful to have a random gay wedding with no build up. but when that was the best they could do after stringing lgbt fans along for years, and promising they respected us and weren’t going to throw in any random romances? of course people are upset at being lied to after spending so much money and time on this awful show.

  21. Thank you so much for this. For addressing a part of our concerns and feelings about the last season. It really hurts to see something as amazing as Voltron: Legendary Defender end this way, trying to close the doors to more.

    I also wonder, if LionForge will continue working in the comics knowing all this, instead of something that could pursue a continuation more fitting for this series and do an alternative ending, for example. Because I at least won’t be reading more VLD if this issues aren’t addressed correctly instead of ignored.

    Thank you.

  22. Gay people: we would like to be treated with respect and have accurate representation.
    You: ingrates aren’t happy with crumbs of acknowledgement? Hope y’all die.

    Yeah. Gay people are the unreasonable ones here.

  23. 100% agree with the fact that the ending made me feel empty. All the characters felt distant and most of all the story at the end felt very rushed.

  24. Season 8 was God awful from Shiro to kova. Period. Agh!Eff I agree with you honey. Thanks and hats off to you!

  25. I’m a lefty and I’m upset there was no lefty representation in a kids cartoon. Seriously though sick of 5 percent of the population dictating what the rest of us should be entertained by, or worse our children. You mad? Go create your own show with your own heros.

    1. Where did they say that no one could be entertained by it? I see discussion of poor representation, not that you personally cannot be entertained by it. That’s a misread of the article that I hope was not intentional.

  26. Still gnawing away at the bone aren’t we?

    We get it, you’re precious *Sheith* didn’t happen and its painfully ironic how you didn’t catch wind of Voltron falling “apart” until S8 when Shiro got married to the rando guy.

    you didn’t even express any outrage with Adam “dying” and was more worried about this type of stuff
    https://geekdad.com/2018/10/toxic-fandom-when-criticism-and-entitlement-go-too-far/

    …because the bigger picture here is Voltron failed not just your ship, but in general proper LGBTQ+ representation DTMI, to Black women/POC color, but I guess that’s too much for you to unpack here.

    1. No. Can people not turn this into a ship war. Keith is not even mentioned in the article. I see this all the damn time. Whenever there’s news about Shiro, it was used either to uphold ones ship or to ruin other ships. When Shiro was revealed as gay, the media rejoiced but then there’s a loud noise as well saying he will guide Lance to be bi so ship klance. And then there’s Adam. The protest was valid but the way it blew up with people saying “They killed ‘THE’ gay rep!” as if Shiro is not gay, and a main character. The feelings were valid but please do NOT erase Shiro. Then people have valid complaints about season 8 as well and part of it was how Shiro was sidelined after he was revealed gay and people say it’s only about ships.

      There are other problems about vld s8 and there are articles about those as well, but this article is about Shiro so let it be about Shiro. Season 8 Shiro was weak, kept on barking orders but was pathetic with his fight with the Alteans and Zethrid, did not even stop Allura from sacrifing herself, and was even making a peace sign near her statue. Then he got married to Roy, oh sorry, they probably thought that being sued by another company is not a good idea so they had Shiro marry a character so random, whose name they didn’t even bother mention that even the audio guide said Shiro married Adam. Man, everything was whack. Some might not care if he is gay, but do not deny his character was butchered and propped up as a token gay in the last season.

      1. Oh I will go there,and I can call out the hypocrisy about this faux outrage the author has because all the other points you mentioned wasn’t an issue until the “end of VLD” for them and ppl that share the same mind set.
        Go ahead and check the archives to prove me wrong, or show me the diehard Shiro fans before his LGBT reveal that seemed non-existent when he was just the *straight laced boring hero space dad*

        I know about the drama that happened behind the scenes so we all know Shiro wasn’t even made the rep until the “last minute”.

        And yes, this drive for now caring about Shiro’s character is driven by sunken ships since they can blatantly dismiss the hetero relationships mentioned briefly in this article as something good when it reeks of misogyny/nice guys finish last b.s. That’s like me saying “well Shiro got tortured left andright, died 2x, but at least he got married in the end”.

        You just said Adam’s death was blown out of proportion, and clearly left out how before S8 ezor and zethrid would have been the 2nd bury your gay death to happen before they copy + pasted that mistake.

        I hardly see any articles really addressing that, the racism in vld against the POC in the show (black girl dies, latino hero becomes a farmer, polynesian guy is not as smart as the white female, and white boy becomes stronger than the original asian leader?!) or Shiro’s disabilities without once again reminding the fandom of shiro and keith dwindling “friendship” or how he married some rando. But go off I guess, which proves my point with this author and the majority of the fandom that thinks like them:

        Adam died, Shiro’s no longer the BP but is confirmed Gay? SWEET!!

        Season 8:

        WAIT, he doesn’t end up with Keith but married to Curtis?!

        Oh wait..I mean..

        How did VLD fall apart, why did they sideline Shiro and treat him like crap?!

        He’s been benched since S3 and the showrunners been telling us since then that they wanted to kill him(with the Twitter reveal confirming the story bible being thrown out by then and their hate bone for him)or S7 your pick.

        So lesson learned, it’s time to let go. VLD is never coming back.

        Now let’s all move on and embrace shows that have thoughtful and wonderful creators like The dragon Prince,She-ra, and possibly gen:lock.

        1. This article seems genuine to me. I didn’t see any other character names that is why I’m not sure why it reminded you of Keith. Although Shiro’s relationship with everyone and, yes, especially Keith being erased IS also a valid reason. If what you said was true that they didn’t plan for Shiro to be gay at the beginning and he was allowed to be close to the male characters, but then when they decided that he was the gay one, suddenly he was not close to anyone not even his best friend Keith, then that says a lot about what they think of gays. That is a new info for me.

          As for the Shiro fans, I’ve been here long enough to know the fandom deemed Shiro as “scramble eggs for brains” at the beginning as if it was acceptable to define PTSD like that. But I don’t think we should have this mindset of “I got here first so new fans are not really fans.” Because while the decision to reveal him as gay had me confused and angry when the same people who insulted him suddenly acted like they were his biggest fans, I also did meet new people who delved deep into Shiro’s character and genuinely loved Shiro and Kuron, and Shiro’s fanbase grew. I have accepted that as I have latched onto Shiro because I’m Asian, then I cannot be bitter against people who have disabilities or gay who also see their self in him. He is a great character after all.

          I didn’t mention the other problematic issues about vld because the article is about Shiro so I focused on him. Not that I want the other issues to be forgotten, but because I feel Shiro’s treatment is the most ignored. Because while people complain about rushed Allurance, 5 second rando wedding is forced to be seen as a big step in LGBTQ when it is not. Not even GLAAD paid it any attention. The letters of Allura got a reply from Bob, albeit not a good reply but they were acknowledged nonetheless while Shiro fans get silence. The protest for Adam got a public apology letter and saved Ezor but complaints about the Roy leaks were met with silence and didn’t save Shiro from that awful ending. There’s even a blog already that’s loud for Lotor and his group. Granted articles about Allura and her death is not faring any better with few people’s comments saying they’re glad that Lance can move on now that she’s dead.

          Anyway, after s8 aired, I’ve read a lot of articles and posts that tackle most, if not all, the wrong things with vld. Like how absurd it is that Keith is only a better leader than Shiro because he has galra blood, The only POC Allura is the only one to die, Allura sacrificing everything until all that’s left to sacrifice is herself, Lance treating her as a prize then ending up as a farmer, Ezor edited in on s8, Shiro and Keith’s relationship erased, Lotor is an abused child yet it’s the abusers who get redemption, Allura never got over her hate towards the Galras, etc. There’s a lot out there. There’s a blog that used to archive the links but it’s gone now, although I’m sure the articles and posts still exists if you look for it.

          But yeah, move on now if you have to. I understand it’s a mess. I’m not sure about Shera but the last western animation I watched before vld was Avatar and I was lucky to see Aaron Ehasz’ lessons about story telling. The guy truly is a genius and TDP is amazing.

  27. DW was too cowardly, WEP was overprotective, LM and JDS were ignorant and made poor decisions (DW stopped even more tbh) that wound up harmful. She-Ra didn’t begin production until Voltron’s was nearly over, so it’s not like Noelleks influence at DW could have done much by then. It’s not really a Scandalous Scoop.

  28. Shiro is still hands down my favorite animated character of all time. His ending sucked sure. Im more disappointed that he didnt get to kill sendak. But in the end, (well before the end) he was still an epic gay hero. And then the clone of an epic gay hero who was still trying to be good. I loved Adam. But I love curtis too. Neither had much, but the fandom has stepped up and created the life dreamworks failed to provide. And they didnt have to provide it. I’m ace. I dont need a 2d drawing to represent me. We all put waaaaaaay too much importance on rep in a cartoon. *i say, as my bed is coated in shiro pillows and cosplay and fanzines and shirts/buttons/lanyards/prints*

  29. So people are getting mad and acting like children by review bombing the show because it wasn’t gay enough for them?? Pathetic. The show was absolutely amazing and had various themes about real world issues and concerns including war, racism, sexual acceptance, leadership, technology, feminism and more that I can’t remember. None of that mattered because Shiro’s gayness was not explored or exploited enough for the lgbtq community? What a sad community. Imagine how black people feel when they receive real life discrimination and they don’t even cry about not having enough representation in shows and movies. So sad and pathetic.

  30. Seriously? So every show HAS to pander to the LGBTQXWYZ now? Who f*@$ing cares if Shiro was gay or not? Do they not realize that in the original Go Lion he died? What would have happened if they kept that in the script? Oh the horror… His sexuality has NOTHING to do with the overlying story.

    1. No, but when they keep promising it in interviews for seasons and seasons on end, they should probably make more than a token effort.

  31. Hey as much as I want good lgbt rep in animation as the next person, you blaming 2 people out of a whole team of animation professionals and studio heads is some huge fan entitlement.
    Love to see that you care more about a Fictional lgbt character than the lives of real people. You really want the team to redo all the work theyve done in overtime?

  32. I wish this article had touched on the blatant racism, ableism, abuse apologist, hate for mental illness, and general hate mongering. Voltron didn’t just screw up lgbt+, they screwed up everything.

  33. Hey I just wanted to say thank you for writing this article. I’ve been more upset about Voltron than I wanted to admit and it’s been really hard to let go. One of the things that made it so hard was not knowing what really happened. Thank you for giving us some real answers. Maybe it doesn’t really fix anything, but I still feel a whole lot better.

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