LionForge Does Not Renew Voltron License, Ends Comic Series

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In a reversal from earlier statements, LionForge confirmed today they will not renew their license for Voltron: Legendary Defender, effectively ending the comic series with the previously published third volume.

The move, while disappointing, is unsurprising. The comics were based on the Voltron: Legendary Defender television series by DreamWorks animation, and the final season of the show was broadly regarded as a stunning failure for the once-lauded property, earning a 5% score on Rotten Tomatoes, countless angry fans on social media, and over thirty-thousand signatures on a petition requesting a better ending. 

The final season was widely criticized for, among other issues, its hurtful and marginalizing handling of queer characters (which we’ve covered in past articles), disabled characters, and characters of color. Given LionForge’s mission of accessible and diverse comics, and DreamWorks’ insistence that the comics licensee not deviate from the studio’s widely-hated ending, LionForge was in the unenviable position of managing a series, over which they didn’t have creative control, that had the potential to tarnish their inclusive brand.

While it’s saddening to see the series go, we look forward to the next iteration of Voltron, and, given the hurt expressed by fans Legendary Defender, hope the next series will be able to deliver a more inclusive story.

Here’s LionForge’s full statement to GeekDad regarding the cancellation:

“Voltron: Legendary Defender was a milestone for our company, both in terms of prestige and establishing a sales trajectory for Lion Forge across markets” says founder, David Steward II. “I grew up a fan of the original animated series  and associated toys, so to have the opportunity to bring Voltron back to St. Louis was a genuine dream come true. When the series came to an end, we decided that it was the right choice to wrap up the comic book series with its third volume. We are very proud of our work with our partners at Dreamworks to expand the canonical story of this cast of characters with comics we believe have been, and will remain a vital part of this fandom.”

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This post was last modified on August 11, 2019 1:13 am

Sean Z: @https://twitter.com/Sean_Z_Writes Sean Z writes about fandom, media, and queerness for GeekDad. When he’s not researching fandom, he enjoys listening to video game music, playing boardgames, and writing code.

View Comments (14)

  • Great job! A vile can of worms just opened back up for me when I thought I still had hope.
    Now, I don't know if I'll ever be able to move on from this and it will always be engraved in the back of my mind of something that could have given me closure.

    Overall I'm disappointed regarding this decision and I really hope in the near future, I'll be able to see my beloved characters again.

  • For those of you praising and giving back pats to Lion Forge for cancelling the comic; the author is seemingly leaving the part where Lion Forge is in the middle of a merger with Oni Press, meaning many of titles are getting lost in the shuffle, including licensed work and their more inclusive, original titles.

    So Lion Forge isn’t dropping the comic because of the outrage or as a personal favor to the fandom; they literally can’t afford to hold on the Voltron license.

    What’s more disconcerting to me is why the author would feel the need to omit this fact from the article.

  • It seems like now I won't be able to take any new projects from LM and JDS without a grain of salt. This legasy will stay with them for a long time.

  • Probably a good choice. I am honestly not sure how they could have continued it as is. The last two seasons were miserably bad and not just bad as in bad writing, but bad as in sexist, racist, and homophobic. What a crushing disappointment for a show that touted diversity and inclusion from Season 1 and had the potential for that to play out.
    Any chance they continue it in any way? I am just so sad that characters I love so much are being dropped just because of the terrible decisions of two showrunners. Like, at this point I love the characters so much I wouldn't even mind a "oh now we are in an alternative reality it was all a dream" type reboot/continuation :(

  • MY GOD! They came through! we were all scared that 'fans' of the epilogue would flaunt information from this comic and state, "See! Curtis and Shiro DO have development!" When the relationship is what it always will be, nothing but glorified tokenization of Shiro marrying a random nobody that a majority of fans do not care for.

    THANK YOU, LIONFORGE!!!!

  • I feel like this was the best option, as sad as it is.

    It's too bad, because I would have LOVED to see the comics explore more of Keith's time with the Blade of Marmora and other plot elements from seasons 5-6. I would've loved more of Lotor and especially his generals. I would've loved to see some info on Shiro's family since everyone else at least had their relatives mentioned.

    There was potential to explore a lot of underdeveloped and interesting aspects of the show in the comics, if only they hadn't decided to try and skip over all of it to develop the worst part of it.

    I loved Voltron Legendary Defender so much. The first six seasons had problems, sure, but overall it was a fun and exciting ride. The characters felt real and the emotional connections felt like they mattered. I just wish seasons 7 and especially 8 hadn't rendered it all pointless. It's hard to go back and enjoy my favorite episodes from earlier seasons when I know that none of it ever actually meant anything, and only led to disappointment and heartbreak.

    I'm glad that we're no longer being forced to accept its failures as "misunderstood" and that it's being laid to rest. Sad to see it go, but it's better than having to potentially see any belated, self-serving attempts to "fix" its failures with Allura and Shiro as a money grab. Because you know that's what they would have done.

    And that's a terrible shame for a series that initially presented itself as inclusive, only to insist the characters weren't supposed to be that big of a deal when they messed up.

  • That's a shame. The wife and I actually didn't mind the final season and were looking forward to seeing the story continue and where it would go.

  • "While it’s saddening to see the series go, we look forward to the next iteration of Voltron, and, given the hurt expressed by fans Legendary Defender, hope the next series will be able to deliver a more inclusive story."

    Honestly, I feel like they're just burying the Voltron franchise at this point. And after the backlash to the finale, I can't blame them at all, but Shiro was the first character I'd resonated with in years, yes, even after the finale. I'm heartsick knowing that we'll never see him again or have a chance to retcon what happened in S8. :(

    As someone who has watched and Voltron in all its incarnations (yes, even the Third Dimension), I am intensely afraid of the future for a franchise I love more than anything now. No one wants to "improve" a show they feel is irredeemably toxic, they want it to go away. And that is VLD's legacy, at least for now. :(

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