Shannon Muir and VOLTRON

Many years ago, I became part of the initial VOLTRON fan community on the Internet. The year was 1996, and I was packing up my things preparing to move from my home in Cheney, Washington, where I had gone to junior high, high school, and my undergraduate college years to try to make it in Los Angeles. At the time, I thought I was just sharing everything I came up with while a fan in the 1980s so that others could entertain the thoughts and perhaps build off of them. In addition, I shared facts about the show as I was aware of them from behind the scenes.

At the time, I thought I was going to be leaving everything behind.

Now twenty-five years later and counting, that has been anything but the case.

Over the years, a lot of what I shared on my site has been expanded in other resources. However, there are two things that I remain most noted for. One is that I sometimes come up cited as one of the first fan fiction writers for VOLTRON on the Internet through my sharing of information about a character I created in the 1980s named Nina, who was involved in a set of stories I sent to World Events Productions. The other is the Denubian Galaxy Starmap (which apparently should actually be spelled Danubian Galaxy, now that I have gotten to review scripts of the original series, but that was how it sounded to me at 13), where I presented my theories of where planets might be in the Far Universe of the Voltron Lion series; these theories, with a few minor adjustments, became an official starmap that World Events Productions (the IP rights holders) used to create an official version for their VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION site in collaboration with me. Interestingly enough, the “Denubian Galaxy” spelling also stuck.

Regarding the creation of Nina and the impact of that on my life creatively and professionally, I have spoken about that in various media throughout the years. Here are some of the quotes I think reinforce the impact of that over time.

I think it would be hard (but not impossible) for me to work on any version of the VOLTRON series – either in the past or anything the future might hold – if Nina weren’t a part of it. Regardless of how the Starmap is laid out, she is the center of the emotional universe.” [emphasis mine]

 

  • In email interview with Greg Tyler, 2021

In my heart Nina will always be in some form.  She symbolizes the root of passionate dreams that have become a fantastic reality.”

  • From my SHANNON MUIR’S VOLTRON PAGES site, circa 2000

My experiences in both these areas I believe left an impact on myself and how I approach everything I do, in particular regarding caring about a user experience – whether it be watching an animated series or interacting with a website, as my professional experience has run that gamut. Years ago, I made a statement that I think sums that up pretty well, though I think I need to insert with the caveat that you do have to approach me with a reasoned and well thought out argument. I have watched the rise of too many “toxic fandoms” over the years for various media properties that have taken things to the extreme, and this is something I could never encourage. Also, sometimes you are not in the position of power to bring change. I do still believe that everyone needs to be heard if at least approached properly.

As a working professional, I’ll never have this experience again, at least from the fan side.  I think, though, if I ever find myself in the producer’s chair on a show and hear the fans cry out, I will listen.  After all, I’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

  • Article on Suite101.com (a site where I wrote occasional articles that filed its subjects by the Dewey Decimal System), circa 2000

For technical reasons, I have been unable to access my SHANNON MUIR’S VOLTRON PAGES website page since 2011, and have no idea when it might be taken offline. So, I have decided to provide pages with some of that history here, as a duplication of content. As of June 2024, the original site still operates at (note this is an insecure server link)  http://www.duelingmodems.com/~shan/Voltron.htm

I also recommend you read a detailed article that Greg Tyler, co-host of the LET’S VOLTRON PODCAST, did with me at his lionspilotsandbots.com site on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the starmap.

Speaking of the LET’S VOLTRON PODCAST, they have covered all things VOLTRON for the last decade, and I have appeared on a fair number of their programs. Check out letsvoltron.com and do a search for my name. Episodes 201 and later can also be found on the LET’S VOLTRON YouTube channel.

My role of late is to continue to fill in history gaps, largely for those who became aware of VOLTRON with later iterations and want to know where it all came from. I am more than happy to continue to share my knowledge in the hopes that it will not be lost to time.

There is also a yearly fan convention for VOLTRON called VOLTCON that takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have been fortunate enough to go since 2021, and to be involved in some of their programming. At the VIP gathering in 2023, someone referred to me as the “archivist” for VOLTRON. However, while I am honored to be thought of a steward of information, I must point out archive collections generally consist of unpublished materials. A lot of information I shared early on was definitely published, but not widely circulated beyond a specific audience. My work regarding Nina and the starmap would have been exceptions, until World Events Productions and I collaborated on the more official version. Still, I do appreciate that people felt impact and were influenced by my efforts.

Here is a collection of various panels I have appeared on at VOLTCON.