Now every first and third Thursday each month, ANIMATED INSIGHTS BY SHANNON MUIR takes you inside Shannon’s latest reflections on her passion for animation as a medium, and other animated insights about life. To catch up on all posts, check out the Animated Insights portion of the website! This week, Shannon shares her very initial thoughts on Season 8 of VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER.
I’d originally planned to approach this column a lot differently. However, given the amount of reaction this final season has received on so many levels, I’d like to give more time for people to watch and re-watch before I really break it down into what I liked and did not like. It would be impossible to do that and be spoiler-free.
I will not hide that I, like a number of fans, find myself conflicted. Please know that as someone with experience as an animation professional, I respect the right of each creative team to tell their tale, and I still appreciate the efforts of this creative team to bring VOLTRON to a new generation. However, I also feel – supported in part by my experience working on animated series for iconic properties like JUMANJI and also GHOSTBUSTERS via the EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS franchise – that when you are asked to work on an iconic property there is an implied contract. An iconic or evergreen intellectual property becomes so for a reason, because of something that resonates about it. Change around it or build upon it what you will, that core drive that has made it endure should not be touched. A couple days after seeing Season 8, I do consider it possible that VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER may have, to some degree, broken this implied contract, but I cannot comment in depth until more time has passed – there’s a lot I’m still trying to unpack around that.
However, I also am taken back to my first appearance on the LET’S VOLTRON podcast, which discussed the co-existence of VOLTRON DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE, VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION, and VOLTRON FORCE and the fact it might be argued that not all three of these could be canon. My response to that was along the lines of the fact that from the days of DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE, multiple dimensions are canon… and VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER is no exception to that. Each telling of the story carries some degree of validity in the grander scheme of what the iconic franchise is, and in that respect all are true. Yet, each must be also rated on that show’s merits.
As both fan and professional, I hope to unpack that with you sometime in 2019. ANIMATED INSIGHTS will return on JANUARY 10, 2019... see you in the New Year!