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This article is about the Lion Force pilot as they appear in Legendary Defender. For a list of other meanings, see Keith (disambiguation).

Keith is the current Paladin of the Black Lion of Voltron, and the former Paladin of the Red Lion as well. A man of few words and dry wit, Keith is a loner and rebel by nature with "discipline issues" that resulted in his expulsion from the Galaxy Garrison. He has stepped down as a Paladin to work for the Blade of Marmora, only to later regain his rank as the leader of Voltron.

Personality

Keith is hotheaded and temperamental, much like his (former) lion, which makes it hard for many to work with him. Known to be an orphan, Keith has trouble opening up and connecting with others aside from Shiro, who has acted as a mentor and guide for him; Keith quickly seemed to forget his fellow classmates once expelled from the Galaxy Garrison. He spent most of his time after his expulsion living alone in a shack out in the desert and searching for the source of strange energy he felt, leading him to explore a nearby range of mountains. It was in these mountains that he learned of the existence of the Blue Lion once Shiro returns from his captivity in the Galra Empire and fellow Garrison cadets assist in the Lion's discovery.

While Keith is imbued with a sense of justice and bravery, this can manifest itself in a stubborn personality, making him someone who refuses to back down from a fight despite any warnings from his teammates that he should flee. This can put him in situations far beyond his comfort zone but cause him to achieve impressive feats. This trait is best witnessed during his battle with Zarkon, who was using the Black Bayard to push Keith and the Lion beyond their limits. Normally extremely perceptive, Keith's fiery personality sometimes causes him to forget crucial details of his missions, such as being so focused on destroying enemies that he forgot the Balmera was a living creature and that he had to be careful to not cause any damage to it in battle.

Despite his tendency to jump into battle, Keith can be quite calm and cautious at times. This can be seen in his wariness of the local Arusians, taking a while to warm up to the friendly aliens before trusting them completely. Keith is quick-witted, making many deadpan remarks and observations at other's expense, particularly Lance's, who believes Keith is his rival. Even with constant provocations from Lance, Keith shows only disinterest in a rivalry and makes attempts at bonding and working together with his entire team. Keith is truthfully as goofy and free-spirited as the rest of his teammates; it just takes a little longer for the somewhat stoic Paladin to show this. He has laughed freely at Hunk's jokes and enjoyed the food fight during training, throwing plates of goo onto Allura and Coran's faces while laughing wildly, and over time, warms up to the team to crack friendly jokes of his own. Keith is notably fond of the outdoors, finding the quiet of the forest and wild lands to be enjoyable.

Keith is in possession of a blade bearing the symbol of the Blade of Marmora with no idea about its origins. After noting similarities between it and one that Ulaz wielded, Keith began to suspect he was part Galra or being used by Zarkon to track the team, causing him to become more reclusive from his teammates and more sympathetic towards Galra rebel fighters. When his Galra heritage was revealed, he felt dejected due to Allura's hatred of the Galra extending even to him, and while frustrated and hurt, did not fault her for it. Luckily for Keith, Allura came to terms with her own suffering and feelings towards the Galra, making amends with him by stating that she considered him and the Paladins her new family, and what is important in a person is who they are, not their blood. Keith has expressed an interest in searching the universe for his Galran relatives once Voltron was no longer required, showing that he wished to continue his journey of self-discovery and know more about his Galran roots.

Keith does have some issues with trust. Due to his mother leaving him as an infant and his father's death when he was still a small child, Keith had some serious barriers that he kept up around his friends and teammates, which initially impeded his abilities as a leader during the first few missions as the head of Voltron. Due his emotional trauma, Keith attempted to be off-putting in an attempt to spare himself the pain of possible rejection.

Keith embodies the Red Lion's elemental affiliation of Fire in his hotheaded personality, fierce instincts in battle, and often incendiary humor and remarks. But like fire, Keith's impulsive and explosive tendencies can be harnessed as a valuable tool and weapon to ensure the survival and victory of his friends and innocents.

Keith's mixed heritage seems to have had an affect on him. After discovering his Galran heritage, Keith began to volunteer for increasingly dangerous assignments from the Blade of Marmora, seeming to feel the need to attach him to the closest connection he had to his biological family. Keith often felt the need to prove himself to his commanding officer and mentor, Kolivan, while simultaneously disregarding orders to put the mission first.

Keith shares key characteristics with his Galran mother, Krolia, including a protective streak, a tendency to be impulsive, and a habit of incorporating his own emotional agenda into his missions against the advice of senior officers such as Shiro or Kolivan.

Following his reunion with his mother, Keith matured considerably over his two years in warped space. Having finally discovered the reason why his mother left him was for his protection, Keith finally made peace with his past on Earth. Keith was known to have been close with his father, and now having known his mother, he is far more at ease with his heritage, feeling at peace at last.

Keith's latent leadership abilities came to surface along his journey, though he is less decisive and more aggressive as a leader than Shiro, though he is quickly calming down into a leader of great skill, as noted by the Black Lion who only allows born leaders to partner with it. In this sense, his personality is cooling down from a raging fire to a strong and powerful whirlwind. Keith's leadership style embodies the more aggressive traits of the Black Lion.

Since returning from the Quantum Abyss, Keith's ability to connect to Black's consciousness directly seems to be indicative of his newfound maturity. He was able to calmly and decisively lead the Paladins against Lotor and his Sincline mech. No longer possessed by his manic and frenetic mindset in battle, Keith is now a leader come full circle in his journey of self-discovery. It can be seen that he no longer is as anxious or aggressive in his leadership style, able to master control over himself enough to see through the eyes of the Black Lion, a feat only displayed among the current generation of Paladins by his predecessor, Shiro.

Abilities

A skilled martial artist, Keith is extremely capable on the battlefield as his Bayard takes the form of a katar that can slice through solid steel with ease. He is dedicated to maintaining his abilities and spends his free time on the ship honing his combat skills. After Shiro, Keith is easily the best hand-to-hand combatant on the team. His combat skills allowed him to knock three Garrison military doctors out cold with minimal effort and incredible speed. Keith is also physically the fastest of the team, making his way across the battlefield like a blazing meteorite. He is still learning, but he is an impressive and dangerous swordsman who should not be underestimated. He is also surprisingly strong despite his lean frame and his tendency to stress speed and agility over strength in a fight.

Keith is a prodigy pilot who relies more on instinct and natural talent than on learned skill alone. He is capable of handling the Red Lion not because of their shared ferocious and rebellious natures, but because of his instincts and respect for Shiro as a leader. Unlike the others, Keith had to earn his Lion's respect by fighting to protect it at all costs, thus impressing Red. He is a high speed combat specialist who fights at his maximum at all times.

Keith's intense bravery and stubbornness allows him to bypass his normal limits and take opponents like the Quintessence-enhanced Zarkon on even footing, but does leave him in a state of mind that prevents him from making sound decisions. In such a state he becomes hyper-focused on defeating his opponent as he ignores all outside advice and logic, leaving him more open to attack. However, as seen during his battle with the Galra Emperor, Keith's determination also allows him to connect more deeply with Red, unlocking previously unknown weaponry. Keith's mindset in this state allows him to think and react much faster than normal, turning him into a one-man army. The power unleashed by Red's upgraded cannon was enough to inflict critical damage to Zarkon's central base and large portion of his vast armadas.

Keith is also skilled with explosives and diversionary tactics, as he was able to distract Galaxy Garrison personnel with multiple calculated explosions in order to clear the way to bust Shiro out of quarantine. This shows that despite his typically reckless demeanor and approach that Keith is a capable guerrilla fighter and tactician of considerable skill.

Zarkon has noticed that Keith's natural fighting style resembles that of the Galran's own during their first duel. Indeed, Keith's single-minded drive during battles is reminiscent of the Galra Empire's motto in battle: nothing will stop him but triumph or death. Keith has shown himself to be quickly able to adapt his fighting style to whatever weapon he has on hand, such as his luxite sword. With his ancestral weapon Keith is shown to be adept in not just double-edged swords, but also the single-edged backsword-styled blade favored by the Galran fighting style, common to both the Galra Empire and The Blade of Marmora.

Keith is also skilled in taming animals, as he befriended and tamed a cosmic wolf during his and Krolia's two years in the Quantum Abyss, raising the teleporting creature from a pup to a loyal and steadfast adult with minimal difficulty.

Keith's Galra heritage allows him to tap into and utilize Galra technology that is specifically encoded to their species, allowing him to infiltrate their bases. His ability to access genetically-encoded Galra tech is what revealed him as having Galran heritage.

Keith's skill as a pilot of the Black Lion developed further after returning from the Quantum Abyss. Despite his gifted natural connection to the Red Lion, Keith was able to tap into and connect directly to the consciousness of Black. This can be seen when he was able to see directly through Black's perspective, bringing out the Ephemeral Wings to fly from several galaxies away within moments to rejoin the other Paladins.

Notes

  • Keith was originally only known to be in his late teens.[2][3] His age was published as being 18 in The Paladin's Handbook, which was not reviewed by executive series staff.[4][5]
    • While The Voltron Coalition Handbook states that a year has passed since Shiro's return to Earth, making Keith 19 by the time season six begins, his age is subject to his travels through the warped space-time of the Quantum Abyss, aging him two additional years. This was so Keith and Krolia could properly bond.[6]
    • Consequently, Keith ages two years ahead of the rest of Team Voltron, on top of the year he experiences along with everyone else, making him 21 years old at the youngest by season six's end, three years older than his age in season one.
  • Unlike the other Paladins, Keith's birth date was not revealed on social media, but instead first published in The Paladin's Handbook.
  • Keith's full name is unknown. His mother, Krolia wanted to name him "Yurak", which is a reference to Yurak of Defender of the Universe.
  • Keith's human ethnicity is unknown. What is known about his father's background is that he highly resembles Keith, possesses a rather mild southern accent, and appeared to be in his mid-thirties in Keith's vision of him.
  • The Voltron Website describes Keith as an orphan.[7]
  • Keith is known to possess Galra heritage, as evidenced by his Galra knife (which he has possessed since early childhood) activating after passing the Trials of Marmora.
    • Keith's Galra heritage was hinted at a few times during Season 1: his ability to activate the Galra technology on the Balmera with his handprint, his fighting style being remarked upon by Zarkon in their first duel, etc.
    • Keith received his knife from his father, who in turn received it from Keith's mother. Therefore, it stands to reason Keith inherits his Galra lineage from his mother. This was revealed explicitly in the Season Five Episode "Bloodlines" when Keith meets his mother, a Blade of Marmora operative named Krolia, for the first time.
    • Due to his father being human, Keith's maximum possible percentage of Galra heritage is 50%. This was confirmed in "Bloodlines" when he rescued a Blade from a Galra base who turned out to be Keith's mother.
  • Despite his percentage of Galra heritage being unknown, Keith's Galra bloodline appears to be dominant over his human heritage in all but appearance, as Keith is able to access tech that is genetically encoded to the Galra; it did not reject him due to his human heritage.
  • Strangely, despite not appearing Galran on the surface, Keith's eyes are similar in color as the average Galran's skin tones.
  • Keith is the first known character with part Galran heritage shown in the series. Others that followed include Lotor's generals.
  • Keith is the first Galran shown in full profile in the series despite appearing human.
  • Keith’s Marmorite blade, when fully manifested, bears a resemblance to the kukuri knife from Nepal.
  • Keith now bears a facial marking similar in appearance to his mother's natural Galran markings after his duel with Shiro's clone.
  • The showrunners have explained that Keith's two-year journey through the Quantum Abyss was not about aging him, but to give him time to really bond with Krolia, without losing time with the rest of the team.[8][9]

References

VE Team Voltron in Voltron: Legendary Defender
Voltron (Black LionRed LionGreen LionBlue LionYellow Lion)
Current Paladins ShiroKeithPidgeLanceHunkAllura
Former Paladins ZarkonAlforTrigelBlaytzGyrgan
Additional Members CoranSpace MiceRover