|The Rise of Voltron|
|Air date||June 10, 2016|
|Written by|| Tim Hendrick|
|Directed by|| Joaquim Dos Santos|
Steve In-Chang Ahn
The Rise of Voltron is the first and longest episode of Voltron: Legendary Defender.
An exploration crew is eagerly collecting ice samples on Kerberos, one of Pluto’s moons and the farthest humans have ever traveled. They’re trying to determine if life could exist somewhere other than Earth. As if on cue, the ground begins to shake and an enormous spaceship heads towards them. The three astronauts run, but they are caught in the ship’s tractor beam and taken captive.
One year later, Galaxy Garrison Cadets Lance, Hunk, and Pidge squabble until they fantastically fail their flight simulation. That night, Lance drags Hunk out after curfew to grab Pidge and do some team bonding, only to end up on the roof, seated in front of Pidge’s handmade complicated technology. The three of them chat briefly about why any mention of the Kerberos mission makes Pidge upset, then about the unlikely probability of aliens, until they’re interrupted by an alien spaceship crash-landing in front of the Garrison. Pidge is able to access the cameras set up by Garrison officials, where it’s revealed that the crashed ship held Shiro, the pilot of the Kerberos mission, but none of the officials are listening to him. Hunk suggests going back to the dorms, but Lance and Pidge are trying to figure out how to rescue Shiro when Keith appears, distracts the officials, and cuts Shiro loose. The four of them help Shiro onto Keith’s getaway ride, which is not large enough to fit all of them, and narrowly escape due only to Keith’s excellent piloting and natural talent.
Keith explains that once he was kicked out of the Garrison, he was drawn to a section of the desert mountains with strange images of lions. Hunk, having rummaged through Pidge’s things, recognized the Fraunhofer line from the numbers the aliens are looking for. The wavelength matches the peaks and valleys of the mountains. Using a machine Hunk quickly built to track the alien element, the five of them find a specific cave that hides a massive blue lion behind a force field. Lance knocks gently on the force field, which disintegrates as the Blue Lion’s eyes glow yellow. Everyone sees a vision of five giant robot lions coming together to form one massive robot man - Voltron. Fearlessly, Lance climbs into the Lion’s mouth and sits in the pilot seat. The Lion crashes out of its mountain and into space, piloted partially by Lance’s intuition and piloted partially by itself. Out of Earth’s atmosphere, the Blue Lion is confronted by a Galra ship. Lance successfully damages the ship and flees, but the ship is able to follow them. A wormhole appears in front of them, and after a brief discussion, they charge through, leaving the Galra ship behind.
They end up on Planet Arus, in front of a castle that lights up and opens as the Blue Lion approaches. Inside, they find two cryo-pods in use. One house Princess Allura (and the four Space Mice) and the other Advisor Coran, aliens from Planet Altea who have been asleep for 10,000 years. Distressed, Allura explains that Emperor Zarkon has destroyed her home solar system and has continued to conquer while they’ve been asleep and hidden. The only way to stop him is to use Voltron, but her father King Alfor scattered the Lions, so they need to find them first. Allura assigns a Lion to each human, explaining what a Paladin does. Keith stays in the castle above the Black Lion while the Alteans try to pinpoint the Red Lion’s location, Pidge and Shiro fetch the Green Lion on a peaceful planet, and Hunk and Lance fetch the Yellow Lion on a hostile planet.
It turns out the Red Lion is on a Galra ship orbiting Planet Arus. The Paladins panic briefly before Shiro points out that as the owner of the Lions and the only person who’s fought Zarkon, she should tell them what to do. With help from King Alfor’s memories, Princess Allura decides to fight instead of fleeing. She gives the Paladins their armor and bayards, and Shiro gives them their positions. Hunk and Lance distract Commander Sendak while Pidge sneakily flies Shiro and Keith to the bottom of the ship. Shiro has flashes of memory of being on this ship, which leads Pidge to demand that they rescue any prisoners they find. Shiro and Keith learn that the other two astronauts lost on the Kerberos mission were Samuel Holt and Matt Holt, Pidge’s father and brother. Shiro understands and sends Keith to find the Red Lion alone, trusting him and telling him to remember that “patience yields focus”. On their way to the prisoners, Shiro and Pidge run into a small Galra drone, which Pidge quickly disables and reprograms to work with them. With Rover’s help, they release the prisoners, but the Holts are not among them.
Keith finds the Red Lion, which is reluctant to bond with him all the way until Keith fights off multiple Galra drones and accidentally knocks himself into space. With all the lions now in their possession, Team Voltron retreats to Arus’s surface. One final motivational pep talk from Shiro later, the team successfully forms Voltron and shatters Sendak’s ship, allowing the remains to fall to Arus.
"Nope. No, you - No, no, no. No, you don't. I'm saving Shiro."
—Lance, interrupting Keith's heroic effort to rescue Shiro
"Can't this thing go any faster?"
"We could toss out some non-essential weight."
"Oh, right! ...Okay, so that was an insult. I get it."
—Lance is nervous and Keith is annoyed
"Oh yeah, sure, just drop me off on an alien planet. That's cool, man. It's only occupied by mean purple aliens that want to kill me, but whatever. Just ignore them and go connect with a big, yellow, mechanical cat. Easy-peasy. Yeah. That all makes a ton of sense to me."
—Hunk is understandably bitter about his situation
"What if I get in there and it's too big and my feet don't touch the pedals? What if there aren't even pedals?!"
—Pidge, growing increasingly anxious about the Green Lion
"I'm a leg!"
—Hunk is very excited about his position in Voltron
- As Lance and Hunk sneak to Pidge's room after curfew, they pass the staff room, where a blonde man strongly resembling Roy Fokker from the Robotech/Macross franchise sits.
- The format in which Allura describes the Lions' personalities is very similar to the way DotU Coran describes the Lions' locations in .
- This episode was split into three episodes on other streaming services such as iTunes and Amazon.