Does Voltron Legendary Defender Season 7 Deserve The Queer Representation Points It Wants?
Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 7 is available to watch on Netflix. However, if you were thinking of checking it out because of all the Shiro and Adam talk, you might need to prepare yourself for disappointment. As far as most Voltron fans are concerned, the way Shiro and Adam were handled in the series and promoted in media is nothing more than your usual queerbaiting.
Minor Voltron Season 7 spoilers follow. You have been warned.
The reveal at SDCC 2018 about Shiro being a queer character and having a romantic relationship with Adam during his past was a huge thing. Fans spent weeks before the premiere of the seventh season reading all of the interviews promoting the upcoming queer representation. After seven seasons, fans were finally getting what they wanted. But then the actual episodes were made available and it was an entirely different story altogether.
Adam ended up being nothing more than another example of the ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope while Shiro continued following the trope of keeping queer characters sad and without a love life. So of course, disappointed fans took to Twitter to voice their feelings.
Here’s another gem!
If I don’t laugh, I’ll start sobbing 😂 #VoltronLegendaryQueerbait #BuryYourGays #Voltron pic.twitter.com/7Kh076M42g
— 🌙 (@kaorusan241) August 10, 2018
As far as my opinion goes, having watched the finale, I was expecting a bit more. The interaction between Adam and Shiro (shown in a flashback) was quite vague and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still many viewers who didn’t realize the two were more than just friends and were moving toward getting married. Furthermore, upon Shiro’s return to Earth, the show only gave him mere seconds to mourn Adam. There were no scenes of them being intimate with each other, saying that they loved each other, or even having a good time in each other’s company (in flashbacks).
It would have been awesome to see Shiro remembering the time he was happy with Adam when mourning him.
“Oh! Look! We made Shiro do the ‘knees-bent-in’ stance. That’s enough to tell he’s queer, right? We also gave him a flashback with Adam with queer undertones. We get all the representation points, right?” – Joaquim & Lauren (probs whn talking abt ep 2 of Voltron Season 7). pic.twitter.com/kFlnsGUcvJ
— A.J Raven (@tempest071990) August 10, 2018
In contrast, Voltron season 7 ended up introducing a number of heterosexual romances. So, you can understand the reason behind the current fan disappointment.
Also, if the queer representation in Voltron wasn’t supposed to be made clear, why even bother mentioning it? Why not just let it be a surprise for the viewers? I get the writers were excited about it. But come on! They know how passionate and vocal the Voltron fandom is. I am certain they knew Shiro and Adam were going to end up being a huge thing in the fandom as soon as the news was released.
Bex Taylor-Klaus‘ responses, where war is being used as the reason behind all of the sadness Shiro experiences, isn’t helping matters.
At least, Shiro can use his sad queer energy to create a curvy giant robot.
Sigh! It is always content (Teen Wolf, The 100) that promote being inclusive and wanting brownie points that end up doing a bad job. I guess the next time some show decides to gain hype by boasting about upcoming queer representation in the series, we should be more cautious because queerbaiting is a real thing.
I was warned by a Geekiary reader who left a comment on an article about Shiro’s reveal at SDCC 2018. I was warned but I didn’t listen!
Shows that don’t promote queer representation too much or at all (Spartacus, Harlots, Claws) and then go ahead to deliver some of the best queer characters and writing is where it’s at.
Considering what Voltron season 7 decided to do, I appreciate Steven Universe even more. Even Korra and Asami were handled a lot better.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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21 thoughts on “Does Voltron Legendary Defender Season 7 Deserve The Queer Representation Points It Wants?”
Great article. This was my fear when their relationship was announced at Comic Con, and I can’t believe it turned out to be even worse than I expected.
Thank you for writing an article about this. This season of Voltron definitely disappointed a lot of LGBT fans. 🙁
Thank you for writing this <3
And immediately took Voltron off my watch list. I won’t reward a show for such blatant queerbaiting and Burying Your Gays.
A good writer doesn’t make the story revolve around the fact that a character is gay. A good writer makes a story where one of the characters happens to be gay.
There is nothing in the story itself that much queerbaited and you don’t watch this story because someone is gay. HOWEVER as a queer person who knows about the long history of this trope and how the entire point is that gay people can not have a happy ending, how they handled this was absolutely worthy of the criticism. There was a deliberate choice from Netflix and showrunners to announce Shiro had a boyfriend a couple of weeks before the season dropped, knowing fully well their fan base would be happy to hear it. They received massive praise for weeks.
But dare I say; Adam & Shiro was less explicitly romantic than some of the scenes that WASN’T meant to be in the show. Adam was killed off “to show the horrible realities of war” according to showrunners, as the only named Good Guy to die.
Shiro have been tortured, endlessly, throughout the show and he is the ONLY one not having someone he’s returning “home” to. He is NOT the character that needed to get that extra hardship on top of everything to let us feel with him. I didn’t expect them to come back and be a couple, but I expected Shiro to have something that actually tied him back to earth and with the flashbacks they did suggest that would be Adam. But while everyone else got back to families and they included several straight romances that felt out of nowhere (even though they claim it’s not about romance) Shiro is left with no happy ending in sight – the entire “point” of the Bury Your Gays trope.
Would I say this overall make the show bad? Well let’s be real, the writing in this show wasn’t great to begin with, but no it doesn’t. Is it understandable to be upset about? Yes, very much so.
They’ve pulled a Korra here and used the gay as a distraction from the fact that season 7 is simply riddled with inexcusable plot holes, and it’s working because NONE of you are talking about it; you’re just concerned with the shipping.
the plot itself became so freaking complicated that i don’t even understand what’s happenin and don’t care about it at all. i only care about the characters lately. though i notice the holes in characters’ development and relationships. and that one scene where the paladins are stuck in space is really strange too. like why did they go mad if they could talk to each other? didn’t keith say they’re friends? they had A LOT to discuss. but nope, keith had gone mad after an hour in outer space while he hadn’t when he was on that WHALE with his mum and the wolf only/ for TWO YEARS.
I do agree with the Adashi being overhyped but I don’t believe it should get all the hate towards it. Adashi itself isn’t the representation, Shiro is. I’m glad we got this info that Shiro is gay because when I saw him on screen, he was back in action after all that’s happened and even losing the man he loved, I think that’s amazing for his character. After all he lost and gone through, he is an amazing character that happened to be LGBT and was back in action. There are more things to look into, and I hope that Shiro can mourn properly in S8 or we’ll at least see bits into Shiro’s emotions on losing Adam.
“I’m glad we got this info that Shiro is gay” but that’s it isn’t it; We needed an outside source to tell us, because it didn’t come across on screen at all (even the hearing impaired function says they’re just roommates/besties)
It’s basically JK Rowling telling us Dumbledore is gay but not putting it in the books or films, forcing people to search for it to know, and somehow expecting to be heralded for it.
Adam’s death missed the mark because it made us feel the wrong kind of loss. It was intended to make us feel the loss of war, but instead we ended up feeling a different kind of loss, one unrelated to the themes of the show. We (the LGBT audience) lost seeing a part of ourselves on the screen. We lost seeing a portrayal a healthy, established LGBT relationship, one that isn’t just mentioned in passing or used as a plot device. We lost what we were lead to believe we were getting. And that is where the writing fell short.
As a bisexual fourteen years old who lives in India, one of the most difficult things is to get queer representation, so I was so ecstatic when I found out we were going to get some, this would have been a big step for all of dreamworks. Queer baiting us like that and killing off the one thing that had all of the fans excited and hopeful for weeks was not okay.
I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’ve seen it before. I read an article yesterday, in which one of the show runners or executive producers said they were lucky to make Shiro gay because higher ups at the company (I presume dreamworks) were very uneasy about having a LGBTQ character on the show and they had to fight for it. So I doubt we’ll get any better representation in season 8. My jaded guess is that by the end of season 8 Shiro will still be single and no other character would bring up that he’s gay. Did anyone notice though that the show gave Keith this potential new romance! To me it seemed like they tried to put an end to the Keith/Shiro ship (Sorry I don’t know the ship name) from ever happening on the show i.e. like Teenwolf tried to do to the Sterek fandom.
Bisexual male here. All this hate? Seriously?
“I wanted a more intimate relationship to be show” “I want some Yaoi action on screen”. This is just to show us who Shiro is. Remember, there is still another season to go. Are you lot seriously trying to force the writers to ship shiro/keith? That would essentially destroy the storyline imo. The show is all about in their present time, not what happened before Voltron. I think everyone needs to take a step back and see where the storyline goes.
We sad about adam! Not shiro/keith
You got the wrong idea
Wow i really appreciate how well laid out this article it should really give pause to anyone dissmissing LGBT fan’s disappointment. I don’t really see how it’s even possible for fans to have queer baited “themselves”? Like how is that a thing. Great article was very well thought out.
Dont this article break apart over the fact that Adam probably is not dead.
His ship doesn’t explode on-screen, and when the Galra cruiser fires on him, we get a shot of his reaction, and then cut to his com going offline at Garrison HQ. Since his “death” was off-screen and no indication that any of the bodies were recovered, it’s entirely possible for Adam to have survived, either from ejecting at the last second, or his ship was damaged and crashed.
After destroying Adam’s fighter group, Sendak’s next action was to destroy Earth’s communication satellites and cut the Garrison off from the rest of the world, meaning that if he did survive, the Garrison wouldn’t know until he showed up in person.
Other than that, when the lions are shown crashing back to Earth after the Altean mecha self-destructs, three of the lions simply crash with nobody around to witness. The only shots with people in them for that scene are Hunk’s family looking at the Yellow Lion lying in the desert, and a clearly male Unknown Character standing next to a Garrison cruiser while gazing up at the Black Lion as it falls through the atmosphere. This character, if you look closely has the same hair and eye color as Adam. There’s nothing that definitively confirms that it’s him, but Shiro and Hunk were the ones who had the most backstory flashbacks in Season 7, and even though Shiro isn’t piloting the Black Lion, he’s still thematically associated with it. So who else but Adam would be important enough to be given a reaction shot alongside Hunk’s family when none of the other lion shots have people in them?
Two years passed between the initial invasion and Voltron’s arrival, so what happened to Adam in the interrim is anyone’s guess. He could have been captured and taken to a work camp on the opposite side of the continent from the Garrison HQ. Or he could have joined up with the rebel cell nearest to his crash site.
Alternatively, since the mystery man was seen next to a Garrison rover, he could have gone to one of the other Garrison bases in the US, since Veronica’s battle reports indicate that there’s one on the east coast, and a Freeze-Frame Bonus in the pilot puts the main headquarters in Arizona.
If the ‘Adam is still alive’ theory ends up being true, I will update this article and even write a new one about queer rep in Voltron as soon as the new episodes are released. Until then, I stand by what I wrote.
I cannot praise this article enough! Well researched, well thought out, and empathetic to the fans world wide who feel betrayed and hurt. Keep up the great work sir!
Hhhhhhnng I stan you Farid!!! They handled the rep so poorly and the media need to start realizing their homophobia. Lauren even came out and said she knew about the bury your gays trope and decided not to kill Shiro, but then went ahead and did it with Adam, Ezor and Zethrid. I’m so tired of shows just getting away with pandering. Only reason most of us watch was for promise of good rep, the show itself was always poorly written.
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