The showrunners of the revamped Voltron series which premiered on Netflix a couple of months ago said they never could have expected the level of success and admiration they received from fans nearly 24 hours after it was released.
Sitting in a crowded meeting room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, just off site at San Diego Comic-Con, Joaquim Del-Santos, Lauren Montgomery and writer Tim Hedrick told Polygon that some of their favorite moments from the first season revolved around the deeper, more emotional storylines. Going into the second season, which they announced at a panel on Thursday, they wanted to explore those themes a little more and dig deeper into the characters' backstory.
"For me, that's why I wanted to write this series in the first place," Montgomery said. "It's those moments that I love and those moments that the audience really connects with."
The three spoke about how dealing with gender issues, the death of important figures in our lives and other heavy material was an aspect they brought into the first season because they felt like the cartoon had matured, as had its audience. It was an aspect they wanted to see grow in the second season and Montgomery added she wasn't going to back down from it any time soon.
"The parts that get me worked up, those are the parts that I want to write over and over again," she said. "And we'll see more emotional moments breakthrough this season."
No one came into the project wanting to create a whole new show
Montgomery said that they knew they were doing something good with the series from the get-go, and although they were worried about encroaching on such a beloved franchise, early screenings with fans proved that the audience were just as into the more emotional tinted scenes as they were. Del-Santos added that while they were met with quite a few vocal fans who were worried before the show was released about how it would turn out, they were also the ones who ended up being the most supportive and reaching out to the cast and crew to show their admiration.
"As fans, we just had to follow our gut and trust that people were going to be on board with where we wanted to take it," Montgomery added. "There was never a time where I was thinking that one of the decisions we were making was going to be so off base that people were going to feel insulted by it."
Hedrick said no one came into the project wanting to create a whole new show. Instead, their goal was always to build upon what was originally laid out for them and make some tweaks here or there to modernize it for an entirely new audience.
Part of building that new audience and connecting with old fans comes down to social media, and all three members said that when the show came out, they hopped on sites like Twitter and Facebook to connect with fans and answer questions.
That didn't come without it's consequences, though, and both Del-Santos and Montgomery said they had to take time away from both sites in order to keep sane.
"Somebody once told me that I drew a character really creepy," Del-Santos said. "And I thought, 'Well, that's something you shouldn't say to someone.'" So I messaged him back and called him out for calling out my photo for being creepy. After that, I took some time away."
Montgomery agreed, and said while she likes to keep up to date with what fans are writing about the show — or her personal favorite, the fan art — the negativity that they sometimes come across can get to be a little much. Hedrick added that it would be the equivalent to constantly diving into the comment section on a website and, "no one ever wants to do that."
Still, working with a platform like Netflix, which is notorious for not sharing actual ratings with creators of television series, has given the trio quite a bit of confidence in their work. At first, it was admittedly weird, they agreed, but after a while it got to the point where being told you were doing an a-okay job was a nice thing to walk into every day.
"Obviously the audience reception is there because we got a second season," Del-Santos said. "And if people weren't watching it or didn't like it we wouldn't have gotten that."
Season two of Voltron will premiere later this year.