One of the biggest revelations from this year’s Voltron: Legendary Defender panel at San Diego Comic-Con was the revelation that Shiro — former Paladin of the Black Lion and leader extraordinaire — is gay and, prior to his departure, romantically involved with another Garrison officer named Adam. Following a screening of the first episode of the season titled “A Little Adventure,” Voltron: Legendary Defender showrunners Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery confirmed that Shiro left his boyfriend to go on the Kerberos mission that kicked off the series.
After viewing all of season seven, Polygon spoke with Dos Santos and Montgomery about Adam, who shared insight into Adam’s character, his role in this season and more importantly, his role in Shiro’s development.
If you haven’t watched the new season of Voltron yet, and aren’t familiar with Shiro and Adam’s arc, we suggest seeing it for yourself, then coming back to hear from the creators.
[Warning: Major spoilers for Season 7 of Voltron: Legendary Defender ahead.]
We’re introduced to Adam through an argument with Shiro over the Kerberos mission. Shiro complains to his boyfriend that the Garrison is trying to stop him from accepting the mission due to a condition that requires him to wear bracelets that electrically stimulate his muscles. Adam takes the military’s side rather than Shiro’s, and eventually leaves after giving an ultimatum: “If you decide to go, don’t expect me to be here when you come back.”
Adam and Shiro’s relationship also highlights Shiro’s maturity vis-à-vis the other Paladins. Even before leaving for the Kerberos mission, Shiro was managing his career, a longterm relationship and an illness that would limit his years in action. “He was already more fully-formed,” Dos Santos explained, “and dealing with his own health and choosing the mission over his relationship.”
More innocent times — or rather, pre-Galra times — made the decision an easier one. “[Shiro] did give up this relationship with this amazing man to go pursue his career when everything was kind of comfortable and innocent,” Montgomery elaborated. Season seven gave us the most extensive look at the pre-Kerberos world since the beginning of the series, and after six seasons of fighting the Galra the difference is shocking — careers take precedence over people and health falls to the wayside in favor of ambition.
However, when times change, so does decision-making. “I think when real tragedy strikes it kind of snaps things into sharp focus,” Montgomery added. “And you start to realize how much [Shiro] may have taken Adam for granted and how much he didn’t appreciate him when he could have.”
In “The Last Stand, Part 2,” we see Adam perish in a dogfight alongside the rest of his squadron, their ships no match for the incoming Galra fleet. Pending any deus extraterrestrial machina, he and Shiro won’t get another chance. But the end of the relationship doesn’t mean that Adam has lost his impact. As a team leader and one of the first from Earth to die at the hands of the Galra, he’s particularly significant to Earth’s resistance.
“If you look at Adam on the whole in regards to the Earth campaign ... there’s a huge battle that happens,” Dos Santos told Polygon. “Adam represents the loss that our characters feel with what Earth is going through in battling with the Galra.”
Montgomery revealed that Adam and Shiro were cut from the same cloth, citing Adam’s willingness to leap into danger as something particularly Shiro-like.
“I think the biggest takeaway for us as far as Adam is concerned is how much he didn’t even question going out into that fight,” Montgomery said. “When the call was made that we need to defend Earth, he and the rest of his squadron went out and did exactly what they were gonna do, exactly the same way that Shiro would have done.”
Adam was only a part of Voltron: Legendary Defender for a short period of time, but Montgomery and Dos Santos’ remarks highlight his impact on the series as a whole.
Seasons one through seven of Voltron: Legendary Defender are currently available on Netflix, and the final season will premiere later this year.