Warning: This post contains spoilers from the season 6 finale of Voltron: Legendary Defender. Read at your own risk!

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the season 6 finale of Voltron: Legendary Defender. Read at your own risk!

The Paladins have a long journey ahead of them after Voltron: Legendary Defender‘s climactic season 6 finale.

The Netflix-Dreamworks animated series’ sixth season ended with the Paladins’ alliance with Lotor falling apart once they learned his full plan. The former-allies actually came to blows in the climactic finale, which saw Lotor debut his own quintessence-powered, Voltron-esque machine. Thankfully, Team Voltron was able to defeat Lotor, who had gone mad with power after entering the quintessence field. However, that wasn’t the only major development in the season.

Elsewhere, Keith was reunited with his mother, who turned out to be Krolia, and the Paladins finally discovered that the Shiro who’s been with them since season 3 wasn’t the real Shiro but a clone planted by the witch Haggar. But the real Shiro wasn’t lost forever because his essence has been trapped inside the Black Lion. After the final battle, Allura used her new powers to put Shiro’s essence into the body of one of the clones.

With all of that resolved, the Paladins set their sights on their next adventure: returning home. However, executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery tell EW that the journey home won’t be easy. Read on below for our postmortem with the showrunners.

Let’s talk about the Monster & Manna episode. Where did the idea for that entire episode come from?
JOAQUIM DOS SANTOS: One, Mitch Iverson is a huge D&D fan, and both Lauren and I play a ton of RPGs and JRPGs. I go back to like Nintendo, Super Nintendo. Lauren, I think you might have started on Playstation?
LAUREN MONTGOMERY: I started a little on the OG Nintendo, but mostly Playstation. And yeah, it was always our want to make a RPG episode, and I think that eventually evolved into Dungeons and Dragons and everything that RPGs involve, not just the video game side of it.
DOS SANTOS: We kind of threw everything in there.
MONTGOMERY: When we found out that Mitch plays Dungeons and Dragons regularly, it seemed natural that we would have Mitch write that episode.

What made this the right time to drop a playful episode like that in?
DOS SANTOS: It’s a moment of relaxation in the overall story. Lotor is kind of in a chill spot working alongside Laura, a bit of a respite.
MONTOMGERY: They’ve got some breathing room now. They don’t have Zarkon constantly pursuing them and trying to murder them, so they actually can take a little bit of time to figure out the Galra Empire, and Lotor and Allura are working on these ships that will hopefully solve all of their problems and bring about peace. So it just seemed like a nice quiet moment where these characters could take this time and you wouldn’t feel like they were being a-holes slacking while these people are dying on this planet.
DOS SANTOS: I will say one thing we don’t take into consideration just because we don’t have the time and it wouldn’t be the most compelling thing in the world is travel time in our universe. They’ve gotta do something to pass the time. They can’t be constantly working on the ship, so this is one of the things they do.

Season 6 finally revealed Lotor’s ultimate plan and we realized that he hasn’t been totally upfront with the Paladins. When you introduced Lotor, did you always intend for his arc to end with him essentially becoming Zarkon?
DOS SANTOS: I think the angle, though, is that there is a genuine element of truth to everything he says. He wants things to work out. He’s not just a power hungry crazy dude who wants to destroy the universe. He snaps obviously. His methods were skewed, but his intentions were true.
MONTGOMERY: I think we knew all along that this was going to be the character that everyone wanted to become the good guy of the Paladins, and we knew that we weren’t going to let that play out. We would happily tease it and take it down that road, but ultimately, the worst side of him was going to be the thing that got the better of him.
DOS SANTOS: We kept saying in the room, because we all come from Avatar: The Last Airbender, “We’re going to get him right to Zuko, and then we’re going to pull it all away.”
MONTGOMERY: And then he’s going to go straight Azula.

Credit: Netflix

This season felt like a culmination of these first 52 episodes, and now we’re entering a new phase of the story. Did you guys feel that way as well, that you had put a period on a part of the story?
MONTGOMERY: We’ve done our Zarkon arc, we’ve done our Lotor arc, and now they’re going to have a new thing to face. It’s going to have a new energy in the same way that Lotor had a different energy from Zarkon. We’re always excited about changing that story because you don’t want to stay in one place for too long, things can get stagnant or repetitive. It’s always interesting to just throw new things at the characters, and we hope people enjoy seeing their journey.
DOS SANTOS: There might be people who are like, “Oh, it’s changed this way or that way and I’m not…” but all that change has been happening through the course of the series.
MONTGOMERY: Don’t be afraid of change!
DOS SANTOS: Change is good.

The Shiro twist has been building for quite some time, too. Where did the idea come from to stretch this mystery out for so long?
DOS SANTOS: I think at some point during our story development we came up with the idea that Shiro’s essence would be trapped within the Black Lion. From there, it was just, “How do we work our way back to Shiro husk getting the proper essence put inside of him?” It was just sort of seeing how long we wanted to take with all that.
MONTGOMERY: We really knew that we wanted to keep our tried and true, stable and dependable Shiro out of the story for a decent amount of time to allow a lot of the other characters to grow. We have this Shiro replacement, who starts in a very similar place as the Shiro we know, but ultimately kind of devolves. So, it was a bit of a monkey wrench in the plan, [which means] Allura has to step up, Lance has to step up. It’s just a good compelling thing to have them work against.
DOS SANTOS: I like the idea that they played D&D with clone guy. That just makes me happy for some reason.

I’m not sure how far along you guys are with the next few episodes. Can you tease how returning to Earth will present new challenges for the Paladins?
DOS SANTOS: I think just hearing the words, “We’re going home” that automatically says things are going to be a bit more personal.
MONTGOMERY: I want to say just the journey home itself is going to be a bit of a challenge because at the end of the season 6, they’re out a castle ship, which means they’re out of wormholes. So it’s not just going to be a snap your fingers and we’re home sort of situation.

The complete sixth season is available on Netflix now.

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