|“||The Black Lion is the decisive head of Voltron. It will take a pilot who is a born leader and in control at all times, someone whose men will follow without hesitation.||”|
The Black Lion is the Lion that forms the core of Voltron as its head and torso. The current Black Paladin who pilots the Lion is Shiro until Zarkon's initial defeat and Shiro's mysterious disappearance, when Keith overtakes piloting the Lion. Its original Paladin was Zarkon.
Not much is known of the origins of the Black Lion. It was created ten thousand years ago by King Alfor after a comet collided with Zarkon's home planet, during a time when planet Altea held an alliance with the Galrans. King Alfor built the Black Lion from the material found in the comet and Zarkon became the Black Paladin. However, once Zarkon's obsession with Voltron's power led him to violently betray Alfor and the Alteans, the Black Lion was locked within the Castle of Lions, along with Allura and Coran, and the Castle was left on Arus. The remaining Voltron Lions were scattered to hidden locations across the universe so they would not fall into Zarkon's hands, and the only way the Black Lion could be freed from the Castleship was if the four Lions returned. Alfor met his end by unknown means, and the Altean race was destroyed along with planet Altea and its entire solar system. Zarkon successfully conquered most of the known universe, believing Alfor's claim that the Lions had been destroyed.
Ten thousand years later, once Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Keith acquire the missing four Lions, the Black Lion is unlocked from the Castle and accepts Shiro as its Paladin. However, the Lion retains a connection to Zarkon, allowing him to locate it until Shiro mentally battles the emperor and earns the Lion's favor.
Weapons & Abilities
The Black Lion is the largest of the Lions and said to be the most skilled in combat, as well as the smartest, strongest, and most difficult Lion to fly, demanding the most energy from its Paladin.
- Claws: At each of the Lion's paws, tough enough to damage armor of a Galra warship.
- Tail Laser: Mounted at the tip of the Lion's tail and moderately damages targets at long range.
- Mouth Cannon: Mounted within the Lion's jaws and severely damages targets at long range.
- Jaw Blade: Summoned at the Lion's jaws, and is dual-bladed for cutting targets at close range. It can be tossed like a boomerang.
- Force Field: When stationary, the Lion can activate an impassible energy sphere to encase and protect itself. The force field will react to a chosen Paladin and dissipate, or be willingly disengaged by the Lion.
- Speeder: A small transportation vehicle unique in design for its Paladin to traverse environments; the speeder drops from the Lion's chest, and is stored in the Castle of Lions when the Lion is not in use, transporting the Paladin to the Lion when needed.
- Thrusters: Mounted on each of the Lion's back legs and on all four paws; these powerful engines are used for initiating flight, increasing speed, or slowing descent.
Once Voltron is formed, the Lion allows a weapon to be summoned when combined with a Bayard. The nature of the weapon depends on the Paladin wielding the Bayard, not the Bayard or Lion itself. When multiple Bayards are combined with respective Lions, the summoned weapon is upgraded into a more powerful form.
The Black Lion has an affinity with the element of sky and the cosmos at large. It is able to unlock a boost in power and speed that is unleashed when the Lion unfurls its wings into an expanded form called Ephemeral Blades or Bladed Wings, allowing it to vanquish enemies instantly and phase through physical objects.
- Shield: When formed as Voltron, the Lion's wings can detach from the robot and combine together to form a shield.
- Wing Thrusters: The Lion's wings contain powerful engines for initiating flight, increasing speed, or slowing descent.
Through his mental connection to the Black Lion, Shiro can see through the Lion's own eyes while piloting, and the Lion is capable of instructing Shiro on the next course of action during battle; more notably, it is capable of showing Shiro images of the past within his mind, including its form as a comet prior to becoming a spacecraft, as well as images of the present, such as Zarkon's husk of a home planet outside the Lion's displays. The experiences seem real enough that Shiro mistakes he flies at high speeds, feels turbulence, and actually travels from the Castle of Lions to the planet, when in reality the Lion never leaves the Castleship.
This mental connection also allows its Paladin's essence to travel to mysterious realm where if the Paladin dies, their body in the physical realm will die as well, but while they feel all pain dealt to them, the sustained wounds do not appear on the Paladin's physical body.
- If all Lions are built to standard, the Lion can be entered and exited through the mouth, the top of its head, or through its chest with its speeder. It would also have an emergency eject function to drop passengers from the cockpit floor like the Blue Lion.
- The Black Lion has been piloted by more Paladins than any other Lion, with Zarkon, Shiro, and Keith each piloting it.
- At one point during production, Christine Bian, the series design supervisor, unintentionally designed the Black Lion to look like a zebra.