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After getting booted from the Garrison, I was kinda... lost and... felt myself drawn out to this place. It's like something... some energy, was telling me to search.

—Keith, in "The Rise of Voltron"

Keith is an expelled ace pilot cadet from the Galaxy Garrison who functions as a Paladin of Voltron fighting the Galra Empire, piloting both the Red Lion and the Black Lion. He has Galran heritage rooted in the Galra rebel faction called the Blade of Marmora, which he decides to join, leaving Team Voltron so that "Shiro" can return as the Black Paladin. When the truth is revealed about "Shiro's" status as a clone, Keith returns to being the Black Paladin instead.

Appearance

Keith has the appearance a lean older teenager with pale skin, black hair, fairly thick eyebrows, and blue-gray eyes that seem purple in certain lighting. Keith's hair is described as a mullet.[5] He has uneven-cut bangs that tend to sweep to the left of his face, length averaging just under his eyes, but framing his face slightly longer and curled at his cheekbones. The rest of his hair reaches the base of his neck, wildly flaring out in curved strands that tend to sit on top of his coat collar or armor. He has two strands of hair that sprout from the top of his head. Of the Paladins, Keith is the second-shortest, beating only Pidge in height.[5] He gains a scar on the right side of his face after fighting "Shiro".

In his Paladin armor, Keith's uniform mirrors his fellow Paladins but with red accents to match that of his Lion.

When he is not in his Paladin armor, Keith wears a dark blue-gray t-shirt underneath a red, white, and yellow jacket cropped to his ribcage, with the large cuffs of the jacket rolled up to expose their white color. The collar of the jacket stands propped upright.

Keith wears black pants that his shirt overlaps; his boots are white with black and red accents. His black gloves are fingerless and expose part of his hand before strapping together over the wrist. At his waist, Keith wears a brown utility belt with a silver rectangular buckle in the center and two lighter brown pouches at either hip. Strapped to the belt at his lower back is a silver-colored and double-bladed knife with a black pommel, often kept wrapped in cloth and sheathed in a gray and silver scabbard. The blade is inscribed with a glowing emblem of the Blade of Marmora on its guard.

While Keith normally appears to be completely human, he has been shown to display Galran traits such as yellow sclera, feline pupils, and sharpened teeth during moments of extreme stress and emotion.

Personality

The Red Lion is temperamental and the most difficult to master. It's faster and more agile than the others, but also more unstable. Its pilot needs to be someone who relies more on instincts than skill alone.

Allura describing the Red Lion, in "The Rise of Voltron"

Normally reserved, quiet, and calm, Keith is quick to give sarcastic quips and blunt commentary. He is a competitive and pragmatic person who favors following his instincts above all else and will take initiative regardless of the danger and challenge, which can lead to impressive accomplishments. He is not overtly confident, but is aware of his skills and strengths to have trust in them and will ask others to do the same.[5]

While a grounded and logical thinker, he is susceptible to his honest emotions: his rebellious and impulsive nature leads him to be foiled by his own frustration, temper, and unwavering desire to defeat the Galra Empire; he often must reel himself in with patience and focus or ally input to cool his head. Keith has embraced his role as a Paladin to near extremes and places such high value on the stakes of the team's mission of defending the universe that his pragmatism causes disconnect and misunderstanding between himself and the other Paladins, making him seem cold, uncaring, and selfish. This, coupled with his temper and emotional instability, is not aided by Keith's difficulty opening up to anyone personally on the Voltron team - though Keith knows very little about his own past to tell.

In truth, Keith is prone to self-consciousness and fears being rejected by others due to the loss of his parents as a child, feeling that he was abandoned, and he tends to keep people at a distance and shut them out before they can reject him first in order to protect himself.[6] For all his seriousness, Keith is hardly stoic and is capable of loosening up and enjoying a good bout of fun, happily engaging in or instigating some of the team’s playful antics.[7][8][9] He places as much value on the members of his team as he does his mission and makes honest effort to connect with them no matter how often he scolds someone for their lack of focus. He is not fond of the idea of abandoning a teammate, even if he considers it thinking as a Paladin to weigh the greater good over a single life.[8][10]

Keith is highly observant of his team's well-being and will rush to protect or avenge them when needed even if it means putting himself directly in harm's way, and this self-sacrificial nature is something he extends to the Red Lion to prove his worth, as well as when he confronts the mystery of Galran heritage. Though desperate to know the truth about himself, he willingly puts his selfish desires aside to fulfill his duty as a Paladin.[11] Keith is equally able to accept that one evil is not the representative of all of its kind, but does not fault Allura's shunning of him for his Galran heritage and only uses it as fuel to prove he has a rightful place on the Voltron team until they make amends. Following his brief experience as leader piloting the Black Lion, his decision to leave Team Voltron only occurs so that "Shiro" may return as the Black Paladin, as Keith constantly compares himself to Shiro, who guided him in his youth, and feels the man is a better leader than himself. It is only after meeting his mother, Krolia, and bonding with her for two years that Keith stabilizes and matures as a person, returning to the mantle of Black Paladin once "Shiro", truly a clone, turns against the team.

It is clear that Keith has an immense sense of justice, selflessness, and the desire to fight alongside his team to bring light to the darkest time of the universe despite what costs may come.

Abilities

Equipment

Apart from piloting the Red Lion and Black Lion, Keith utilizes this equipment:

PaladinV
Bayard
Takes the form of a long katar.
Paladin Armor
Armor that allows for safe travel in space; it contains a highly advanced computer system, communication system, a laser gun, a grappling hook and tether, holographic capabilities, an energy shield for defense, breathable air, and a jetpack for brief sustained flight.[12]
Explosives
On Earth, Keith detonated explosives to divert attention away from Shiro's quarantined crash site, showing knowledge of guerrilla tactics and bombs.[5]
Hovercraft
A one-man red hoverbike owned by Keith on Earth.
Marmora Armor
Armor specialized for the Blade of Marmora that allows safe travel in space; it contains a highly advanced computer system, communication system, an identity-concealing helmet that can disappear and reappear at will, and breathable air.[13]
Marmora Blade
A small double-edged knife made of luxite that can manifest into a larger, single-edge blade when activated by Keith's Galran heritage.[11]

Skill Set

You fight like a Galra soldier.

Zarkon battling Keith, in "The Black Paladin"

Combat

Keith's specialty lies in close-combat with martial arts and bladed sidearms, using a fighting style said to be more Galran than human.[10][1] He is a skilled and aggressive martial artist able to take down Garrison technicians in mere moments with a few powerful strikes.[5] Keith's agility stats are officially the highest;[4][1] his battle strength lies mainly in his physical speed, his trust in his instincts, his quick adaptation to changes on the battlefield, and his sheer determination to succeed. While Keith's instincts allow him to react quickly, it makes him less observant of his surroundings and more susceptible to surprise attacks.[14]

Piloting

At the Galaxy Garrison, Keith was the top pilot of his class.[5] This legacy hold true to his piloting as a Paladin, making him one of the most skilled pilots on the team, and trusted with dangerous feats such as safely navigating a field of ricocheting asteroids or flying near a black hole.[15][11]

Other Abilities

PaladinV
Galran Heritage
Allows Keith to interface with Galran technology so he can open locked doors in Galra structures and activate Galra computer consoles; other non-Galran characters must use Shiro's prosthetic arm or the hands of Galra Sentry robots.[16][17] This heritage grants him the ability to activate his Marmora blade into its awakened form.[11]

Trivia

  • Keith's full name has not been revealed. His mother, Krolia, wanted to name him "Yurak", but his father suggested "Keith" instead. Yurak is the original character from Defender of the Universe on which Sendak is based.
  • Of the human Paladins, Keith's human ethnicity has not been revealed.
  • Unlike the other Paladins, Keith's birth date was not revealed on social media, but instead first published in The Paladin's Handbook.
  • Keith is fond of the outdoors because of how quiet nature is.[9]
  • Keith is ambidextrous, as he switches using his Bayard and shield between both arms, sometimes in the same episode.[5][25][16][26]
  • It should be noted that, although reverted to normal by the healing power of Quintessence, Keith's hand becomes an oddly-discolored and patterned purple-gray when he is injured by the dark magic of a Galra Druid.[16]
  • On Coran's height ranking for the Paladins of 1-5 (tallest to shortest), Lauren Montgomery approves that Keith is ranked second-shortest at "Number Four".[7][27]
  • Keith's design originally consisted of white hair (which he would dye black) and fangs. These ideas were later scrapped due to making his Galran heritage too obvious.[28]
  • Keith is based on the character Keith of the previous Voltron franchises, who in turn was based on the character Akira Kogane of Beast King GoLion.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Guidebook: "The Paladin's Handbook"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Season Six: Episode 2, "Razor's Edge"
  3. Guidebook: "The Voltron Coalition Handbook"
  4. 4.0 4.1 Voltron: Legendary Defender Official Website
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Season One: Episode 1, "The Rise of Voltron"
  6. Keith's Vlog
  7. 7.0 7.1 Season One: Episode 2, "Some Assembly Required"
  8. 8.0 8.1 Season One: Episode 4, "The Fall of the Castle of Lions"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Season Two: Episode 4, "Greening the Cube"
  10. 10.0 10.1 Season One: Episode 11, "The Black Paladin"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Season Two: Episode 8, "The Blade of Marmora"
  12. Paladin Article
  13. Season Four: Episode 1, "Code of Honor"
  14. Comic: Vol. 1 Issue #4
  15. Season One: Episode 6, "Taking Flight"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Season One: Episode 10, "Collection and Extraction"
  17. Season Two: Episode 12, "Best Laid Plans"
  18. San Diego Comic-Con 2016
  19. Comic Synopses
  20. Den of Geek: Is the Paladin's Handbook Canon? August 2017
  21. AfterBuzzTV with Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, August 2017
  22. ComicBook: "Voltron: Legendary Defender Showrunners Explain Keith's Big Change in Season 6", June 2018
  23. Season Two: Episode 1, "Across the Universe"
  24. Season Three: Episode 2, "Red Paladin"
  25. Season One: Episode 9, "Crystal Venom"
  26. Season Three: Episode 6, "Tailing a Comet"
  27. Lauren responding to Let's Voltron host on Twitter.
  28. 3 Black Geeks: "San Diego Comic Con 2017: Voltron Legendary Defender Producers Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos", August 2017

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