The Rise of Voltron is the first episode of Season One, and the only episode to be an hour long, as it is a three-part premiere.
Overwhelmed but ready for action, five aspiring space explorers learn they have the power to create Voltron, the most powerful robot in the universe.
On the distant Kerberos, one of Pluto's moons, Shiro, Matthew Holt, and Samuel Holt are Galaxy Garrison explorers on an expedition from Earth to collect ice samples from the moon's surface in order to study them for clues about life elsewhere in the universe. They are the first humans to have traveled so far. Suddenly, they feel a rumbling, and to their surprise, a gigantic alien warship from the Galra Empire appears. The three try to run but are captured in a beam of light.
Shiro awakens inside the alien ship where an unnamed Galra Commander is speaking with a mysterious entity about how his prisoners have no useful information. The mysterious entity orders them to be taken to the Druids at the main fleet. With his crewmates unresponsive, Shiro tries to reason with the aliens, claiming to be from a peaceful planet, but is knocked unconscious by one of their robotic Sentries. He awakens again to the murmur of voices commenting on his capture as he is being dragged along a corridor by a Sentry, and looks terrified out a window that reveals the vast expanse of the alien craft he is on.
An Unlikely Team
The Three Cadets
A year later, Lance, Hunk, and Pidge are unsteadily flying to Kerberos to rescue a downed space vessel in a simulation flight at the Galaxy Garrison. Hunk complains about motion sickness and Lance's terrible piloting, while Pidge monitors their status. The three argue continuously as they struggle to perform their mission, with Hunk vomiting in the engine's main gear box and Pidge colliding with the floor. Lance tries to fly through a rocky overhang but loses a wing on his spacecraft, resulting in a crash and ending the simulation in failure.
Iverson berates the three in front of their classmates for being a terrible team and claims errors like theirs were what caused the Kerberos Mission a year earlier to crash. Pidge yells that what he speaks is not true, but before Iverson can reply, Lance covers Pidge's mouth and claims that Pidge is still suffering from the earlier head injury. Iverson reminds Lance that he only gained fighter class because the best pilot of his class was expelled for a "discipline issue", and warns him not follow in those footsteps.
Later that night, Lance and Hunk sneak out of the barracks after curfew to grab Pidge and head out for some fun to bond as a team. However, Pidge is already leaving for the roof of the Garrison facility. Lance and Hunk follow out of curiosity. After they catch Pidge listening to some radio signals with advance self-made equipment and Lance presses for information under the belief that teams should have no secrets among them, Pidge explains that the equipment is picking up radio chatter of alien origin, and chatter much more fervent than heard on previous nights; the aliens keep mentioning the word "Voltron". Though the two other cadets are in disbelief, the alarms of the Galaxy Garrison suddenly blare, and a fiery object, not of Garrison technology, appears in the sky before crashing into the ground nearby.
The three cadets set out to examine the crash site as the Galaxy Garrison locks the site down. Pidge picks up a video feed from inside using advanced equipment, and the feed reveals Shiro to be the one inside the crashed craft. He is frantically claiming aliens are on their way. However, his appearance is different than before: white forelocks, a scar across his nose, and an unusual prosthetic arm. The Garrison technicians, Iverson among them, knock Shiro out with drugs so they can examine him. Lance immediately recognizes who Shiro is and wants to rescue him, but the three cannot figure out how to get past the guards.
There is a sudden set of explosions nearby. Although unaware of just who it is, Pidge spots the cause: Keith arriving by hovercraft, having set off explosives to draw the guards away so he can sneak in. Lance is immediately enraged, as he recognizes Keith by his mullet. Hunk and Pidge follow Lance as he rushes after Keith, refusing to be "one-upped" by him as Lance claims happened so many times before.
Keith attacks and subdues the three technicians still at the crash site with martial arts. He's surprised to unexpectedly find the unconscious Shiro inside. As he cuts Shiro from his bonds with a dagger wrapped in cloth and tries to carry him to safety, Lance intervenes and declares that he will be saving Shiro instead. Keith questions who Lance is, and Lance tries to remind him of their purported rivalry with minor success. Keith only disdainfully recalls Lance as being a cargo pilot, and congratulates him sarcastically when he learns Lance became fighter class after Keith was expelled.
The two carry Shiro outside to Keith's hovercraft as the guards start to return. Hunk climbs on board with Pidge and the rest of group, and causes the craft to tilt over. With the Garrison guards in pursuit, Keith has no choice but to fly the overcrowded vessel at full speed, using Hunk's weight to control where it turns. He manages to cause some Garrison vehicles to crash and launches his hovercraft off a cliff, safely lands it, and flies the new ragtag team into the desert to escape.
The Blue Lion
The next morning, Shiro stands outside of an old house in the desert examining his prosthetic arm. Keith approaches him, asking where he has been. Shiro tells him that he cannot recall, and asks how Keith knew to search the crash site. Keith brings him inside and shows everyone his map of the area with several notes and lines drawn on it. Keith explains that after he was expelled from the Galaxy Garrison, he felt lost and was drawn out to the desert by some kind of strange energy that drove him to search for something. He discovered several caves with carvings about a blue lion, and ones that indicated some event would be happening the previous night. Inexplicably, that happened to be Shiro's return to Earth.
Shiro introduces himself to Lance, Hunk, and Pidge. Lance is hesitant to shake Shiro's alien prosthetic, but does so. When questioned about the fate of his crew or if the aliens are nearby and ready to attack, Shiro still cannot recall anything other than the word "Voltron" and thinks it is a weapon the aliens are looking for. Hunk reveals he went through Pidge's backpack and found a picture of Pidge and "his girlfriend"; next he reveals he read Pidge's diary, but his point is that he analyzed the repeating series of numbers the aliens were searching for: a Fraunhofer Line, a number describing the emission spectrum of an element, one that does not exist on Earth. Hunk claims he can build a Geiger Counter to search for it. Seeing Hunk's graph of the line's wavelength, Keith recognizes it as matching a formation of rocks he has investigated before.
Lions and Aliens
The group heads into the desert to the location and Hunk's Geiger counter picks up a signal, leading them to a cave filled with lion carvings. Lance touches one and all the carvings light up in blue, and the floor beneath them also glows before giving way, sending them all falling into a water-filled cavern. At the bottom, they stand in awe before the massive Blue Lion sitting within a glowing blue force field. Keith wonders how they can get past it; Lance suggests knocking and lightly taps the force field. The tactic works as it disappears, and the team sees a vision of Voltron combined, revealing the Blue Lion is only a single part of what the aliens are searching for.
The Blue Lion begins to move on its own, lowering its head and opening access to its cockpit. Lance readily jumps inside and the rest soon follow him. The Lion's console activates and Lance feels the Blue Lion speaking to him in his mind, instructing him on what to do. He presses a few buttons and the Lion stands up; Lance blasts the Lion directly out of the cavern and takes off into the sky, doing rolls and somersaults in the air. His crewmates scream; Keith comically loses his calm composure and declares that Lance is the "THE WORST. PILOT. EVER."
The Blue Lion leaves Earth's atmosphere to meet the aliens arriving, notifying Lance. Hunk suggest they simply give the Lion to the aliens, but Shiro describes how evil and destructive the entire alien force is, so Hunk dismisses the idea. The team is amazed at the massive Galra Empire warship that appears. The Galra Commander of the warship is the one who captured Shiro a year earlier. The ship opens fire and Lance frantically dodges the attacks, striking the ship with his Lion's mouth cannon and claws before taking off to draw the ship away from Earth.
The Galra Commander informs Zarkon of the Blue Lion's status, and Zarkon orders him to focus only on capturing the Lion and nothing else. The ship follows Lance as he pilots the Blue Lion well past most of the solar system, arriving at Kerberos in a matter of minutes, when it normally takes Earth's spacecrafts months to arrive. Suddenly, a Wormhole appears, and though the Blue Lion wants to jump through it, Lance asks Shiro for advice as the senior officer. Shiro suggests to trust the Lion, but says that they should make the decision as a team. In the end, they all silently agree to "ditch class tomorrow", jumping through the Wormhole as it vanishes before the Galra warship can capture them.
The Sleeping Castle
After arriving on the other side of the Wormhole, Hunk vomits from the motion sickness. Shiro comments on how he recognizes none of the constellations around them, so they must be a vast distance from Earth. The Blue Lion flies towards planet Arus and enters its atmosphere. When the team starts to question their decision to trust the Lion and begins arguing, Shiro takes charge and asks Lance to focus on figuring out where they are going. The Blue Lion won't respond, but Lance claims it suddenly is making a noise - something the others hear. It turns out to be Lance farting. The crew is disgusted, but Lance points out that a destination is in view.
The Blue Lion arrives at a mysterious large castle, the Castle of Lions, which unbeknownst to them, is also a spacecraft. The Lion's arrival as it lands at the entrance prompts the Castle's power to awaken. Once the crew exits the Lion to investigate, it roars to command the Castle doors open. The team enters the dark Castle and find it eerily silent as Hunk calls out for anyone inside to no avail. Blue energy suddenly ignites in the vestibule, and a computer's voice states that their identity is being scanned but will not respond to Shiro's questions. Blue lights ignite throughout the chamber to lead the team as they walk through the Castle.
No residents seem to exist until the team find the Sleep Chamber, where a sleep pod suddenly opens and Allura falls out, landing in Lance's arms. He tries flirting with her, but she comments on how hideous his ears are. This offends him; she quickly puts him in a painful hold and questions who the new arrivals are, how they got here, and where King Alfor is. Unable to answer any of her questions, Shiro asks what she knows, so Allura introduces herself as the princess of Altea. As she checks the control console for how long she has been sleeping, Coran emerges from the other sleep pod and attacks Lance, mistaking him for an enemy. The royal advisor is easily side-stepped and the two start showing off their lackluster fighting moves.
Allura discovers that she and Coran have been sleeping for 10,000 years. She remembers the last time she saw her father, King Alfor, as Zarkon destroyed their fleet of spacecrafts and was ready to board the Castle of Lions. Allura wanted to form Voltron and continue fighting, but Alfor disagreed, thinking it better to scatter the Voltron Lions before Zarkon could take them. King Alfor cast a spell to put Allura asleep in the sleep pod, promising they would meet again if all went well, and told her that he loved her.
In the present, with what information the computer has told her, Allura states that planet Altea and its entire solar system has been destroyed, along with her father and their entire civilization, all because of Zarkon. Naming the emperor out loud triggers a memory in Shiro. Allura explains that Zarkon is the King of the Galra Empire, an enemy to freedom. Shiro remembers being his prisoner, surprising Allura that Zarkon still lives after so much time has passed. Shiro tells her that Zarkon is searching for Voltron, and she assures him that Zarkon is searching for it because it is the only thing that can defeat him, so they must acquire it before he does.
The Galra Empire
At the Galra Empire's Central Command, Haggar is scrying for information and senses the return of the Blue Lion, and the return of Altean energy. She informs Zarkon, and he is surprised that the Altean princess still lives. Haggar thinks they should reclaim what is rightfully theirs and Zarkon agrees. He declares he will take back Voltron and annihilate the Altean race completely, and then orders Haggar to contact his commanders. Zarkon speaks with Sendak on his warship and instructs him to retrieve the Voltron Lions and Allura who are closest to his location.
The Five Lions
Back at the Castle of Lions, Shiro is amazed at the Altean technology, and comments on how wonderful Altea must have been. Coran reminisces and embraces Allura as they mourn their lost people. She suddenly hears chirping, and happily discovers the Altean Mice within her sleep pod. The Castle alarms blare, indicating a Galra warship (belonging to Sendak) has locked on to their location. Lance and Keith argue again when Lance suggests that it is somehow Keith's fault; Shiro intervenes and redirects their attention to a course of action. Coran claims the Galra warship won't arrive for a few days, giving them time to find the remaining Voltron Lions.
King Alfor connected the Lions to Allura's life force, so she is able to track and sense their locations by synchronizing with the Castle's systems in the Bridge of the Castleship. She assigns a Lion to each of the Earthlings, matching them to their Quintessence. The Black Lion is within the Castle to protect it from Zarkon, and can only be freed if the other Lions are present. She's able to locate two of the remaining three: The Green Lion lies on a forest-covered Green Planet, and the Yellow Lion on a large planetoid. The Red Lion's location remains a mystery, as the Castle might need to be repaired to work at full power, so Keith remains at the Castle with the Alteans until it can be located. Coran readies a flight pod for Shiro and Pidge to retrieve the Green Lion, while Lance uses the Blue Lion to take Hunk to the Yellow Lion. Both teams use Wormholes created by the Castle to reach their locations, but they have a two-hour limit before the Wormholes close.
Retrieving the Lions
Green and Yellow
Shiro and Pidge arrive on the densely-forested Green Planet to locate the Green Lion using an Altean compass; at a river, they find a canoe with a lion-carving at its bowsprit belonging to a sloth-like alien who suddenly appears beside them, much to their surprise. The sloth-like alien recognizes the Voltron symbol on Pidge's compass and invites them to use the canoe. Pidge is hesitant, but Shiro is not guarded, since he thinks a canoe ride is nothing compared to being a prisoner of the Galra Empire for a year. The ride along the river with the sloth-like alien is pleasant and Pidge wonders if Hunk and Lance are also having an enjoyable time.
By contrast, Lance and Hunk are under heavy fire from Galra fighter jets on the planetoid. The Blue Lion is struck from the sky by missiles, but Lance is able to avoid crashing and flies towards a Galra mine that Hunk's Altean compass reveals is the Yellow Lion's location. Lance forcefully drops a panicking and crying Hunk off behind enemy lines while taking more heavy fire. Hunk is disgruntled at being left, but hot-wires a Galra lift to take him into the mine full of lion carvings which light a path to the Yellow Lion. Hunk uses a drill to get through the cave walls surrounding the massive spacecraft.
On the surface, Lance flies the Blue Lion to draw the Galra fighter jets away but notices the jets suddenly firing at the mine entrance. His attempts to stop them are in vain as, to Lance's horror, the mine entrance violently explodes from a missile strike.
Back on the Green Planet, Pidge begins expressing doubts as a Communications Specialist cadet trying to be a pilot, though admits to having read all the fighter pilot manuals. Shiro intervenes and speaks of his missing commander's advice, "If you get too worried about what could go wrong, you might miss a chance to do something great." Pidge smiles fondly. They arrive at a root-covered stone temple. The lion carvings glow at Pidge's presence. Shiro tells Pidge to "Go, be great."
Pidge climbs the summit of the temple, but finds nothing of note until a growling is heard and a light glows from beneath the tangle of roots. After Pidge jumps inside, the Green Lion powerfully breaks free from its tomb with Pidge accepted as its Paladin.
Lance, meanwhile, is still battling the Galra fighter jets and hoping Hunk still lives. He is struck by laser fire that sends the Blue Lion spiraling to the ground and leaves it staggering to recover. Lance braces for impact from Galra missiles sent to end him, but the Yellow Lion bursts from the ground to block the strike and flattens the three fighter jets with its massive body. Although Lance thinks Hunk took the fire to save him, Hunk admits he was trying to dodge, but the Yellow Lion is too slow; thankfully, the Lion has incredible armor to compensate.
More Galra fighter jets appear and bombard the two Lions with laser fire; Allura sends a message to the Blue Lion and Lance, asking them to return as she cannot hold the Wormhole open much longer. Hunk and Lance fly their Lions into the sky, but the Yellow Lion is struck and is sent twirling towards the Wormhole instead, rekindling Hunk's motion sickness. However, the two safely reach the Wormhole and return to the Castle of Lions.
After Lance and Hunk return, with Shiro and Pidge already there, Coran reveals to everyone that the Red Lion has been found: it is on the Galra warship currently orbiting Arus. Coran admits to miscalculating the amount of time the warship would need to reach them. The warship's commander, Sendak, sends a video transmission to the Castleship proclaiming his intent to destroy Arus if the Lions are not handed over.
Shiro tells everyone not to panic but the team begins arguing over what should be done. Hunk points out how they do not have all the Lions needed to form Voltron, and how this is the perfect time to panic, but Allura tries to reassure everyone when she remembers the Castle of Lions can defend itself with a particle barrier. However, the Castle scanners show the ion cannon on Sendak's warship is more advanced and powerful than the Galra technology 10,000 years ago. Lance suggests fleeing to fight another day and Hunk agrees. Keith and Pidge desire to stay and fight. The argument escalates until Shiro loses his patience and interjects, asking Allura to make the decision as the one most experienced fighting the Galra Empire.
Allura, however, remains at a loss; Coran, to her bewilderment, suggests seeking advice from her deceased father, King Alfor, and takes her to the Memory Chamber. He explains that Alfor knew of the possibility he would not see his daughter again, and so Alfor stored his memories within the Castleship's computer. Allura approaches the computer and its strange orb of light, which bursts and changes the room to an image of planet Altea. She greets the holographic image of her father's artificial intelligence as if he were real, and he responds in turn. Allura admits her fear of the situation and asks Alfor what should be done. At first, the King recounts his decision to hide the Lions 10,000 years prior for the greater good, and Allura believes this should be repeated. However, Alfor laments his grave mistake that cost the universe countless lives, and tells Allura that back then, she was right, and now she should sacrifice everything to amend his mistake and form Voltron to defeat Zarkon.
Allura is reaffirmed in her will to fight. She discards her royal gown and dons a space suit by the time she returns to the Bridge. Allura tells her new Paladins that they were brought here for a reason, destined to fly the Voltron Lions and form Voltron as the universe's only hope. The Paladins are ready to follow her command.
In the Armory, the Paladins don their suits of armor and each receive a Bayard, the traditional weapon of a Paladin of Voltron, one that changes form to best suit its user. Hunk's Bayard becomes a large cannon; Keith's Bayard becomes a katar. Lance's Bayard becomes a rifle, while Pidge's becomes a small grappling hook with a knife head, leading Lance to jest about how "cute" it is, but Pidge proves how dangerous the Bayard is by striking Lance with it, which painfully electrocutes him. Allura explains that the Black Bayard was lost with its Paladin, leaving Shiro defenseless, but he accepts this in stride.
The Red Lion
Keith wonders how he will locate the Red Lion on Sendak's impressively massive warship. His fellow Paladins assure him he will be able to sense the Lion's presence, similar to the energy he felt from the Blue Lion in the desert on Earth. Allura warns him that the Red Lion is extremely temperamental, however, and its respect must be earned. Shiro explains their plan: while Lance and Hunk act as if they are relinquishing their Lions to Sendak, Pidge will fly the Green Lion to the underside of the warship, as the Galra are not aware they have it. Pidge uses the Green Bayard to cut a hole and infiltrate the warship along with Keith and Shiro as the Green Lion rests under the warship.
The plan succeeds, but Sendak is alerted to their treachery when Lance and Hunk dodge his warship's tractor beam to avoid capture. Fighter jets deploy from the warship, and Lance battles them with the Blue Lion as Hunk focuses on dismantling the powerful ion cannon.
Inside the warship, Pidge is slated to guard the Paladin's exit; Shiro has a flashback and recalls being on the very same warship before, brought there after the Galra Commander captured him in the first warship encountered on Kerberos. Pidge suggests the other Kerberos Mission crewmen might still be on Sendak's warship, but Shiro claims they do not have the time. While pained, he is inclined to make the harsh decision and leave them to prioritize acquiring the Red Lion and returning to defend Arus. Pidge protests, believing they cannot abandon prisoners, and reveals the missing crewmen are family: Samuel Holt is Pidge's father, and Matthew Holt is Pidge's brother.
Pidge admits to searching for them since they went missing and refuses to give up searching now. Although Pidge turns to leave, Shiro agrees to search as well because he remembers where the prison cells are, meaning Keith will have to find the Red Lion alone. This leaves Keith uncertain, but Shiro believes he will be fine and reminds him that "patience yields focus". The three are forced to split ways without further discussion when a door opens and Galra Sentries approach.
Keith runs along a corridor but finds himself lost at an intersecting one. He is distracted by a glowing Galra emblem on the wall of the warship. Centered beneath the emblem with its reflection on his helmet, Keith stares at the strange symbol with narrowed eyes until the sound of Galra Sentries approaching reminds him of his goal.
Out in space, Hunk tries slamming into the warship's ion cannon but is blocked by a force field. On Arus, Allura struggles to get the particle barrier activated because the barrier crystals are out of alignment. Neither she nor Coran can easily fix this, as the hole to access them is so tiny. The Altean Mice crawl inside and realign the crystals for them; Allura can hear the mice talking to her, and believes their minds are connected to hers because they shared the same sleep pod for 10,000 years. Coran's attempt to tell the mice to make him a sandwich only earns Allura's lack of amusement.
Keith rushes through the Galra warship but ends up at the same Galra emblem as before, much to his frustration. He recalls Shiro's earlier words of "patience yields focus", and calms himself to focus inwardly. Throughout the warship, he is finally able to sense the Red Lion and runs off to claim it.Elsewhere on the warship, Shiro and Pidge encounter a Galra drone. Pidge strikes it with a beam from the Green Paladin armor before it can react. Shiro warns that they have been spotted and need to leave, but Pidge reconfigures the drone to work for them and names it Rover. Rover opens the prisoner cell for them, but only aliens are found inside. One prisoner, Xi, recognizes Shiro and surprisingly calls him "Champion". Pidge, disappointed no family members are found among the prisoners, insists for them to quickly leave using the warship's escape pods.
Keith, meanwhile, approaches the Red Lion held in place by its own force field and the warship's structures. Although he speaks to the Red Lion and touches its force field, no reaction occurs. Keith frustratingly yells to the Lion to no avail and knocks on the force field. His shouts draw the attention and laser fire of robot Galra Sentries. At first, Keith summons his shield to block the onslaught and yells for the Red Lion to accept him. When this fails, Keith battles the Sentries until he is knocked back; his snap decision to unlock the airlock doors and send the Sentries into space succeeds, but Keith himself is sucked outside after holding on for dear life and being hit by debris. Impressed with this display, the Red Lion finally awakens and catches Keith in its mouth, accepting him as its Paladin.
As Shiro and Pidge direct the prisoners to the escape pod, Galra Sentries surround them. This triggers Shiro's prosthetic arm to activate painfully, glowing a mysterious purple and black. The sound of Pidge's voice becomes distorted to him until Shiro settles, and he rushes the Sentries. Shiro strikes with speed and strength not seen before, and his prosthetic arms allows him to cut through the robots with ease. Xi thanks Shiro as he leaves with the other aliens in the escape pod, but provides him no explanation for why he knows Shiro. Pidge is impressed with Shiro's fighting and asks where he learned to use his arm like that; Shiro has no clue.
Hunk is finally able to destroy the force field surrounding the ion cannon with the Yellow Lion's mouth cannon, and slams the Lion into the cannon to disfigure it. With the plan successful, all four Lions return to Arus. Sendak is enraged and orders the cannon fired, but Haxus relays the bad new of the ion cannon being out of commission. They must wait for it to be fixed before they can destroy the planet.
Inside the Castle of Lions, Shiro stands in a large chamber with the four claimed Lions whose lights begin to glow. In the Bridge of the Castleship, Allura prays that the Black Lion is freed and accepts its new Paladin. The door before Shiro activates and opens to reveal the Black Lion, the core of Voltron and the largest of all the Lions. Upon being freed, the Black Lion activates and roars, and the other Lions roar in response, showing the acceptance of Shiro as the new Black Paladin. The Alteans' relief is short-lived, as Sendak's warship enters the atmosphere and prompts the alarms of the Castleship to blare. The five Voltron Lions launch from the Castleship but remain inside the particle barrier. A wise decision, as the warship blasts them with the repaired ion cannon.
The team is shaken, but survives the blast. Coran warns that each blast will weaken the barrier, and Allura urges the new Paladins to form Voltron. A second blast from the ion cannon shakes them again, but Shiro encourages his team to throw everything they have into fighting. When asked if they are with him, the other four Paladins nod, albeit silently without any vocal affirmation. Hunk asks if everyone nodded like he did, which they all unenthusiastically confirm.
The Lions run forward and exit the barrier, drawing heavy fire from Galra fighter jets; all of the Paladins are unsure of how to form Voltron since there is not even a button anywhere on the control dashboards for combining into a giant robot. Pidge becomes frustrated with the Galra's constant barrage and throws one of the fighter jets into another with the Green Lion. Keith destroys two more with the Red Lion's tail cannon; Hunk tries combining by literally slamming into the Red Lion with the Yellow Lion. It fails, only angering Keith.
Seeing Allura struggle as she warns them the barrier's power is depleting, Shiro prompts the team to fly in formation, hoping the Lions will combine. Although they do, it only throws the Lions directly into the tractor beam of Sendak's warship. With the beam freezing the Lions and dragging them closer, Sendak orders a message of victory be sent to Zarkon. Another blast of the ion cannon destroys the particle barrier surrounding the Castle of Lions and Allura watches in horror as the Lions are dragged away. Hunk sends a video transmission to Shiro declaring that he is finally going to panic, and starts screaming. Pidge does not want things to end this way, but Keith and Lance seem to give up.
With the situation so dire, Shiro declares they cannot give up, that they must believe in themselves as the universe's only hope, a team that will win if they work together. His empowering speech boosts the Paladins' morale and unites their hearts. The Lions glow with power and break free from the tractor beam, combining to form Voltron with the Black Lion as the head and torso, the Red Lion as the right arm, the Green Lion as the left arm, and the Blue Lion and Yellow Lion as the right leg and left leg. They form at just the right moment, able to divert the ion cannon from destroying the Castle of Lions by simply punching the cannon.
The team is excited and relieved, albeit confused how they finally combined. Voltron easily tears the ion cannon from the Galra warship and tosses it to the planet surface, then punches the Red Lion through the hull. Keith uses the Lion's mouth cannon to blast the inside of the warship, nearly blowing the ship in two. Voltron does the same using the Green Lion, closer to Sendak and Haxus' positions, so they flee from the warship in an escape pod. The Paladins send Voltron flying through the ship's engines, causing the Galra warship to finally explode into a mass of flame and shrapnel.
Allura and Coran happily greet the exhausted Paladins in front of the Castle of Lions. The new Paladins are proud of themselves, but still lost as to how they managed to win. Pidge looks dejected at not finding the missing Holts, but Shiro assures that they will continue to search for Sam and Matt, and that Pidge's family would be proud of how far Pidge has come and the victory won today. Pidge smiles from this reassurance.
Allura warns them that one victory will not be the end of things, as Zarkon will not stop until he claims all five Voltron Lions. Much to the new Paladins' apprehension, Coran states they will have to form Voltron over and over to fight entire fleets of Galra spacecrafts, although they barely survived a single warship and have no clue how Voltron formed. However, Coran tells them that being the "Defenders of the Universe" will not be an easy task, and this title catches their attention. The Paladins all turn to their Lions; Shiro thinks the title has a nice ring to it, and the smiles on the faces of his fellow Paladins show they think the same.