|“||There is no place in this universe beyond my vision's reach.||”|
—Zarkon, in "Eye of the Storm"
Emperor Zarkon is the former ruler of Planet Daibazaal and the original Black Paladin who rules the Galra Empire that has conquered almost all of the known universe over the past ten thousand years. Corruption from massive amounts of Quintessence and the darkness of an alternate reality led Zarkon to violently turn against King Alfor and attempt to claim Voltron for himself. Once believing the Lions were destroyed, he now seeks to reclaim the Black Lion from Shiro and capture Voltron's combined power.
His desire soon becomes an obsession that leads to his downfall and defeat at the hands of Voltron's team and allies after an epic battle between the robot and the emperor's own massive robotic suit. Zarkon remains in a comatose state, surviving only from Haggar's care and a machine infusing him with Quintessence. This dire state forces the witch to summon Zarkon's exiled son, Prince Lotor, to lead in his place.
Zarkon has the appearance of a tall Galran male with gray skin and glowing violet eyes that have no visible pupils or irises, although his eyes were originally comprised of red irises, visible pupils, and yellow sclerae prior to his corruption by Quintessence. His skin was also once much less pale and more purple in color. Zarkon's face is angular and square, but thin, as his skin has receded to give him prominent cheekbones and a withered appearance befitting of a revived corpse.
He has pointed ears with elongated lower lobes, a dark gray plated scalp, thick eyebrows, and two dark growths on either side of his jawline - all of which are kept mostly hidden under his maroon and gray crown; this headpiece covers the front of his scalp, extending down the length of his flat nose much like his plated scalp, and frames the length of his jaws, leaving his face and chin exposed. He has a scar extending from under his left eye down across his mouth, which has noticeably jagged lips reminiscent of fangs - although Zarkon has a true set of pointed teeth underneath.
Additionally, Zarkon tends to wear a royal robe over his armor and black cape. This attire is comprised of gray armor with large and high-set pauldrons, and a plated front resembling the symbol of the Galra Empire. It is accented with various glowing violet areas at his neck, shoulders, back, and chest. The robes contain a long maroon cape to cover his entire body and drag along the floor, with a darker maroon cloth hanging at the front, accented near the hem with more gray design.
Ruthless and obsessed, Zarkon is a tyrant whose cruelty is known across the universe. He has a single-minded goal of capturing Voltron, particularly the Black Lion he formerly piloted. Zarkon rules his empire with a calm confidence that nothing is out of his reach or sight. He believes weakness is an "infection" best cut off than to be allowed to spread, and it is this mindset that has him order a commander executed for choosing to save his own crew than complete his mission. His view of weakness extends to the belief that concern for other people's lives is an easily manipulated and exploited target. This cruel mentality is what he instills in his personally trained commanders, such as Sendak.
As time wears on, Zarkon's obsession with the Black Lion proves the emperor is not as stoic as he lets on; he becomes frustrated and prone to violence against his own subordinates, ignoring their advice to exercise caution or concern for his health. He believes in having absolute command over the Black Lion, which he sees as nothing but a weapon, and he has no respect for trust built between a Paladin and their Lion. His relentless pursuit of the Lion is a weakness of his own that Team Voltron uses against him to secure his defeat.
Before the war, Zarkon was a far more noble soul. While still quick to anger and rather stuck up, Zarkon had good intentions throughout much of his life. He cared deeply about the safety of his people and home world and fought tooth and nail to ensure the safety of the Galrans. Moreover, Zarkon loved his wife, Honerva more than anything else. So much so that he was willing to betray his allies and dear friends for her well being. After the Paladins expedition into the Rift, Zarkon was thought to have died. In actuality, Zarkon became immortal after the ordeal and adopted his pure evil personality he would use to rule the Universe with an iron fist for over 10,000 years.
Zarkon is known to have superior strength and longevity that he amplifies by absorbing Quintessence. His skills in leadership are proven by his ten thousand-year reign of the known universe itself. As well as being an efficient ruler, Zarkon is a highly skilled combatant and is powerful enough to take on the Red Lion without the need to pilot a machine of equal caliber, using only the Black Bayard. He has shown outright brutal hand-to-hand combat prowess. For brief sustained flight, Zarkon has thrusters mounted to the armor at his calves instead of a jetpack on his back.
As a the former Black Paladin, Zarkon can will the Black Bayard to take multiple combative forms such as an energy shield, a sword, a cannon, and a whip. Zarkon's proficiency with the Black Bayard surpasses that of the current Paladins as no other Paladin has been shown able to alter the form of their Bayard at will.
Because of his former status, he retains a heavy connection to the Black Lion, allowing him, with assistance from Haggar and her Druids, can trace the Lion's location and mentally take control of it to force Voltron to disband. This connection also allows Zarkon's essence to travel to mysterious realm where if the he dies, he body in the physical realm will die as well, but while he feels all pain dealt to him, the sustained wounds do not appear on the his physical body.
- When Allura awakens from her cryo-sleep, she refers to Zarkon as the "King of the Galra", implying Zarkon's empire was spawned from a kingdom in the past. Conversely, during flashbacks prior to his planet's destruction, Zarkon is referred to as "Emperor" and refers to his own domain as the "Galra Empire", suggesting he has only ruled an empire and not a kingdom.
- During flashbacks, Zarkon is voiced by Kevin Durand instead of Neil Kaplan. Executive staff explains that a different voice actor was chosen to represent how Zarkon is not the original person he once was.
- Zarkon is based on the character Zarkon of the previous Voltron franchises, who in turn was based on the character Daibazaal of Beast King GoLion.
|Royal Family||Zarkon ◆ Lotor|
|Covenant||Haggar ◆ Druids|
|Commanders||Beta Traz Warden ◆ Morvok ◆ Prorok ◆ Sendak ◆ Throk ◆ Olkarion Commander ◆ Galra Commander|
|Generals||Acxa ◆ Ezor ◆ Narti ◆ Raht ◆ Zethrid|
|Robeasts||Drazil ◆ Galactic Gladiator ◆ Prorok|
|Team Voltron||Allura ◆ Coran ◆ Hunk ◆ Keith ◆ Lance ◆ Pidge ◆ Shiro|
|Galra Empire||Acxa ◆ Beta Traz Warden ◆ Ezor ◆ Galra Commander ◆ Haggar ◆ Haxus ◆ Lotor ◆ Morvok ◆ Narti ◆ Olkarion Commander ◆ Prorok ◆ Raht ◆ Sendak ◆ Throk ◆ Zarkon|
|Blade of Marmora||Antok ◆ Kolivan ◆ Regris ◆ Thace ◆ Ulaz|
|Galaxy Garrison||Iverson ◆ Matthew Holt ◆ Samuel Holt|
|Arusians||Arusian King ◆ Klaizap ◆ Moontow|
|Balmerans||Shay ◆ Rax|
|Mer||Blumfump ◆ Florona ◆ Luxia ◆ Plaxum ◆ Swirn|
|Olkari||La-Sai ◆ Lubos ◆ Ryner|
|Other Aliens||Alfor ◆ Baujal ◆ Myzax ◆ Nyma ◆ Olia ◆ Ozark ◆ Rolo ◆ Sal ◆ Slav ◆ Tee-osh ◆ Varkon ◆ Xi|
|Other Humans||Colleen Holt ◆ Keith's Father|
|Robots||Beezer ◆ Rover|