Presenting OTP Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will introduce you to a new One True Pairing! Tune in each week to find out which fictional couple you need to agonize/squee over next. In the latest “disappointed but not surprised” news, I watched a new show and instantly became obsessed with a new ship: Klance.
Who Are Klance?
Klance refers to the pairing of Keith Kogane and Lance McClain from the Netflix show Voltron Legendary Defender. Please note that this is a discourse-free zone, so while constructive comments are welcome, stow the hate, okay?
Keith Kogane is arguably the main character of Voltron. A case could be made for other characters, but Keith has a lot of screen time and character development. To be fair, I’ve been a part of the Voltron fandom for like, two weeks? So I’m not 100% sure what is actually canon.
One of the legendary paladins of Voltron, Keith is a real hero. He has always been a little rough around the edges, however. Keith gets into the Galaxy Garrison training school on the recommendation of star pilot Takashi Shirogane, who vouched for Keith even though he was a delinquent. When Shiro went missing, Keith went rogue and left the Garrison.
Shiro crash lands on Earth a year later. Keith rescues him, running into some old classmates from the Garrison. They soon stumble on a mystery: the Blue Lion. When Blue bonds with Lance McClain, the group gets drawn into a massive adventure and a millennia-old war. They soon each bond with a lion and become the paladins of Voltron.
Keith pilots the Red Lion, with a reputation for being fast and reckless. Along with his team, he fights against the Galra Empire, a brutal alien race enslaving the galaxy. Things get a little strange, though, when Keith learns he is half-Galra himself. He never knew his mother, so it’s a bit of a shock. Keith is also pushed when he becomes the black paladin and leader of Voltron.
He later leaves the team to pursue his own past and joins the Blade of Marmora. After leaving the team, Keith has many adventures. He finds his mother, another Blade named Krolia. He learns about his past and sees the future. Later, he becomes the head of Voltron again and has to help his team rescue Earth from the Galra.
Lance McClain is another paladin of Voltron and my angel. Like Keith, Lance was a student at the Galaxy Garrison. Unlike Keith, he did not drop out. In fact, Lance was promoted to fighter class pilot after Keith left. He strove to be the best at what he did, and always wanted to be number one.
When Shiro returns to Earth, Lance is determined to rescue him. He’s not happy to see Keith beat him, as Lance considers him and Keith rivals. They work together, though. Soon, Lance bonds with the Blue Lion, something Keith was unable to do. He pilots them away from Earth and into the midst of the Galra war.
Lance is goofy, fun-loving, and good-hearted, meshing well with Blue. He is good friends with fellow paladins Hunk and Pidge. When Shiro goes missing, they need a new leader for Voltron and pilot for the Black Lion. Lance is eager but rejected. When he accepts Keith as a leader, however, he bonds with the Red Lion and becomes the right hand of Voltron.
Despite being the right hand, however, Lance frequently struggles with self-esteem issues. He hides it behind bravado but frequently feels less important than the rest of his team. He also struggles massively with homesickness, having a large family back on Earth. Despite all this, he continues to support his team and be the backbone of Voltron.
Lance’s low self-esteem sometimes puts him at odds with his team. He sacrifices himself for Princess Allura, his replacement in the Blue Lion and his crush, actually dying for a moment. He tries to leave Voltron to let the others have a more prominent role. In the end, however, Lance is integral in helping Voltron save Earth and protect the universe.
Why is Klance OTP?
I mean? Is anyone really surprised that I, Grade A Shipping Trash, found a new obsession so suddenly? Klance is actually the reason I started watching Voltron (well, that and my students bugged me to watch it. So, if you’re reading this, this is all your fault, Mia). I saw a lot of Klance posting on Tumblr and it caught my eye, to be sure. It’s not the first time a ship pulled me in.
Having now watched all of Voltron, I will admit that I’m less convinced about Klance. Not that it’s #OTP, of course. But I highly doubt that Klance is endgame, and I’m fully prepared to be disappointed come season 8 this November. Because, honestly, Klance is a great ship and it deserves to be canon. I just don’t see it happening.
Enemies to Friends
Hey, look! It’s my favorite trope! Seriously, you give me a well-developed “enemies to friends to lovers” pairing, and I’m a goner. There is nothing better than a solid transition like this. Something about the character growth and development, often involving misunderstandings and pining, makes this trope golden to me.
Klance is less “enemies” and more “rivals,” but it still definitely fits this trope. The relationship between Keith and Lance at first is incredibly strained. While both still attended the Garrison, Lance considered them rivals for the top spot. Keith, for his part, apparently doesn’t even remember Lance from their shared time there.
For the first bit of Voltron, they stay in enemy territory. Lance frequently goads Keith, picking fights and making everything a competition. When they have a “bonding moment,” Lance says he has no memory, preventing anything friendlier from starting up. Keith, always a hothead, gives in to the pushing and keeps their relationship volatile.
When Shiro goes missing again, things start to change. Lance wants to be the new head of Voltron, but is not chosen. Instead, Keith is. This could have been a point for Lance to pitch a major fit over being bested by Keith, again. Instead, he accepts Keith as his leader. This growth is cemented by Lance becoming Keith’s right-hand-man, and they become somewhat friends.
Keith leaving to join the Blade of Marmora makes things more difficult. The two had just started a new phase of their relationship when it was cut short. In the meantime, each changed and grew on their own. When they reunited, Keith returning to the team, things are still strained at first. However, they continue to work together well, and things seem to be going better.
Klance is also such a great ship because they push each other to be better. You wouldn’t necessarily think this would be the case, since they start off as enemies and only reluctantly become allies, let alone friends. However, Keith and Lance balance each other out well. Each has strengths that bolster the other, and they push each other to new heights.
Part of this is because of that rivalry. Always wanting to be better than Keith makes Lance work harder. It’s because of his desire to beat Keith that he manages to become a great pilot. It’s because of his desire to be valuable to the team that he becomes an excellent fighter and the team’s resident sharpshooter.
But it’s not just a matter of rivalry, nor is it one-sided. Lance makes Keith better, too. When Keith becomes head of Voltron and Lance becomes his right-hand-man, he really comes into his own. When Shiro was head, Lance was too filled with hero-worship to really push things. Plus, Shiro was a natural leader.
As a leader, Keith needed a lot of help. His quick temper and reckless drive were not suited to leading a team. At first, he put the team in danger with his inability to focus on the bigger picture. That’s where Lance came in. He was able to temper the worst of Keith’s impulses and get him to take a moment to pause and think.
Working together as head and right hand of Voltron really showed how great a team Klance makes. This was evident from the start, however, with the infamous “bonding moment.” The two are able to save the team even while Lance is barely conscious, and he points out they make a good team. Whether or not he remembers, it remains true throughout the show.
What’s Next for Klance?
Well, there is one more season of Voltron still to come. So far, nothing solid has come for Klance in the first seven seasons, so it’s unlikely that season 8 will change anything. However, it ain’t over yet, so who knows? Season 7 did have some great Klance moments, like Lance calling Keith the future in the game show episode. But, nothing solid, sadly.
At the end of season 7, things were kind of up in the air. Keith was back on the team and piloting the Black Lion, but Shiro was sort of team leader? Lance was still piloting Red and trying to help Keith, but his ego took a serious beating in seasons 6 and 7, so he’s been quieter (and more concerning) as of late.
Season 7 saw the team save Earth from Galra occupation and near destruction. They were all injured, and the finale saw them recuperating in a hospital. I’m not really sure what season 8 has in store. Now that they have saved their home, will they return to the stars? Who are they fighting, now that they’ve defeated most of the Galra leadership?
We’ll have to wait and see. Season 8 will premiere sometime before the end of 2018, though there’s no confirmed release date yet. Given that Voltron only debuted in 2016, it’s been a fast and furious run for this show. There were only a few months between seasons 6 and 7, so here’s hoping 8 follows the trend and premieres soon!
Is Klance Canon?
Nope, nor is it likely to be, in my opinion. While the fandom makes a very eloquent case, I just don’t see it happening. The build-up in the first few seasons has been undone in the more recent seasons. Instead, the show seems to be pushing Allurance (Allura and Lance), which was previously a one-sided attraction but seems to be building into something more.
Going further, I’m not sure there’s much likelihood of having a major gay ship become canon in Voltron. To be fair, Voltron made waves when it announced that Shiro, a major character, and hero, was gay and engaged to a man. However, they undid a lot of that by quickly killing off Shiro’s ex-fiance, contributing to the terrible “Bury Your Gays” trope and earning fan fury.
The likelihood of either Keith or Lance turning out to be not straight is looking less and less probable. Season 7 really pushed both characters into a heteroromantic situation, with Allura and Lance building into something, and a truly uncomfortable situation with Keith and Acxa, a former enemy Galra turned ally.
It could even end up that none of these relationships become canon, as the Voltron showrunners have argued that romance is not a major part of their show. While my shipper heart dies a little to hear that, it’s better than an awkward, forced heteronormative relationship, in my opinion.
So, no, Klance is not canon. Despite a few truly fantastic moments (even in season 7), it’s not likely to be canon. But try telling that to the fans, who have built Klance up into a major pillar of fandom. If Klance is your thing, there’s hours upon hours of material to peruse, from fanfiction to fanart to metas and analysis. If you need me, that’s where I’ll be.