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Queen Ariella And the Voltron Lions (Voltron: The Third Dimension)

Each Voltron television program tells a different tale about the origin of Voltron and Princess Allura’s royal lineage. In Voltron: The Third Dimension, Allura and her father, King Alfor, are descendants of a fascinating and unique character: Queen Ariella. Ariella had a special connection with the Voltron Lions.

In the episode “The Troika Moons,” the Galaxy Garrison destroys the Voltron Lions. Yes, that happens! Just after the Lions are destroyed, a Lion-colored beam of light shoots from each destroyed Lion up to the sky. Then there is a flash of light, and the beams disappear and are replaced by a swarm of five Lion-colored “spheres” of light. The lights flicker and vanish.

In the next episode, “Queen Ariella,” Coran takes Allura to a previously unseen room near the thousand-year-old Lion Archive beneath the Castle of Lions. The chamber was that of Queen Ariella. Coran explains to Allura that Ariella was the first queen of Arus, and that the Castle of Lions had been built during her reign. After Allura and Coran enter Ariella’s chamber, Ariella’s ghost appears before them.

Portrayed by legendary voice actor Tress MacNeille, Queen Ariella explains some of the mysterious history of Planet Arus, and we are treated to images that accompany Ariella’s tale. Ariella had come to Arus in an imperial spacecraft from what Ariella called “the farthest reaches of the universe.” An explosion on the ship forced the vessel to crash-land on Arus. The only survivor of the crash was Ariella, then an infant, who was ejected in an escape pod that landed safely in a forest and near the crash site.

A Green Lion – a living, breathing, mane-less, green lion, whom Ariella described as “the lion of life” – approached the escape pod. Other organic lions followed: Yellow Lion, “the lion of the earth;” Red Lion, “the lion of fire;” Blue Lion, “the lion of water;” and Black Lion, “the lion of air and space.”

The lions were gentle, and they raised the baby Ariella to adulthood. Ariella learned “the way of the lion,” which was “the way of the heart.” When Ariella mentions to Allura that she had learned to fly, a flashback showed her sitting on the back of Yellow Lion as it flew in the air. Eventually Ariella became the queen and the protector of Arus’ people, who helped her to build the Castle of Lions. Ariella dedicated the Castle of Lions to her five lion companions, and the lions vowed that they would forever protect the Castle and Arus’ royal line.

Ariella’s ghost tells Allura that the lions have always been with Allura. When Allura speaks with her heart, the lions hear her. Ariella then raises her arms, and five glowing spheres appear – seemingly the spheres that had exited the wreckage of the destroyed Voltron Lions in the previous episode. The spheres then change into five, semitransparent lions. These are the spirits of the lions that had saved Ariella after she had crashed to Arus one thousand years ago. Inside each lion spirit is a glowing point of light where the heart would be. Surrounded by the lion spirits, Allura states that she had always felt that the lion spirits existed, but she had not spoken of it before.

In the following episode, “The Voltron Force Strikes Back,” Ariella’s ghost reiterates to Allura that the lion spirits have always been with her, and they still are. The lion spirits reappear once more and stand around Allura. Ariella tells Allura that the lion spirits had guided Allura in the way of the lion. We then see images from Allura’s childhood as Ariella tells Allura that the lion spirits were with her when she was a young girl, alone, following the destruction of the Castle of Lions.

The lion spirits were also with her when she trained to become a Galaxy Alliance pilot. We see images of the young girl Allura, sitting in the shuttle that would take the grown-up Allura to Blue Lion, and we then see the Blue Voltron Lion ascending past the rebuilt Castle of Lions and all the way to space, followed by blue lion spirit. Ariella’s ghost then states once more that the lions have pledged to protect Arus’ royal line in times of need – and that Allura is of that royal line.

At that moment, the rest of the Voltron Force enters Ariella’s chamber. Ariella’s ghost and the five lion spirits disappear, leaving Allura to wonder if she had imagined them. Lotor contacts the Castle and tells Coran that he has launched an attack fleet that will arrive at Arus in five minutes. If Allura doesn’t agree to marry him, she’ll be killed in the attack. Allura hears a lion roar, and she states that she can feel the presence of the lion spirits. She runs to the top of the Castle and calls to the lions. Allura then sees five beams of colored light emanate from the ground beyond the Castle mote and arc back down to the dens of the Voltron Lions. Allura hears Ariella’s voice saying that they have never let Allura down. The rest of the Voltron Force emerges on the roof, and the five pilots observe something happening at each den. The Voltron Lions have been “resurrected,” and they exit their dens, flying on their own for the first time.

Allura tells the rest of the team that, while the Voltron Lions’ bodies had been destroyed, their spirits are indestructible. The lion spirits had created the Voltron Lions long ago, and the lion spirits had created them again. After the Voltron Lions approach the Castle, and Allura tells the Lions to meet them at the nearby airfield. At the airfield, the pilots enter their Lions, insert their keys into the Lions, and launch into action once more.

This is all that we learn of Queen Ariella and her part in the legacy of Voltron, but our glimpse at the back story of the first queen of Arus, and the Voltron Lions, is a fascinating one!