In “Yearning for a Year: Attempting a Chronology of Voltron Legendary Defender” (Link), I attempted in vain to figure out a year in which the Voltron Legendary Defender story takes place. In the weeks that followed, while I re-watched the earliest episodes of the program, I discovered two clues that, when used together, seem to yield a yearned-for year.
Clue #1: 5-11-14
In “The New Alliance” — the first portion of “The Rise of Voltron” — Galaxy Garrison cadets Lance, Pidge, and Hunk are on Earth in a flight simulator. Lance verbally records a log entry that begins with:
Galaxy Garrison flight log five eleven fourteen.
The Netflix and Amazon captions for this line are: “Galaxy Garrison flight log 5-11-14.” “5-11-14” resembles an Earth date, and it is reasonable to assume that it is an Earth date. In the various Star Trek productions, a Starfleet officer often begins a verbal recording of a log entry by stating the date. In most Star Trek programs, the date is a stardate: a “space-y” date that has no obvious correlation to an Earth date. In the television program Star Trek Enterprise, Earth dates are used.
If one assumes that “5-11-14” is an Earth date, then which specific date is it?
According to Wikipedia’s “Date format by country” page (Link), two widely used date formats are “month-day-year,” used primarily by civilians in the United States of America, and “day-month-year,” used just about everywhere outside the USA — and within the USA in contexts such as the military.
If “5-11-14” is a date in one of the aforementioned formats, then possible dates are:
|month-day-year||May 11 of some year ending in 14|
|day-month-year||5 November of some year ending in 14|
Unfortunately, with no additional information, there is no way to tell which date format is more likely, or more importantly, to which century the year ending in 14 might belong. Fortunately another episode provides a useful clue.
Clue #2: Monday
In “Some Assembly Required,” which takes place a short time after the Paladins’ first battle against the Galra, Hunk remarks that:
Monday night, I was on Earth. Now, I’ve flown through space, fought some evil alien named Zarkon, [and] eaten goo in some weird castle.
In “The New Alliance,” Hunk’s last night on Earth begins on the same day as the cadets’ use of the flight simulator. If the log entry’s “5-11-14” is an Earth date, then it must occur on a Monday.
I wrote a simple computer program that examines the day of the week of all “May 11” and “05 November” dates with years ending in “14” that are both (1) in the future relative to 2016 (when Voltron Legendary Defender premiered) and (2) before the year 2500, which seems “too futuristic,” since humans in Voltron Legendary Defender have still not achieved faster-than-light space travel, a capability known for millennia to Alteans and Galra. Given these constraints, the computer program output all “May 11, ’14” and “05 November ’14” dates that fall on a Monday.
The computer program output the following candidate dates:
—– Assumes 5-11-14 is month 5, day of month 11, year ’14 —–
May 11, 2314
—– Assumes 5-11-14 is day-of-month 5, month 11, year ’14 —–
Nov 05, 2114
Which date is it? It is the opinion of this author that 2114 is “too soon” in the future to be a candidate. Although it is probably technically feasible that real-world humans could send a crew of astronauts to Kerberos by 2114, less than a century in our future, humans have not even returned to Earth’s own moon, much less ventured beyond it, since 1972, nearly a half-century ago. It seems unlikely that humanity would have the resolve even to plan to send people to Kerberos by 2114. 2314 gives humanity a couple extra centuries to get its astronautical act together.
Based on this information, a reasonable Earth date for the future Paladins’ last night on Earth is May 11, 2314.
As I mentioned in “Yearning for a Year,” in the episode “Reunion,” Pidge discovers the false grave marker of her brother Matt Holt. The marker displays two apparent dates: “0010.05.25” and “0014.04.28”. Pidge realizes that Matt’s date of birth — presumably the lower-valued “0010.05.25” — is incorrect, but she does not question the feasibility of Matt’s date of death, presumably the higher-valued “0014.04.28”.
If “0014.04.28” is an Earth date in “year-month-day” format, then “0014” resembles a year ending in “14” — probably 2314. As for why the century portion of the year is “00”, it is likely that this was necessary so that Matt’s incorrect date of birth would correctly translate to a quantum frequency that specified Matt’s true location.
If these assumptions are correct, then Matt Holt’s false date of death is April 28, 2314 — just two weeks before Pidge departed Earth and began her search for Matt and their father. It is little wonder that Pidge is so devastated by her brother’s apparent death. Despite her efforts to find him, he had died before she had even left Earth — but not long before.
We might never know for certain when the narrative of Voltron Legendary Defender “really” takes place. It is possible that the television program will never provide a single, full Earth date. It is not known with certainty whether Lance’s “5-11-14” is even an Earth date.
It is also possible that the Voltron Legendary Defender creators pulled “5-11-14” and “Monday” from the ether, with little concern for how or if this information could resolve to a real date. This is okay if true, because the creators’ primary goal is to create an entertaining television program, not to create a fictional universe that is 100% internally consistent.
Whatever the case, unless subsequent discoveries of evidence indicate otherwise, I’ll stand by my conjectural date of May 11, 2314, as the day before Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk leave Earth in a mysterious, flying blue lion.