Champion, Emperor, and King
So I went on a rambling tangent to a friend of mine and came back to something about the two Black Paladins we’ve encountered, Black Lion herself, and Shiro’s title of Champion.
First and foremost: There’s some implied themes of royalty to the Black Lion, and the paladin that stands by her side. Voltron, when in its strongest form, has five heads, and Black’s stands above the others. She is the head of Voltron, literally and figuratively, and she is, to a degree, symbolically crowned.
The other Lions all have ears that are usually a mix of gray and one other color. Black is the only one who has golden ears- noteworthy, because when Voltron itself is form, those ears transform into horns.
One of the primary stated virtues of the Black Paladin is they are someone who others “follow without question.” This does not merely suggest force of personality and a strong will, but rather, someone who others reflexively turn to. In practice, we see this with both Shiro and Zarkon, with how their respective allies acknowledge them and look to them in situations of doubt. The first time Lance turns to Shiro, no one asks him to do so, and no discussion has been made about who’s in charge. But Lance defers to Shiro. When Shiro was incapacitated on his arrival to Earth, we don’t see a decisive leader between the paladins as much as they collaborate, all piling in their ideas and input as it comes up.