Empress Allura/Alternate Alteans theory
During episode four, the Alternate Reality (AR) Alteans explain to the team that, 10,000 years ago, AR Allura avenged her father and ‘put down’ Zarkon and the Galra Uprising. Now, the entire plot of this episode is based on the trope ‘au where the good guys are the bad guys’ but… what if the ‘good guys’ were never the good guys at all? What if AR Altea was never like our Altea to begin with?
We’re led to believe that AR Allura killed Zarkon. But, while I fully believe in Original Reality (OR) Allura’s ability to fight Zarkon while fueled by rage and grief, I can’t see her killing anyone in cold blood. When OR Allura can’t believe in mercy, she turns to justice. OR Allura wouldn’t spare Zarkon by any means, but I believe she’d rather see him punished than rotting in a grave. And I also can’t imagine OR Allura ‘putting down’ the Galra. But AR Allura apparently did, and with gusto. Which makes me wonder if maybe… AR Allura was never like OR Allura at all.
The AR Alteans call it the Galra Uprising, and imply Zarkon and his people to be the villains. But history is written by the victors. And 10,000 years is plenty of time for the truth to be skewed. Maybe AR Altea was never kind to begin with. Maybe they were always overly righteous, believing that their way was best. And think about it… the war against Zarkon was called the Galra ‘Uprising.’ An uprising is an act of rebellion, or revolt. Maybe the AR Galra rejected the rule of AR Altea and paid the price for it. Maybe the AR Galra were just trying to get out.
There’s also the fact that AR Allura is Empress of the universe, 10,000 years old, and apparently looks young enough that Commander Hira recognized OR Allura on sight. All signs point to AR Allura using quintessence to stay young, meaning she shares a backstory with OR Zarkon. So if AR Allura has the origin of a villain… maybe it’s because she was always a villain.
Ultimately, this theory doesn’t matter because it’s all speculation with little to no chance of ever being referenced in canon. But I like this theory more than the plot of the actual episode, which implies that ‘the oppressed can become just like their oppressors.’ Which is, y’know. Bad.