What do you think Shiro's backstory is? Do you think he has family back on earth, or is Keith all he has?
At this point, I’m pretty sure Shiro is estranged from his family. If he were just an orphan, then I think his official character bio would have said so–like it did for Keith. So I think there must’ve been a family at some point, but they seem to be out of the picture. There’s also a few things that I think indicates Shiro may have lost his dad.
And we see this reflected in Sam. In a way, I think he definitely reminds Shiro of his father, or at least ended up being a kind of fatherly figure. When Shiro rescues Matt from the gladiator arena, the last thing he says is, “Take care of your father.” This message sounds deeply personal, like there’s a history there and maybe Shiro was unable to save his own dad at some point.
This is taken a step further when Shiro decides they can’t afford to waste time looking for Sam and Matt. He’s only convinced when Pidge mentions they’re family, and Shiro just stops and says, “Commander Holt is your father?” before immediately agreeing. So as much as Shiro cares about Sam, he wasn’t willing to risk the mission until he found out that Pidge was trying to save her dad. I really do think that must’ve resonated with Shiro on some level, like he’s been in that position before
Also, something about this last shot–look at Keith’s face here. He also looks visibly affected. And I mean, we know Keith would give just about anything to be able to find his dad, so I think Shiro also having some kind of troubled past involving his father is very likely. Shiro and Keith are present for this scene instead of Lance and Hunk for a reason.
Of course, it could also be that maybe something happened and Shiro ended up parting with his dad on bad terms, and it’s something he really regrets. After all, when calming down Pidge, he tells her something her father said instead of giving advice from his own dad. I think that says Shiro was never really all that close with his own father or maybe he just grew up without one.
And honestly the first red flag for me was how Shiro reacted to being held prisoner for a year. The Kerberos crew was announced dead, and any family he had would’ve been told that. They must’ve mourned him, held a funeral for him. His picture was all over the news alongside the headline Pilot error.
And yet?? Shiro never expresses any desire to see his family again or return to Earth like the other paladins–despite the fact that he’s been gone the longest. On top of that, he never even once asks anyone for news on his family–you’d think he’d talk to Keith or Pidge at least. What person is declared dead for a year and then doesn’t think about how their loved ones must feel? Doesn’t want to go home to them and tell them not to worry, that they’re okay.
Shiro’s behavior is bizarrely abnormal, there’s just no way to account for that kind of response unless Shiro was either already distant from his family or absolutely dreading going home–and this is also very possible, as Shiro’s changed, he’s not the person he was before. He has his trauma, his PTSD–he believes the galra have turned him into a monster. He has to go home and try to explain why he was gone so long and lost his crew and has only one arm and his hair’s gone white. So maybe Shiro’s just terrified because all sense of normalcy would be gone and there’s no sense trying to return to it. Shiro’s not like Lance, Hunk, or Pidge–he can’t just go back. But as understandable as that would be, I more so think that Shiro doesn’t have very much to return to in the first place.
So far, the closest thing Shiro really has to a home is Keith. When he crashes back to Earth, he never asks about his family or tries to at least visit his house before he leaves. But I think it says a lot that Shiro does end up back at Keith’s home. And Keith is the one who offered him his little shack as shelter, has a warm heart-to-heart where he welcomes him back. This is Shiro’s homecoming. And given that the shack has always been a symbol of home for Keith, we can infer that Shiro will always have a place there as well.
I think it’s very telling that there’s an episode where everyone but Shiro and Keith express wanting to go home or find their families–Shiro never voices an opinion on the matter. He’s completely silent and only steps in to try to calm Keith down and settle things with Pidge. But I think we get even more insight to how Shiro feels from Stayin’ Alive in season 2. Everyone’s reminiscing about their fond memories, and they all look so happy. But then there’s Shiro, with his back turned away from everyone. He looks pretty deep in thought, like something’s really bothering him
And when he does turn back to face the group, he says this:
“You realize once we defeat Zarkon, the universe won’t need Voltron anymore.” Just as a refresher here, Shiro was basically the most excited about being a paladin–“Defenders of the universe huh? That’s got a nice ring to it.” Shiro found a purpose, and he took pride in it. He felt like, even as much as the galra have tormented him and tore him apart, he finally found a place where he belonged.
And that’s why so much of his fear is wrapped up in this idea that he’s not worthy of the job–“Did you ever think a monster like you could be a Voltron paladin?” Fighting the good fight and saving lives meant something to Shiro. His connection with the Black lion and having a team were both very healing for him. He doesn’t want to lose that
And it only gets worse because everyone else automatically has something planned, they all have something in mind after Voltron. And they all want to go home or return to their families, but Shiro says nothing. Because there is no after for him, nothing back on Earth waiting for him. After Pidge says, “I could search for my family,” Keith adds, “I guess I could look for mine.” But Shiro never says anything about his plans for the future. He doesn’t have any
And Shiro looks pretty tense this whole time. When he talks about how if everything goes according to plan this will all be over–you really get the feeling he doesn’t want it to end. Like being a paladin is this amazing dream and he just doesn’t want to wake up.
Even when Kuron believes he’s dying, the only significant memories that resurface are all to do with Team Voltron. Nothing related to his own background or family. And the fact that Keith welcoming him back is the first thing he sees says a lot–that’s home to him