the fandom as a whole has a lot of mixed feelings about him, but as of now, we know nothing about what the writers plan to do with him in this series. with vld bringing a heavy focus on the paladins and team as characters, as well as season 2 having already begun to flesh out the greyer sides of the villains, it leaves room for lotor to become an incredibly multidimensional–yet hopefully irredeemable–character. and the basis is already there.
i want to see lotor as a stark contrast from zarkon.
zarkon spent the entirety of season 2 running straight to voltron with the big guns. his connection with the black lion is enough to override control of voltron, and he knows that and uses it to his advantage. he repeatedly ignores haggar’s warnings, something we never saw throughout the first season, in order to get his hands on the lions. he was the original black paladin, and with voltron in his grasp, he knows he will be unstoppable.
but lotor isn’t like that.
he wasn’t a paladin of voltron. he is not connected to the lions the way zarkon is. he cannot be fueled with druid magic in order to continue zarkon’s quest for the lions because there is no connection to enhance. no, lotor isn’t going to head straight for voltron central, guns blazing.
instead, i want to see lotor take the position of an antagonist similar to the archetype of grand admiral thrawn from swr. i want to see him approach his objective with caution and calculation. i want to see him learn about the paladins as the we do, for him to learn about the cracks in their defenses as the audience watches them build it up stronger. where zarkon charges in headfirst in order to swipe voltron off its feet upright, i want to see lotor run the show behind the scenes.
what’s more, i want to see him butt heads with haggar.
haggar, who stood at zarkon’s right side, and has earned his trust for reasons still yet unknown to us. who fueled zarkon’s search for the lions and supplied the quintessence which has kept him living for as long as he has. with lotor in the picture now, she will most likely be pushed to the side. he doesn’t need her druids to fuel a connection to the black lion because no such connection exists. he doesnt need her to create robeasts to send after the paladins because he doesn’t plan to destroy them head on, unlike zarkon. sooner or later, they’re going to reach a boiling point.
which leads me to a final important point: i dont want lotor to take the paladins head on by any means, at least not for a long while after he’s begun to understand them and how they function both as a unit and as individuals (which we, as the audience, will hopefully be learning as well through the backstory & character development that season 2 lacked). no, lotor would try to hit them somewhere else, hit them where it really hurts, and make them come to him. i don’t think it’d be too far of a stretch to say that he’d try to make a move on earth.
i don’t think lotor deserves to be a redeemable villain by any means. there’s no aspect of his character that i want to see as “relatable” or “redeemable.” he does not deserve to be the zuko of vld, or turned into a kylo ren by the fandom.
but i’ll be mad as hell if they don’t make him out to be a goddamn villain.