Fandom PDX presented fans with an amazing opportunity to sit down with Kimberly Brooks for a full hour. The panel was not moderated, which, although it was unconventional, gave fans a chance to have a more personalized experience with one of their favorite voice actors. To celebrate the season six premiere of Voltron: Legendary Defender, we’ve compiled a transcript of highlights from the panel pertaining to that fandom!
Kimberly’s audition for her role in Voltron was actually the scene where Allura is having a flashback with her father, Alfor. Not knowing the character that well, but also knowing that she was supposed to be tough, made for a challenging audition. Kimberly also describes herself as being “shy,” and she prefers to audition in a booth. But for this particular audition, she was called into DreamWorks to audition in front of about twenty people. The next day she got the part. She says that now Allura is probably her favorite character she’s voiced.
Do you have a favorite Allura scene, either to watch or to perform?
“In all honesty, this season coming up is my favorite season. There’s a lot of Lotor stuff!”
In regard to what we’ve already seen, Kimberly is partial to the scene where Coran keeps going back in time and continues to get younger.
“By the way, those are his real kids. He has two little boys and that’s who did the voice over. Because they have that same little accent – they’re a little bit more Americanized, it’s not as thick as his, but that whole scene was really funny.”
Who did the voice of Bi Boh Bi?
“We all do Bi Boh Bi! All of us have done Bi Boh Bi at some point. I hate when they ask me to do it because I can’t do it…Bex does it the best! She’s got that thing in the back of the throat and I can’t do that. I don’t know what that is. It’s like two voices at once.”
The original voice of Bi Boh Bi was a guest star, but she couldn’t remember who. (According to IMDb, it was Dave Coulier!)
Coming off a tangent, she remarked that “there’s a really funny episode coming up and I wish I could tell you guys about it because it is brilliant! You’ll know what I’m talking about! You’ll be laughing the entire time.”
Did you know in advance that Allura was going to become a pilot of a Lion?
“I didn’t know specifically, for sure, 100 percent. But I knew that she was stronger and I know that in the original she tried and—you, know just all that stuff, and of course they’re gonna honor it. And it took a while, but now I feel a little bit more legit because, you know, even though Allura is a main part of the show, people mostly just focus on the pilots. So, like, you know, even all you artists, lots of times it’ll be like “oh, you draw all the pilots,” but what about Coran? What about us?”
I’d like to note that Kimberly said this with a teasing smile.
“So, it feels good to be a pilot now, because now I feel a little bit more legit. Even though I ran the whole ship, honestly. There would be no pilots if it wasn’t for me!”
How do you think Allura felt when Keith went over to the Blade of Marmora?
“I think the overall big picture…she understands. So… and he had to go do this. So maybe [she’s] upset a little bit, but understanding that there’s a mission we all have in common and we all are trying to accomplish. Which is basically savings the universe, so I think she’s cool with it.”
You said that, with this show, you tend to record with all the voice actors. People tend to get expressive with acting, so which one would you say is the most expressive during recording?
“Rhys is hilarious. And he’s a super successful stand-up comic in New Zealand – like SUPER, like sells out shows. And he’s just, like, the funniest person. I wish I could be like that all the time! He just cracks everyone up during the sessions. They figured out early on to just give him the craziest things to say because they know he’ll just run with it. And it might take a couple of takes but we’re just like this–” (she paused to cover her mouth as if she were laughing) “–so we don’t ruin his takes.”
“Josh is funny too, because he’ll do a lot of action stuff and he’ll just like, drop and do a bunch of push-ups and get up and do his line, and I’m like…okay? Method acting! And Jeremy is also…ahhhh.” She looked comically exasperated. “He’s just very young and he’s just like…I don’t know. He’s a very good actor though, and he nails it. And he never reads his scripts! We show up and I’m like, going through my script, working on my pronunciations, and he shows up and I’m like ‘can you believe this episode?’ And he’s like ‘oh I didn’t read it.’ And then he goes in and he nails every line and makes us laugh and just has his character down.”
“Everyone has their own style and way of working, but it’s really fun because it’s one of the few shows I work on where they really make an effort to have as many actors in the booth at the same time as possible. Which completely affects the dialogue and how we interact with each other… and Jeremy does an amazing impression of Rhys. [Rhys] is often in New Zealand, so they have Jeremy fill in and he does it…so perfectly it’s just brilliant.”
At this point, Kimberly tried her best to impersonate Rhys saying “quiznack!” She wasn’t satisfied with it, but she assured us that Jeremy can do it flawlessly.
She says that she doesn’t want her role as Allura to ever end.
“There’s so much to explore in space!”
What are you most excited about in the new season (that you’re allowed to tell us)?
Kimberly heaved a sigh. “You guys don’t even know. So much stuff is going to happen. I’m not allowed to say anything. I just say watch it, because everything up until now has been sort of…safe. And I feel like…it’s about to get cray cray.”
Fans also talked with Kimberly about Josh Keaton’s famous parody of “You’re Welcome.” I asked if she would ever consider doing something like that with Allura and she said, “I would, definitely! But someone would have to come up with the clever idea and the clever song…that’s not me. I wish I could. But if you guys have any suggestions…if you think of anything, let me know! Because that would be fun. I love singing.”
You mentioned how Allura is your favorite character [that you have voiced] to date. She’s a very strong character, but is there anything else that makes her your favorite?
“Well, for a lot of reasons. Selfishly because it’s a popular show and I get to meet so many cool people, and my kids think it’s cool. They don’t think anything is cool, so like… they gave me a little corner smile, so I know it’s cool. And, it’s just a fun –I mean, there’s not that many characters, at least for African-American women that are mainstream. It’s just good, everything they did with the character was awesome.
There’s just, like, a pride behind it and representing African-Americans—even though she’s not African-American, she’s Altean. And they don’t care about color up there, they’re not thinking about that…they all have different shades and nobody’s talking about that. It’s more like the younger generation where they’re not obsessed with that. I feel like [in] my generation, race was everything, you know? Even now you look at the news and black people can’t even go into a damn Starbucks without, you know, it being a problem. So, it’s just really neat to be a part of something that is positive.”
Would you say you have a part of yourself in this character?
“Oh, definitely! Definitely. I mean who wouldn’t want to be like that? I know some people have told me they think, like, Allura is annoying, and I’m like…I’ve never heard anyone say that! But, you know, it’s the internet. But most all the feedback I get from people I meet, they just…they just like her. And they like what she represents. It’s just good to be a part of that. I mean, Southpark is fun and it’s popular… but really, [Classi] is just not a character that I want to go around saying that I like cuss every other word and like she’s just very raunchy. Like, yeah, that’s a black character, but that’s not a positive representation of a black character. So, that’s the reason, pretty much.”
Kimberly also mentioned that the new script may incorporate hints at each character’s heritage, such as Lance having a Cuban family and Hunk having Samoan roots.
“Hopefully this is just the beginning of badass women characters – of all races!”
Voltron: Legendary Defender boasts its sixth season on June 15, 2018. Follow us @TheGameofNerds on social media or follow me directly on Twitter for updates and news about the series!