Netflix’s reboot of the beloved ’60s TV classic. Lost in Space, premieres on April 13 – and you want to get ready for it. We recently sat down with the producers, showrunners and the cast of the show, and here are the eight things that should excite you about the new series.
ON WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO WITH THIS ITERATION OF LOST IN SPACE:
Kevin Burns [Executive Producer]: I’m probably one of the only people in this room who remembers when [the original] show was new. It was a show that as a kid, growing up in the ’60s with the whole space program, I thought this was my future. I thought I would be John Robinson and my kids would be Will, Penny and Judy and this was how we would live. Of course, you grow up, and when you re-watch it – taking nothing away from the original because we are huge fans of it – you look at it and go, “It’s of its time” and limited by the effects you could do in those days. But the best part was the imagination. Now we have 53 years of the incredible ability to realize that imagination. I wanted [Netflix’s Lost in Space] to be the show that when I was 10, I thought I was watching. And now it is. I can watch it now and get the same excitement.
ON HOW THIS VERSION IS CLOSE TO THE ORIGINAL LOST IN SPACE CONCEPT:
Burns: [The ’60s show] was originally planned very much as it is now. The original pilot, which Irwin Allen directed, was very dramatic, very much like what this is. But CBS did not want that. The show was on at 7:30 at night, and there was only one TV in the household and it was controlled by children. And they didn’t want anything that would scare them away. So the notes from the network, which Jon and I have access to because we have all of Irwin Allen’s files, are like, “Don’t let Penny scream” and “The children should never be in jeopardy.” If you watch the first six or seven episodes. Dr. Smith sends the Robot out to kill the children. But then as a kid, you gravitated towards Smith, Will and the Robot.
Jon Jashni [Executive Producer] : I caught the bug in syndication, but I felt I was Will Robinson. That’s the beauty of it, that it’s timeless. The idea that together as a family, you could survive anything proves how timeless it is.
ON THE RE-IMAGINED ROBOT:
Burns: We saw how not to do it and had a couple of opportunities with that we were not happy with. When we first met with [the showrunners], we told them a few things they had to have. They had to be called the Robinsons, it had to be Lost in Space. There has to be a Robot, there has to be a Dr. Smith…. but the Robot was the biggest discussion. We all loved the original Robot. We literally have it in our office. But it’s like a gumball machine met a vacuum cleaner and had a child. It’s beloved and charming, but it’s supposed to be Earth-made. And since we were going to have multiple families involved, does everyone have a robot? It doesn’t work. Jon’s favorite movie is Iron Giant, so we wanted that idea of a boy and his Robot, but the decision was, make it an alien. That we don’t know what it can do and can’t do. We can give it a backstory. But we still wanted it to be about a boy and his Robot, like the original.
ON THE NEW AND IMPROVED DR. SMITH:
Burns: There has to be a chariot and a space pod, but that could be done in Season 3. But here are the things you can play with: Dr. Smith doesn’t have to be a man, and we are interested and open to the character being a woman.
We were very close, good friends with Jonathan Harris [who played the original Dr. Smith] before he died. We didn’t want someone to imitate that because of the temptation to do that. Parker invokes Jonathan without being Jonathan. She’s perfect for the role.
Parker Posey [“Dr. Smith”]: They didn’t want any comparisons with the original Dr. Smith. I remember doing Kicking and Screaming in the ’90s and being like, “Why can’t I just play one of the guys?” I grew up with a twin brother so I just wasn’t like, “Oh a guy’s around I’m going to seduce…” I don’t have that. It’s more about connecting and being funny.
Ignacio Serricchio [“Don West”]: I was honestly so excited when I heard [Posey] got cast in the part. I could not think of anyone better. It takes a very specific person to pull off this character, and she has the perfect balance. The manipulation and conniving combined with being so sweet and saying, “I’m really broken.” I really feel like I can talk about her character more.
ON PLAYING THE ROBINSON KIDS:
Mina Sundwall [“Penny Robinson”]: When I read the script, I immediately fell in love with Penny because of her genuineness, how real she is. She has no filter and is never fake. She’s true to herself whether she thinks she’s as strong as she really is or not.
Max Jenkins [“Will Robinson”]: It was an honor to play the part and working with such a great cast and crew. But like some imagining they are Will Robinson, after a long day of filming, I’d go home and pretend to be the Robot. I would literally pretend to be the Robot and when my sister would come to visit, we’d pretend to be two Robots battling.
Taylor Russell [“Judy Robinson”]: I loved the original Judy but she had more questions about her future than my Judy. She’s a little bit headstrong. I mean, girls that look like me don’t get a lot of roles like this. That’s changing, but I love playing a character that so strong and capable. Takes responsibility for the other children in ways. Knows who she is but also struggles. It’s funny. She wants to be an adult so much. She doesn’t want to be a teenager. And she gets so angry at herself and throws these internal tantrums. But that, in turn, makes her a teenager. So there was a balance and I really enjoyed playing the middle and leaning into each of those.
ON BONDING ON SET IN VANCOUVER:
Sundwall: Lost in Space was more like Lost in Vancouver. I think we were all plucked from our various places and put in this very cold, very wet, slightly miserable weather and location. At this point, we’ve all seen each other as early as you can go in the morning to pretty much as late as you can go at night. Our best and worst moods and we thrive on each other’s energy. From the very first moment we shot the first scene, we knew this was real. This is the connection you make.
ON THE KEEPING PARTS OF THE ORIGINAL THEME SONG:
Zack Estrin [Writer/Producer]: We record our music with a full orchestra at Abbey Road. John Williams did the original music so we wanted to stay close to those roots and that sound. It’s part of our quest to have the show feel like that time when you first saw Star Wars. Take you to that place. There was space but it was different from what you’d seen before. And the music should have you feeling those feels.
ON KEEPING THE SHOW FOCUSED ON FAMILY:
Serricchio: I’ve always been a fan of shows that had a lot of heart and family. You laughed but you related to the family. This show you can relate to so much of it. And even shooting it, you could just feel it. It was physically draining in a fun way. But emotionally you could feel there was hope and the struggle was real… the entire family from a 90-year-old to a 2-year-old can sit down and watch Lost in Space.