Showrunner explains some major changes from the original series, aims to bring back the family-friendly action hour
The first full-length trailer for Netflix’s Lost in Space is here.
The new footage includes a first look at the planet where the Robinson family finds themselves stranded, our first look at Dr. Smith (Parker Posey), plenty of intense action, and several scenes revealing the show’s entirely reimagined Robot (which now is of a mysterious extraterrestrial origin).
“This is a true family adventure in the vein of the original Jurassic Park,” says showrunner Zack Estrin (Prison Break) in an exclusive interview with EW. “I don’t think there’s ever been another show like this on TV that has this size and scope, but also this emotion. There aren’t a lot of family shows that everybody can watch for themselves. There are very few things that are not reality shows that adults and kids can enjoy together. I’ve shown this to my father, who’s 70, and my daughters, who are 11 and 14, and they all fell in love with it for different reasons.”
The set-up: The Robinsons — led by stars Toby Stephens (Black Sails) and Molly Parker (Deadwood) — is one of hundreds of families chosen for a colonization mission that goes horribly wrong when their ship is struck by an unknown calamity. The Robinsons escape to an unknown Earth-type planet and struggle to survive, and soon discover they are not alone. The show is based on the original 1963 series that ran for three seasons, yet has been updated in several intriguing ways.
“Fans of the original show should know we maintain the core of what was special about that experience of watching that as a child — that here’s this incredible family that’s off on this amazing adventure,” said Estrin, who spent nearly two years bringing the updated series, which was previously revived as a 1998 movie starring William Hurt and Matt LeBlanc, to air. “For new fans of the show, there’s a certain baggage associated with the title — ‘Oh, that’s that campy show from the ’60s,’ or, ‘That’s that movie from the ’90s that was … what it was.’ We are taking that core of an idea — the Robinson family is striving to hold together and survive in this incredible circumstance — and as much as this show is Lost in Space, it could be a shipwreck on an island. It just happens to be in space and we think it’s going to have a broad appeal beyond genre fans.”
One of the biggest differences from the original series you’ll notice in the trailer is the radical redesign of The Robot that aided the Robinson family in the original series. This Robot is potentially lethal, with its own backstory and rendered with a combination of CGI and practical effects. “The Robot was one of the hardest pieces of casting to do in the show because it’s such an iconic thing and something you can really get wrong,” Estrin said. “And it’s a different experience watching the show versus the trailer. You fall in love with this character. It’s less about how it looks than who it is.”
One holdover from the original design is the use of lights in the Robot’s face to suggest how it’s feeling (also, that it’s just simply called “Robot”). “Whereas the original Robot was exactly what you thought it was, our Robot is a bit of a mystery that unfolds over the course of the season,” Estrin said.
Another major shift is the gender-twist casting of Posey as one of the planet’s non-Robinson characters, Dr. Smith, who comes across just as shady as the original (if not moreso). “The original Dr. Smith played by Jonathan Harris was so iconic, you couldn’t just try to do that again, and if you were to ask a male actor to fill those shoes, there would always be a comparison,” Estrin said. “We’re so lucky to have Parker, she brings such dimensionality to the role. She has a perfect mix of delicious villainy that lends a special piece of fun to the show.” The character will also fill some of the big plot holes in the original series, like: Why is Dr. Smith there? Why do the Robinsons keep him (now her) around?
Yet one element from the original series the team sought to utilize as much as possible was the show’s soundtrack, which was composed by a young John Williams (back when he was known as Johnny Williams), years before he became Hollywood’s top composer of films like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the aforementioned Jurassic Park. The new show’s composer, Chris Lennertz, took Williams’ themes for the show and put a contemporary spin on them.
Here’s the official poster:
Lost in Space consists of 10 episodes and premieres April 13.