The Robot from the '60s Lost in Space looks ridiculous by modern standards, but it's weathered the decades remarkably well: even if you've never watched the show, you can still take one look at the design and learn a lot about the character. As the new Netflix exclusive Lost in Space series gets closer to its April 13 debut, the folks behind the new series shared how their take on the 'bot will differ from the original - and how it still pays homage to the B-9 of old. The full story's in the latest issue of SFX, hitting shelves on Wednesday, March 28.
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The first big change: the Robot is no longer a lumbering, service-oriented member of the Jupiter-2 crew. It's now the imposing pilot of a mysterious alien ship, and the Robinsons only encounter it when they crash land on a mysteriously Earth-like planet.
"He’s all at once a weapon, the Iron Giant, a protector, a future hero, and a former killer,” production designer Ross Dempster told SFX. “Words like ‘iconic’, ‘ancient’ and ‘gravitas’ were also part of the brief.” Dempster didn't say this part, but I'd like to add that the new Robot looks like it's wearing some really hard-to-find Raid gear from Destiny, which is always a good thing. The focal point of the Robot's design is the "My God, it's full of stars" faceplate. Still images don't do the depthless void within its head justice, so here's a gif.
Dempster noted that the new design adds "negative space in the body of the robot, so most of the time you’ll actually be seeing through it.” Quite a big change from the bubble-headed, stovepipe-armed original. However, like the original series, Will Robinson forms a bond with it (and yes, it does say "Danger, Will Robinson" at some point). That's bound to cause some more tension in the Robinson family's strained relationships.
“My character’s spent a lot of time away on military duty, so I’m slightly alienated from my children," said Toby Stephens, who plays space dad John Robinson. "So this family’s in quite a fragile place when they crash-land. They have to sort out all these massive problems about being on this planet, but at the same time try to find a way of dealing with one another. Then this robot comes along, and he’s more of a father figure for the son than I am!”
It's tough for a dad to compete for his son's attention with a seven-foot tall, glowy-faced robot. You can read more about the Robinson-robot situation in the latest issue of SFX - again, look for it to arrive at retailers on Wednesday, March 28.