The epic Netflix series Lost in Space, a modern re-imagining of the classic 1960s sci-fi series, is set 30 years in the future, when colonization in space is a reality and the Robinson family – John (Toby Stephens), Maureen (Molly Parker), Judy (Taylor Russell), Penny (Mina Sundwall) and Will (Maxwell Jenkins) – is trying to make a life for themselves in a new and different world. But when they find themselves off course, they must quickly learn to adapt, work together and form new alliances, if they’re going to survive in an environment with dangers around every corner.
While at WonderCon in Anaheim, co-stars Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Maxwell Jenkins, Parker Posey (who plays Dr. Smith) and Ignacio Serricchio (who plays Don West) stopped by the Collider interview suite to chat about the appeal of Lost in Space, what they thought of the classic TV series, the reassurance of having Netflix behind the series, why this is such an inspirational story, the bad-ass female characters, never knowing what to make of Dr. Smith, having a real live chicken for a co-star, and the relationship between Will and the robot.
Collider: When Lost in Space came your way, what was the appeal for you?
MAXWELL JENKINS: I definitely felt like I needed to watch the first season or so, of the original, which was very different. Also, something that happened that allowed me to re-imagine the role of Will Robinson because he gave me a lot of tips was Bill Mumy coming to set. He gave me a lot of tips on what to expect because he came towards the beginning of filming.
MOLLY PARKER: I hadn’t really seen the original, so for me, it was actually a conversation I had with (showrunner) Zack Estrin, who talked a lot about how they wanted this character to be this hero and defy those expectations for the father and mother. The traditional gender roles were switched, a little bit. You do see, as it goes along, that John Robinson, even though he’s this warrior, is quite an emotional being and is emotionally connected to the children, and I play a traditionally more male role, in terms of being science-y and logical. So, that was interesting to me. But I have to say, I thought with it being sci-fi, we’d be in a studio and there would be a lot of green screen, and then we ended up on top of mountains, in the winter in Canada. They wanted it to be a dirt under your fingernails adventure, and it is.
TAYLOR RUSSELL: For me, personally, it was just the idea of being in this family situation that’s so extreme, and six months in Vancouver sounded like an adventure, itself. And then, thinking of all the special effects, of how crazy it was gonna be and not being able to see what they were seeing, in reality, but having this idea, I thought was super cool.
MINA SUNDWALL: When I read the pilot, I loved the fact that they are very special people, but they’re not this extraordinary family, in the way that nobody can relate to them. They’re on an extraordinary mission The adventure with that is so cool to me, and it really drew me in. I was like, “I would die to be a part of this project,” and now I am.
PARKER: I also did think about the fact that Netflix was making it and we knew that there would be the resources to make it really good. You don’t want to do it half-assed, and you don’t want it to be just okay, so just knowing that it had that support around it made me feel quite secure.
IGNACIO SERRICCHIO: I watched the original in the ‘80s and I loved it. It was all dubbed in Spanish, but I was a giant fan of Guy Williams ‘cause he did Zorro, and that’s my dream role, and then he went on to do Lost in Space, so I was following him. I loved Guy Williams. I was never a fan of sci-fi or space stuff. I think Star Trek had come out right before, but I never cared about any of that and I had never watched Star Wars. This show was different because of the family. I could relate not so much to that family, but to the family values and to sticking together in situations where you go at it. That, to me, was unlike any other show. It was this extraordinary circumstance, but you still go back to your root, and family is everything. That really drew me to it. So, when this came out, I had very low expectations of getting the role because I thought “Don West” was going to a white guy. Truly, that’s what I thought. Being Latino in this market, in the past 20 years, I hadn’t gone out for the white dude next door, but Netflix had that vision. Netflix is changing all of that, not only in the production aspect, but they’re trying to include everybody. Then, I was like, “Okay, there actually might be a chance.”