Netflix Lost in Space Set Visit Part 2: Production Design & Sets
The tone of this reboot has hints of Alien being an influence. The atmosphere from Ridley Scott’s classic film also drips onto the set design. These notions were further expanded upon during a presentation given by Ross Dempster, the production designer.
Dempster had a number of boards on easels which showed off production and finalized concepts from the new show. [SPOILERS] The first few slides were of the Resolute and massive transport ship and hub that houses thousands of different colonization Jupiter spaceships. The Robinsons are apparently just one of many families being sent out to find new habitable planets. The Resolute is a large cylinder with what looks to be a hyperdrive engine in the middle. The Jupiter ships line the inner edge of the ship, row upon row.
Dempster was asked if the name ‘Resolute’ was chosen because of the famous exploration vessel which went missing in the Arctic in 1854. He stated that the name was chosen before he came on board, so he could not say for certain. It is alluded to, though, that the Resolute meets a disastrous fate, leading to the Robinsons and other families being stranded on various uncharted planets.
There had been an air of anticipation during Dempster’s time as many present were interested in a very specific part of the series: the Robot.
While being escorted to the video village earlier, a strange creature was briefly glanced on a monitor the crew was reviewing before the roundtable scene started filming. Assumptions were made that this was just an alien, but a few in attendance gambled that this was the Robot even though it bore no resemblance to the classic claw-handed mechanical member of the Robinson family.
Now was the moment of truth. Three images of the above-mentioned creature were shown on a new slide; each was identical with the exception of its face. The face is a curved blank glass oval which can change color. The thing was around seven foot; almost royal blue in color with gold trim and somewhat resembled a mixture of Ultron, a bipedal reptile and a Geth from Mass Effect. The body is a mass of interwoven metal strands with open areas where one can look straight through. This … was the Robot.
Given that “Lost in Space” is making several changes from the original 1960s series and, thankfully, the ’97 movie, it was not too big of a surprise that risks would be taken. A big change is not only the Robot’s look but also its origin. This revelation came about on an accompanying slide that put the Robot’s ship on display. The vessel is like a manta ray, with several open areas, much like the Robot’s body. Since the character does not breath, the spaceship does not have an enclosed cockpit.
Following Ross Dempster’s presentation, the press group was shown into the main soundstage where the sets of the Jupiter 2, its garage, and an ice cave were. Remnants of glaciers from the first episode were piled up, ready for destruction. Also visible were a few six-foot tall stalagmite that would brightly colored in various shades of orange, green and blue. By the garage set was the full-size Chariot, the Robinson’s mean of ground transportation. Obvious homages to the original vehicle exist, but overall the Chariot shares a lot in common with the Mako from the original Mass Effect game.
The Chariot’s body is white with black windows and sports a pair of gull-wing doors. The interior is minimalist but functional: seats with cross-harness seatbelts, cargo netting near the back, and an instrument panel. The steering wheel and dashboard are decked out with some small keyboards and some smaller electronics. The Chariot’s front comes equipped with a towing cable and a series of LED headlights. The tires are large and more than capable of dealing with rough terrain. At the rear of the vehicle is a row of what looks like cylindrical fuel cells recessed into the body. There is English and Japanese writing on various parts of the vehicle. In the driver side rear wheelwell, there is a very small sticker. Odds are this detail will never be seen, but the sticker consists of information about the vehicle such as its name ‘j2 Chariot’ and a series-specific barcode. This barcode (a long thin black strip with various breaks in it) can be seen on various props, including the costumes.
Before heading into the main Jupiter 2 set, the press was shown the ship’s garage. The set is roughly the same size and shape of the Jupiter set, round and has a large, heavy ramp that is big enough for the Chariot to enter and exit. At the center of the garage is a platform with lights set into the floor. At the opposite end of the ramp by the platform is a large device that extends down from the ceiling. An open track in the ceiling looks like it is a pathway for this device to circle around whatever is on the platform. This could be a scanning tool as the top of the machine was covered at the time, but looked to have some sort of lens that needed to be protected between shoots.
Jetting out from the garage were some door ways that led to ladders, allowing characters to enter or exit. What looked to be a large containment area was off to one side of the garage. It was currently empty but looked like it was designed to use as a makeshift containment cell. Directly to the right of this is the main door, but where it leads to is not clear. It may connect directly to the living/dining area of the Jupiter 2. The two sets are not directly connected, but the size and shape of the door matches that found in the next set.
The main interior set of the Jupiter 2 is large and disk-shaped. The inner living area where the tense scene was being filled in our previous set visit article is encircled by a corridor where the various crew quarters and storage rooms are. At the front of the Jupiter set is the cockpit with stations for most members of the Robinson family. The cast and crew were setting up a scene at this time, so a closer look could not be taken.
A closer inspection of the props revealed that nearly all the touch panels that grant access to adjoining rooms were functional, at least aseptically. Other small details could be spotted around the set. In the small kitchen area were packets of vacuum packed food. Rather than just sealing up something that looked like food, it was clear that this was really food: nuts, trail mix, etc.
The roundtable that was previously shown during the filming of the tense scene was permanently fixed to the floor along with the chairs. There are tracks on the floor that branch out from the table so the chairs can move back. It wasn’t clear if the chairs were moved manually or if they were mechanical and powered. There was quite a bit of wear on the seats indicating that a good chunk of filming must have occurred in this room.
Our third and final “Lost in Space” set visit story is coming soon.