The Netflix Reboot Of 'Lost In Space' Reinvents Robot In A Major Way

by Megan Walsh

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 6! Much of Episode 6 of Netflix's Lost in Space centered around what to do with Robot once the Jupiter survivors found out about his existence. He was the reason they were flung through the cosmos in the first place, and he was responsible for several deaths. The argument over whether or not Robot had changed eventually resolved in Will taking drastic action to ensure his alien friend would never hurt anyone again. This version of Robot might be gone, but finding out what happened to Robot in the original Lost in Space could provide some hints about his future.

But it might not. Though the original series and the reboot do share a lot of characters and details, the revamped show is very different in tone and content. It doesn't have any of the campiness that people might remember from the 1960s series, and it gives a lot more weight to the consequences of characters' actions. Just because something happened in the original doesn't guarantee that it will be reflected in the reboot, and that seems especially clear when you learn a little more about Robot.

Robot is greatly fleshed out for Netflix, and returns essentially as a different character. Though he's still a mechanical wonder who shares a close bond with Will, he's also of mysterious alien origin, which the first Robot was not. His violent attacks were also a new addition and they form the basis of his entire storyline, so the original show can't be of any help there.

The first Robot (let's call him Robot I for the sake of clarity) wasn't discovered by the Robinsons after their crash like Robot II was in the Netflix show. He was there from the very beginning, and he wasn't anything like his futuristic counterpart. His design was reminiscent of more cartoonish robots, with plenty of buttons and strange accordion arms. His full title was Class B-9-M-3 General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot, though it was rarely used, and he seems to have been a man-made helper for the Robinsons — not a piece of unknown alien tech.

Robot I was very strong and knowledgeable, but also unexpectedly human, able to express emotion and even play the guitar. Unlike Robot II, it doesn't seem as though he ever took a foray into being an accidental killing machine; the original show was much more lighthearted and comedic. In Episode 6 of Netflix's Lost in Space, Will forces Robot to step off a cliff after hurting John, presumably "killing" him and keeping him from causing more harm. This is also an invention of the new show, and doesn't reflect any story from the 1960s series.

Unfortunately, that means that looking back on the source material can't give viewers any indication about whether or not Robot II survived his fall. He is a wholly new creation, separate from his predecessor in all but name, and a totally new story was built around him. Robot I served as comic relief (which is definitely not the case with Robot II) and nothing hugely dramatic or horrible happened to him. At least not on screen.

MeTV reported that the Robot I prop was almost destroyed in 2016 in an electrical fire that broke out in the garage of the home where it was being stored. It seems Robot I has been in the custody of a prop and special effects artist in the years since its television debut, and its owner was out of town when the fire occurred. Luckily, Robot I was safely taken out of harm's way. The same might not be true of Robot II, but it looks like these guys are made of pretty strong stuff; he might be okay after all.

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