Danger Will Robinson! Spoilers about cameos ahead! If you’re watching the new Lost in Space on Netflix, then you probably already know that “Dr. Smith” (Parker Posey) isn’t really Dr. Smith at all. Instead, she stole Dr. Smith’s identity when the space station Resolute was attacked by a murdering robot. But, hardcore Lost in Space fans will certainly recognize the “real” Dr. Smith in this scene. And that’s because he’s actually the original Will Robinson. In a meta-move, the “Dr. Smith” whose identity Parker Posey steals is classic Lost in Space actor Bill Mumy, who famously played Will on the classic Sixties show.
The new Lost in Space is wildly different than the original 1965 show in many ways, but structurally it’s somewhat similar to the second pilot episode “The Reluctant Stowaway.” Like the new series, the robot in that episode is initially thought to be a bad guy but later becomes good. And that’s all connected to Dr. Smith’s meddling. The new Lost in Space shuffles this around a little bit: Now instead of reprogramming the robot to do her bidding early on, “Dr. Smith” keeps the robot’s secret for a good portion of the series. But, having Bill Mumy play the “real” Dr. Smith in the new Lost in Space is deliciously meta. Because when he played Will Robinson as a child in the Sixties, Mumy shared a lot of screentime with the original Dr. Smith, Jonathan Harris.
Before Lost in Space, Mumy was also famous for starring in the epically creepy episode of The Twilight Zone called “It’s a Good Life,” in which he could transport people to a cornfield with his mind. But, Mumy didn’t stay away from sci-fi as an adult either. On the Nineties sci-fi epic Babylon 5, he played Lennier, a member of the alien species know as Minbari. Like the new robot in Lost in Space, that alien race also was responsible for murdering a bunch of humans, but then later became huge allies. Mumy also guest-starred on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The point is, the guy is sci-fi royalty.
We don’t get to see much of Mumy’s version of Dr. Smith in the new Lost in Space, but it’s beyond cool that he’s in there.
Plus, the early death of Mumy’s Dr. Smith gives new meaning to the fact that Will Robinson, is definitely in huge danger. - Lost in Space is streaming now on Netflix.