How Lost In Space Time Travel Works

Lost in Space the full cast in front of the stars

Bear with me for a moment here, but I feel like we’ve done this before. Not the time travel write ups, as that’s obviously a recurring feature we’re running here at CinemaBlend. But there’s this nagging sense of déjà vu I can’t seem to shake. Eh, such are the occupational hazards when you examine traveling from here to there in the now and then, and today’s case file is literally out of control. Get ready to be flung into the uncharted stars, and crashing the barriers of time itself, as we’re about to look at how the time travel in Lost in Space works!

Though before we move too far, don’t forget that we have plenty of other time travel case files stacked on our desks here at the CinemaBlend labs! And we’re proud to say that this is our first reader request that we hadn’t already thought to list on the docket. It’s for that reason we encourage you all to send us your suggestions as to which time travel stories we should tackle in the future. You never know what stories are lying out there, waiting for their time to come. Now, with the Robinsons tucked in on the Jupiter 2, and hell about to break loose, let’s go get Lost in Space.

Lost in Space Older Will shows off the time machine to his father

The Time Travel in Lost In Space

Lost in Space was supposed to be your standard “save the world” mission. The Robinson family, under the watchful eye of Major Don West (Matt LeBlanc,) were going to colonize Alpha Prime and complete the Hypergate link that’d evacuate Earth’s citizens to a new and fruitful planet. And then sabotage sent them hurtling into the depths of space, where the star charts aren’t exactly up to date, and a mysterious temporal event would have a huge effect on their journey moving forward.

Who's Time Traveling

The entire compliment of Lost in Space’s travelers aboard the Jupiter 2 get to engage in a little bit of time travel. The Robinsons: Professors John (William Hurt) and Maureen (Mimi Rogers,) as well as their children, Judy (Heather Graham), Penny (Lacey Chabert), and Will (Jack Johnson) were supposed to be the only other people on board the ship. However, thanks to saboteur Dr. Zachary Smith (Gary Oldman) accidentally stowing away, he’s part of the fun as well; and with a deadly secret that eventually complicates matters.

From When To When

The temporal distortion seems to stretch between the years of 2058, where the film and its Jupiter Mission starts, to the year of 2078, 20 years in the future. Though, fun fact, 2078 looks like a lot different than it should, considering our last trip to 2074 in Looper was very restrained compared to this.

The Purpose Of Their Trip

For the Robinsons of 2058, the trip into the temporal distortion created by Lost in Space’s time machine is an unknown journey. But for the older Will Robinson (Jared Harris), breaking the walls of time is meant to do only one thing: save his family from certain death by preventing them from ever leaving Earth in the first place, where as Dr. Smith, mutated into a creature known as “Spider Smith,” wants to go back and take over Earth, via his spider eggs just waiting to hatch. Ultimately, Will uses this power to send his father back to the Jupiter-2 just as it’s about to crash into some space debris while trying to escape.

Lost in Space Older Will mans the controls on top of the portal

How Time Travel Happens In Lost In Space

Lost in Space operates on a principle I like to call “Chekov’s Time Machine.” As we see young Will Robinson’s experiments in creating a temporal distortion device yield some interesting school science projects, it’s eventually revealed that Will’s designs were pretty solid. With 20 years, and only an older/mutated Dr. Smith to nurture his ambitions, Older Will creates a working portal to the past. Using the HyperEngine and core materials from the Jupiter-2, Will’s older self is able to open a portal to the exact co-ordinates of the mission launch back in 2058. Generating a window in time that one could literally walk, or jump, through, Lost in Space makes it as simple as turning on the machine, punching in the time and place you’re looking to go back to, and making it happen.

There are some stipulations though, as Lost in Space sees one really huge caveat included in its temporal traveling: there’s only enough power to send one person back on one trip. Will Robinson isn’t trying to spy on the future and see what’s going to happen, but rather he wants to just jump back in one specific trip to make things right in his eyes. It doesn’t matter where or when you’re going either, as the power limitations are what they are. Also, the planet the Jupiter-2 crash landed on is eventually torn apart by Will's experiment, leaving the family with no choice but to once again take a blind hyperjump at the end of the movie.

One final note: if you’re looking to time travel in the world of Lost in Space, another key thing to know is that you’ll have to literally look before you leap. As Older Will Robinson drops his father onto the bridge of the Jupiter-2, we see him fall through the portal and right to the floor. So it’s probably a good idea to program your journey to somewhere that has a nice couch, or at the very least a ball pit, is available to cushion the fall.

Lost in Space John watches his family die with Older Will behind him

Can History Be Changed As A Result Of Time Travel In Lost In Space?

The history can definitely be changed in Lost in Space’s method of time travel. In a pseudo-time loop sort of scenario similar to what we’ve seen in Star Trek: Generations, Will Robinson is able to send his father back to the moment where his family is trying to leave the surface of the planet. With the knowledge of how they die fresh in his mind, as well as some his patented scientific knowhow, Professor John Robinson saves the day by remembering the pattern of events that killed his family and thinking quickly to evade them.

By doing so, John theoretically erases Older Will’s existence, as Young Will is no longer going to be trapped with Spider Smith on the barren planet he would have called home. There’s even a chance that Dr. Smith can be cured of the slow mutation he suffers after taking a space spider bite in an earlier set piece. And as a bonus, Professor Robinson never has to worry about running into his past self, because he loops back to the present day through this trip, as he was already 20 years in the future. So technically, Will was sending his father home in the end.

Lost in Space the Robinsons reunited on the Jupiter 2 bridge

What Are The Consequences Of Time Travel In Lost In Space?

Time travel does wonders for the space family Robinson, as Lost in Space allows John to learn the ultimate lesson of being there for his family. But even just bringing back his knowledge of the family’s death helps alter things for the better, by preventing the wreck of the Jupiter-2. Allowing the entire cast to survive for a sequel that some folks probably still have hopes for, the Robinson family and Major Don West hyperjump into the unknown yet again. Which leads to a crucial difference that Lost in Space makes in the post-time travel storyline.

The Jupiter-2 crew now has the tools to get to where they’re hoping to go, thanks to their quick trip to an orbiting spaceship earlier in their time displaced adventures. The ship now has updated navigational information it didn’t have to begin with, which would have stranded the entire family in the depths of space. Nothing like popping onto a derelict ship from 20 years in the future, raiding the glove box, and finding an updated map of the stars! Though the turn of the millennium aesthetic will still remain, so depending on whether you’re into that sort of thing or not, this is either the best day ever or hell in the icy coldness of space.

Lost in Space Major West and the Robinsons

Here We Go Again

Bear with me for a moment here, but I feel like we’ve done this before. Not the time travel write ups, as that’s obviously a recurring feature we’re running here at CinemaBlend. But there’s this nagging sense of déjà vu I can’t seem to shake. Get ready… to help me figure out how to get out of our first actual time loop! Call it fate, call it destiny, call it we’ve scheduled our next adventure in advance and the time continuum is about to get screwy, as we’re about to go somewhere we’ve never gone before: the Edge of Tomorrow!

While being caught in this new temporal loop isn’t going to be fun, and the coffee’s going to be the same day in and day out, it will be exciting to go from talking about here to there in the now and then to trying to figure out how to escape the here and now. Strange times are ahead readers, and I’m not sure how email works in a time loop. So if you send us more requests for which temporal anomalies you want us to dissect next, I might be a little bit delayed in receiving them. Bear with me for a moment here, but I feel like we’ve done this before.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.