The Weta Workshop Design Studio was tasked with conceptualizing "Mother," a robot character that would function not as a prop or VFX asset, but as a practical suit worn by an actor on set.
Beginning in August 2015, lead concept designer Christian Pearce worked closely with Director Grant Sputore to create a range of designs that would establish an iconic robot silhouette within the parameters of a human form. Over several months, dozens of design iterations were produced while feedback was generated from R&D processes and the testing of suit mockups. The Workshop manufacturing teams also engaged with the design process early on to ensure the final design could be fabricated and function with little to no VFX. Project Leader Luke Hawker oversaw the design to manufacture process throughout the production and was eventually cast in the titular role of "Mother" in his capacity as a suit performer.