How Krypton is freeing itself from decades of Superman mythology
The arrival of Krypton on Syfy comes at a time when comic book TV is redefining classic superheroes that have been the focus of attention for almost a century. Whether it’s the way Gotham is tackling the Batman mythos or the continuously growing universe of heroes on Arrow and The Flash, it’s anything but business as usual for DC comics on TV.
That’s what makes Krypton so interesting. While it tells the story of Superman’s family and his home planet, it’s set generations before the Man of Steel is even born. While it may sound like that makes for a boring story given fans know Superman’s story goes, this is a show that’s not really concerning itself with comic book canon thanks to the arrival of a time-traveling Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos).
GameSpot spoke with the cast of Krypton during a group interview to discuss the ways it deviates from Superman’s typical canon and what it means for the future of the series. Make sure you give Krypton a shot when it airs Wednesdays at 10 PM ET on Syfy.
For even more on Krypton, Comicbook.com talked to star Colin Salmon about his inspirations for the iconic villain Zod, and how he was influenced by Michael Shannon’s depiction of the character in Man of Steel.
1. Adam Strange’s time travel changes everything
The very notion of somebody coming back in time from the modern day is bound to make you think it will completely alter the timeline. With Adam Strange, that is absolutely the case.
“The second Adam Strange comes back into time,” star Cameron Cuffe (Seg) says. “The timeline is irrevocably changed. Things could change and things do change.” Executive producer Cam Welsh agrees, explaining, “I think because now that Adam Strange has traveled back in time, the timeline that we know from canon has now changed. That’s really what’s built into the premise of the show is can you rewrite history, and what are the dangers that can come out of that.”
2. Adam also provides Seg with a link to future generations of the House of El
Thanks to Adam’s arrival, it provides evidence to Seg of his family’s future, which will no doubt shape how he views his own fate. “[Adam has] been there, he’s been to the future, he’s from the future. He knows Clark, he’s met Clark,” Cuffe says. “Clark is his friend. Having this guy on Seg’s side, it makes him listen and it plays into the ideas that Seg does hold deep down, but [that] feel very far removed from who he is.”
3. The Zod family may not be so bad after all
The introduction of Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell) as a love interest to Seg was an interesting choice, given the bad blood between the Houses of El and Zod by the time Superman is born. As Campbell explains, though, Lyta is really nothing like the infamous General Zod–at least not yet.
“I think like all young people she has that idea that she wants to change things, and she wants to be different, and she wants to rebel against her parents,” she says. “And she’s very emotional, as you are when you’re young, and she’s in her first love and all that sort of thing. So I think it’s quite interesting over the series looking at how that develops and how things change. And also that question of, as you get older, do those things start to fall away?”
4. In fact, could the House of Zod be the source of morality Seg is lacking?
Tyrannical, Lyta is not. She’s merely a young woman trying to do what’s right in the world–something Seg could learn a thing of two about. “She’s a way more moral character than Seg is,” Cuffe admits. “She in many ways is Seg’s moral core, and he learns so much from her.”
5. The wild card that is Nyssa Vex
While Superman fans have met the ancestors of a lot of these characters before, there is one piece of the puzzle that is a total mystery, and her name is Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day). She’s a mysterious character who could swing toward good or evil. However, her family has no notable place in Superman canon. Though, perhaps, that’s going to change due to Adam Strange altering the timeline.
As Day tells GameSpot, her character does have a motive and it’s one that will be revealed sooner than later. “As time goes on yes definitely she definitely does lean one way and again at the end, we’re not quite sure if that was genuine, we don’t know but I can tell you for sure in this season she definitely does lean towards one side,” the actress teases.
6. There are no heroes and villains
The comic book history of Superman is filled with absolutes–there is good and there is evil. Superman is unabashedly good as he works to save the world from the likes of Lex Luthor, General Zod, or any other forms of ultimate villainy that come his way. Krypton is a different story.
Instead of dealing with good vs. evil, it operates somewhere in between. “There are no goodies and baddies. No one in this show is putting on a costume and fighting crime. There is no freak of the week,” Cuffe says. “Everything is changed at the end of every episode. The status quo changes, the relationships change, there are consequences to every action, so even when you win, it’s at a cost. Also, there are wonderful shades of gray. We have no villains on the show, there are no heroes on the show, everyone believes they are doing the right thing.”
That’s how you wind up with Superman’s ancestor being a conman or the House of Zod having the moral high ground. It’s taking what fans recognize as the norm and turning it on its head, constantly shifting alliances.