You may think you know Superman’s lineage, but Krypton is throwing out the classic script. Syfy’s new DC Comics drama isn’t sticking to the source material about the most famous superhero ever. The new series about Superman’s grandfather Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) isn’t just going to be flashbacks to the House of El’s beginnings, it’s wholly reinventing them.
Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, when Krypton begins, Seg-El is a young man faced with a life or death conflict to either save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson after getting approached by Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos), a time-traveler from Earth.
When the series was first announced, fans assumed Krypton would be just another origin story for the House of El that would give Superman to the world. But at the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association press tour, DC Entertainment boss Geoff Johns revealed to the room of journalists that by introducing time travel with Adam Strange, they aren’t beholden to the history of Superman’s origins.
“There’s been a lot of stories in the comic books about Krypton that we do derive inspiration from, but the time travel element does give us an unpredictability and some creative license to do stories that we don’t know stories that could play out differently than what people might assume,” Johns says. “The door is open for anything.”
In fact, because of that, Krypton has the ability to dive into deeper comic book stories than fans have ever seen in live-action before. “This is the gateway into the DC science fiction universe,” executive producer David S. Goyer says. “Even the inclusion of Adam Strange, that should tip you off that it’s not just going to be set on Krypton.”
The showrunners already have an idea for where they want to see Krypton go past the first season. “We do roughly have a seven, eight year plan,” Goyer says. “But a lot of people know that Krypton blows up and that’s what causes Superman to come to earth but this is really an untold story. Time travel is involved which means that the ending of our show, history can be changed and what happens in this show can be very different from the backstory that people know.”
That means the present day Superman stories being told in live-action will not be where Krypton ends up going in the present. And the fact that Krypton isn’t going to tie into the onscreen DC Comics world on television and in films means they can take their story anywhere. There’s no telling where it will end up.
“It’s almost entirely advantageous,” Goyer says of having this show exist on its own terms. “It is it’s own thing. Because of the time travel aspect, we have a tremendous amount of free reign. And it’s really an untold story.”
While the showrunners were cagey about specific plot points, Goyer did reveal that the show begins with the House of El in disgrace, a huge departure for the normally almost-royal family. “Krypton is really about how that ‘S’ [symbol] really gains this meaning,” he says. “When we start, it’s a symbol of shame, a scarlet letter. As we watch our character build it into something we love, that’s the core of the show, the heart of the show.”
Krypton premieres Wednesday, March 21 on Syfy.