Let’s face it. Superhero movies and tv shows aren’t exactly known for their one of a kind ideas. Marvel and DC have thousands of ready-made characters and storylines to draw and choose from, leading to many superhero-based programs. Obviously, it’s not a matter of copying the comics, but it’s certainly easier than coming up with everything from scratch. KRYPTON, however, starts with a blank slate for the most part.

KRYPTON is about Superman (AKA Kal-El)’s grandfather Seg-El and his quest to redeem the El family name 200 years before Krypton explodes. It’s currently unknown why the Els are in trouble, though it might have something to do with General Zod’s family being in control of the planet at the start of the series.

At first glance, this might seem like just another “prequel” series similar to GOTHAM or SMALLVILLE. However, things aren’t that straightforward here. Despite being a space alien, a lot of what makes Superman, Superman is rooted on Earth. He derives his powers from Earth’s yellow sun. A lot of his supporting cast and rogues’ gallery consists of earthlings. Things like “truth, justice, and the American Way” make a lot less sense when you’re on other planets.

KRYPTON Superman's not really kryptonian
Image Courtesy of DC Comics.

In other words, the relationship between Superman and his planet of origin is a distant one. Krypton itself has always been this vaguely defined futuristic society. Even the main character of KRYPTON, Seg-El, has always been a fairly minor character in the comics. People are already comparing KRYPTON to GAME OF THRONES despite how little is known about KRYPTON. The producers even intend for the series to last about seven to eight years.

So, with all that in mind, let’s dig a bit deeper and get a better idea of what KRYPTON might have in store.

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What We Know So Far

One of the main sources of information for the upcoming series has come from its showrunners, David S. Goyer. Goyer was one of the head writers for MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN. In an interview, he states that KRYPTON was partially inspired by ideas he had for MAN OF STEEL. The main idea Goyer had revolved around how Kryptonian society works. He imagines that the Kryptonians created a strict system through bioengineering. This was in response to the overly hostile environment on Krypton.

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Thus, as to be expected, KRYPTON’s Krypton seems to be a slightly cheaper version of what we saw in MAN OF STEEL. Based on the trailer, the series takes place in a violent, sci-fi fantasy world where everyone wears dark leather and scowls all the time.

Well, not everyone. This guy in particular sticks out like a sore thumb.

Krypton
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Adam Strange

Having a show take place on Krypton means cutting yourself off from the mainstream aspects of the DC universe. I’m guessing the creators were concerned about that too, so they found a way out by using time travel. If you haven’t seen the trailer, the guy in the hoodie appears with a Superman cape in his hand. He tells Seg-El that Krypton’s going to blow up and that his grandson’s going to be Superman.

By the way, the guy in the hoodie is Adam Strange. He looks like this in the comics:

Krypton Adam Strange
Image courtesy of DC Comics.

Outfit aside, the portrayal of Adam Strange here isn’t too off the mark. In the comics, Strange is an ordinary human archaeologist who accidentally teleports to the planet, Rann. Like Krypton, Rann is home to a futuristic society made up of aliens who look exactly like humans. Granted, that doesn’t explain the whole time travel aspect. It also doesn’t explain how a normal human being can withstand Krypton’s atmosphere. Though, I suppose, at the very least it kind of makes sense from a backstory standpoint.

Anyways, Strange’s presence indicates that there’s more to KRYPTON than just Krypton. The showrunners have said that the characters will travel to other planets. They also said that the time travel elements might alter the situation in ways viewers might not expect. As Goyer puts it:

“Who knows? Maybe the planet won’t blow up by the time the show ends. You’ve got to watch the show. We have an idea for how the show ends[…] We think it’s pretty cool, but hopefully we’ll get there in six or seven seasons.”

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KRYPTON’s Characters

Aside from Seg-El and Strange, the main cast of KRYPTON consists of both Kryptonians and familiar names from the comics. Seg-El is in a forbidden romantic relationship with Lyta Zod. Lyta’s mother Alura Zod apparently shares her name with Supergirl’s mom from the comics. Also, you can’t have a tv show about Superman’s grandpa without having Superman’s grandpa’s grandpa there. So, we’ve got Val-El, who’s apparently some sort of pro-space-exploration advocate. Other characters include the El family matriarch Charys and Seg-El’s father, Ter-El. There’s also the Kandorian chief magistrate Daron-Vex, and his daughter Nyssa Vex. Then there’s Dev-Em, who’s been described as a “chiseled twenty-something bad boy.” Everyone on the show looks pretty chiseled already, so I’m just as confused as you are about that last part.

Krypton
Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Granted, none of those names are likely to stick in anyone’s heads before the premiere. So let’s talk about the people we actually know about. Doomsday and Hawkwoman are going to appear in the show at some point. Vril Drox, AKA Brainiac, will be the villain for the first season. Also, thanks to time travel, characters from all sorts of timelines could potentially join in as well.

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Will It Work?

If nothing else, KRYPTON certainly is ambitious. To take an unknown part of the DC universe and create a seven-year plan for it is risky enough. Then consider that one of the showrunners was the head writer behind BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN. Add in the fact that this is premiering on the channel best known for the SHARKNADO movies, and what you get is something that doesn’t quite inspire confidence.

Krypton
The former logo for KRYPTON. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Admittedly though, I am a bit biased here. I had no love for KRYPTON when it was first announced. Watching a bunch of human-looking aliens getting into fights over a doomed planet because they’re tangentially related to Superman sounds like all the worst aspects of the DCEU come to life. I do think there are other DC properties out there that would work way better as television series, like DOOM PATROL or OMAC.

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Still, there are things about KRYPTON that are worth looking out for. Specifically, the show’s scope is a lot broader than I had expected; traveling to other planets and characters like Hawkgirl and the Omega Men means there’s more than just Kryptonian infighting. If done right, KRYPTON could be a great live-action entry point into the more cosmic aspects of the DC universe. The series might even go on to incorporate elements like the Green Lantern Corps or The New Gods.

Messing Around with Space and Time

Personally, though, I think the most interesting thing about KRYPTON will be how it handles time travel. To have a normal 21st-century human running around Krypton telling people about Superman is goofy enough. However, Goyer did claim that Krypton’s demise might not even actually happen in-universe. This indicates just how unpredictable KRYPTON might just be.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the time travel elements are going to fall flat on their face. The very idea that Krypton won’t blow up is already contradicted by Adam Strange talking about Superman being Earth’s greatest hero. It’s likely that Goyer just said that Krypton might not blow up so that viewers wouldn’t be dissuaded from watching a show about characters who are inevitably doomed.

If Seg-El does end up altering the timeline though, characters and plot points from all sorts of alternate timelines and dimensions could potentially show up in the series. We might even get characters like Superboy-Prime, an alternate universe version of Superman who goes insane after his version of Earth is wiped from existence. I’m not sure he would mesh well with the sci-fi fantasy tone KRYPTON is going for, but if he were to appear on the show, I think that alone would make me a regular viewer.

Krypton
Image courtesy of DC Comics

In sum, KRYPTON’s got a lot of directions it could go in, and the team behind it might be biting off more than they can chew. In any case, as far as live-action Superhero tv series go, there’s certainly nothing on air that can compare to what KRYPTON hopes to accomplish. Only time will tell if they actually manage to pull it off.

KRYPTON will premiere on the SYFY channel on March 21, 2018.

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