The time-traveling Superman show Krypton will document the planet’s long and storied history in the context of Kal-El’s family, which means that — in addition to opening the floodgates to a different angle on the DCEU — the show will build historical links between Superman’s present and his alien past. New set images from the SYFY show help explain this bridge as we see production design grow from drawings to fully fleshed-out locations.
Entertainment Weekly spoke with production designer Ondrej Nekvasil about the impulses behind these images, and his ideas about everything from Seg-El’s apartment to the legendary original Fortress of Solitude (pictured above) are illuminating.
Speaking about Krypton’s Fortress, which is of utmost importance to the House of El, Nekvasil said, “What was important is that this place is not just a workshop or laboratory. It’s also some kind of spiritual place for the family. They also keep all the things they’ve invented. Not only the grandfather of our hero, but also his grandfather and his grandfather.”
The pared-down bareness of the lightly furnished family home stands in stark contrast to the more bombastic elements of science fiction on display. The geometric metal furniture gives the place a modern feel in a rugged environment — perfect for imbuing class into an alien design where simple things like a hallway (below) can be overly ornate.
This hall isn’t just flashy-ritzy, it’s indicative of Krypton’s culture. “It’s a theocratic society, and they believe in the [god] Rao, and Rao is the sun,” explains Nekvasil, saying that the window-laden hall is designed for maximum light. On the other side of that are the war room and dive bar that eschew light for a focus on the simple.
The bar, while colorful, is full of the same simple metal furniture and adorned with hanging bottle decorations that don’t exactly scream “posh.” The creation of a class divide inherent in the politics of the planet is paramount to the design team, whose focus on pitting simplicity against ostentatiousness reaches its middle ground at Fort Rozz.
This war room, while relatively empty, still shines much more like the corridor than the dive bar. Fort Rozz isn’t like it is in Supergirl — the base is fully functional and not yet a heavily guarded prison.
This Krypton isn’t like the one we saw in Man of Steel, but more grounded and human in its design and its implications. Though there are certainly hints of the alien in these drawings and pictures, the result is a world very near to our own. You’ll be able to see all these sets in action when Krypton premieres on March 21.