Before Superman donned the tights and cape, he was a baby on his home planet of Krypton. Famously, it was only upon Krypton's destruction that Superman's father, Jor-El, placed his infant son (then called Kal-El) in an escape pod and sent him to Earth.
SYFY's new series Krypton, which premieres on March 21, will explore the generations of drama that predated that event, as well as the legacy it creates for the future superhero. Krypton follows the young Kryptonian Seg-El, portrayed by Cameron Cuffe (The Halcyon, Florence Foster Jenkins), who just so happens to be Superman's grandfather. The House of El has a longstanding tradition of rising up against oppressors and fighting for the common good, so when a stranger from the future, the aptly named Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos, Dark Matter, The Vampire Diaries), shows up to warn Seg that some bad people want to destroy Krypton, Seg is faced with a complicated question:
How do you protect the future of the universe?
Due to their rabble-rousing, the House of El has been cast out of Kryptonian society. So not only does Seg have to work on rebuilding his family's reputation, he also has to make sure Krypton isn't preemptively destroyed so that his grandson, Kal-El, can be born.
"Where I'm from, your grandson becomes the greatest hero of the universe," Adam tells Seg. That seems like a pretty big deal. But it's a bit bittersweet to know that your grandson becomes "the greatest hero of the universe" because of your world's impending destruction and the death of everything you know and love.
Seg has to hold that destruction off — but, maybe, not stop it altogether — for the sake of the universe.
Perhaps because of the complications that come with Seg knowing the future — because isn't the first rule of time travel something along the lines of "don't influence the past because you don't know how it will change the future"? —Krypton will be a time-traveling, planet-hopping adventure.
That opens up a DC Universe's worth of potential storylines.
THE GREATER DC SCI-FI UNIVERSE
Series executive producer David S. Goyer told Entertainment Weekly that Krypton is a "gateway into the DC science fiction universe. Because also the Phantom Zone figures into this show, it means we can delve into other times and planets eventually."
DC CCO Geoff Johns added that the series' time travel element "does give us some unpredictability and some creative license to do some stories you don’t know or stories that play out differently than what people might assume."
All this talk of time travel and gateways to the greater DC Universe is exciting news, especially when you take into account that Goyer revealed at the 2018 TCAs that Krypton already has "a seven-to-eight-year plan" in the works. Even if Superman doesn't make an appearance (though Goyer hasn't yet ruled that out), there at least seems to be plenty of time and flexibility going on for some classic DC faves to show up.
A WHOLE HOST OF POTENTIAL DC CHARACTERS
If you aren't too familiar with DC comics — and, don't worry, you don't have to know anything about comics or Superman to enjoy Krypton — then you might not realize the relevance of including Adam Strange in the story. See, Adam is a superhero, too, in the comics. We're just not sure exactly how super he'll be in Krypton.
The OG Adam Strange was once a simple human archaeologist before getting "accidentally" zapped with a Zeta-Beam and transported to the planet Rann. Luckily for him, the Rannians turned out to be pretty chill, and Adam took up some armor and a ray gun to be one of their warriors. While jumping between planets and fighting evildoers, Adam came across the almighty Justice League, the Green Lantern Corps, and a host of other superpowered heroes.
While Adam's story seems to be heading in a totally different direction in Krypton, that doesn't mean his fate isn't still somewhat tied to the JL, the Lanterns, and those other heroes.
One of those heroes will be, yes, Seg-El, originally spelled "Seyg-El" in the comics. The Seg in Krypton is a little different from the one that Superman fans might know, as the OG Seg was always depicted as a crotchety old dude with a rigid sense of morality. Cuffe's younger version of Seg is both a lover and a fighter. He upholds his family's honor and is viciously proud of their history. He also drinks at bars, gets into scuffles, and casually finds the fate of his people resting on his shoulders.
Seg and Adam will be joined by the villainous Brainiac (Blake Ritson, Da Vinci's Demons), Seg's father, Ter-El, and members of Krypton's other prominent houses, including the infamous House of Zod. Lyta Zod, portrayed by Georgina Campbell, is a warrior, the daughter of General Jayna Zod (Ann Ogbomo), and Seg's secret girlfriend.
You didn't seriously think there wouldn't be some romance involved, did you? Superman's gotta get born somehow, you guys.
Despite all these complications, at least we know that everything will turn out all right and that Superman will continue to be the hero the universe needs but doesn't deserve, right?
“It’s all untold story and fertile ground,” showrunner Cameron Welsh said. EPs Johns and Goyer confirmed that Krypton is disconnected from the rest of the DC universe, and they said they encouraged Welsh and his team to go hog wild, giving them "free rein" to even tackle their "own version of Doomsday."
That pretty much guarantees there are no rules. And that could spell bad things for Krypton's characters, as well as some really great things for fans.