5 things you need to know about the Krypton TV show (and Superman's grandad)

If you're worried you won't be seeing enough of Superman in the Justice League movie, don't fret. Your TV screen will be filled with dozens upon dozens of supermen (and women) next year, thanks to Syfy's upcoming TV show, Krypton. As the name suggests, the series takes place on Superman's home planet, long before DC's Man of Steel is even a twinkle in Jor-El's eyes. But how can you tell a story about Krypton without its most famous Kryptonite? Read on to find out with the five things you need to know about DC's latest super show.

Superman's grandad is central

Father to Jor-El and grandfather to Kal-El, Seg-El must redeem his family’s honour after growing up in the planet’s Rankless district. 

“The Rankless district,” says executive producer Damian Kindler, who developed Krypton with David Goyer, “is the oldest, roughest part of Kandor City. The upper class, when they have either broken laws or fallen out of favour, are sent to live in the Rankless district – a domed city, and it’s a tough hard-scrabble existence. In our first episode, the House of El is stripped of its rank, and the former Els are sent to live in the Rankless district.”

Seg-El has rough edges

“Young Seg grows up learning he’s got to be quick with his mind and quick with his fists,” explains Kindler. “He’s rougher and darker than Superman ever was.”

“The elements of this legacy that’s out there,” adds actor Cameron Cuffe, who plays the beleaguered Kryptonian, “and this sense of whatever it was that his family stood for, he’s very isolated from it. What’s real to him is just making it through another day. That’s where we meet him at the beginning of our story.”

There's a Zod prescence

Longtime Superman fans will no doubt be shocked to learn that Krypton places Seg-El in a star-crossed romance with a Zod – Lyta Zod, played by Georgina Campbell. 

“Within Krypton, there’s a very precise society,” says Cuffe, “and there’s a guild system. She’s within the military guild. She’s a soldier, and Seg is a hustler from the streets. It should be oil and water. Especially in a society that is leaning on very precise ideas about who you are, what can you do, and what you can stand for. So for that to happen is an act of rebellion. This is probably the most central relationship in the show as we start off.”

Krypton's a lot like earth

The show’s depiction of Kryptonian society, says Kindler, offers plenty of opportunities to comment on the problems plaguing our world. 

“The great thing about this show is we get to talk about issues of race, of reproductive rights, violence, government, and theocracy without going, ‘Eat your vegetables!’ We get to play it like, ‘This is a place where it doesn’t matter what colour you are, it matters what the genetic coding is.’ What happens when the technology is created for population control and genetic perfection for survival on a harsh planet? How does that affect the individual rights and dreams and aspirations of everybody?”

There'll be some familiar faces

DC Comics fans can look forward to some characters you recognise on Krypton, among them heroes Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) and Hawkwoman, who travel back in time to stop villains like Doomsday and Brainiac from erasing Superman’s legacy. 

“Threats from the future can impact the past in a way that rewrites history,” teases Kindler. “By the end of the pilot, everything you think you know about Krypton is fake. You’re gonna be like, ‘Oh my God, the game has changed. The future and the past are colliding!’"

This feature original appeared in our sister publication SFX magazine. For more sci-fi news, features, and reviews, pick up a copy now or subscribe so you never miss an issue. The latest edition is packed with Star Wars goodness, with all the behind the scenes exclusives on The Last Jedi that you could hope for, so don't pass it up!