Look! Over on your TV screen! It's a show! It's a prequel! It's Krypton, premiering this Wednesday, March 21, on SyFy!
Set 200 years before the birth of Superman, Krypton follows the Man of Steel's grandfather, Seg-El, whose life gets flip-turned upside down when he discovers that his grandson will someday be the greatest superhero of all time. In advance of the show's premiere, we've compiled a list of the things you can look forward to when you take your initial journey to Superman's homeworld.
In an age of hacks, data leaks, and doxxing, who better to serve as the big bad than a being whose power comes from collecting information? Brainiac is coming, and he is not playing around. Thankfully, Krypton leans into his comic book roots, giving him his trademark skull ship and a super-alien look (Blake Ritson, who plays Brainiac, divulged that he underwent about five hours of prosthetics every day when filming). This bodes well for the show as a whole, since one of the common pitfalls in live-action superhero adaptations is shying away from the OTT-ness of comics. For instance, Netflix's The Punisher did it to Frank Castle by spending way too much time on talking about his tortured emotions and not nearly enough time splattering bad guys across the streets of New York. When a dude rolls up in a ship shaped like a skull, though, you can expect some full comics-level high-concept adventures.
2. ITS LEAD IS A SERIOUS COMIC BOOK NERD
While it's not a requirement for actors in comics-inspired properties to be deep into fandom, it does help to know that one of us (i.e. a major geek) is among their ranks. And Cameron Cuffe, who plays protagonist Seg-El, has been buying and reading comic books for years, thanks to a childhood well spent. "I grew up in the time of the great animated series... [like] Batman: The Animated Series, Superman, and the Justice League," he recalled. "And I remember later on...I read one of those big encyclopedias on Batman, and that was the first time I heard that there was more than one Robin. That was really the flashpoint moment, no pun intended, of realizing how connected these lives were, and how much it was based around relationships and struggle and battle....from then on, I was hooked." A lead actor who makes Flashpoint jokes is an actor who knows his stuff.
3. ANCESTRAL HOLOGRAMS
From Richard Donner's classic movie to Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, screen adaptations of Superman have a legacy of their hero communing with big ol' ancestral holograms, and Krypton proudly carries on that legacy. Instead of Marlon Brando or Russell Crowe as Jor-El, though, the star of Krypton's holographic moments is a slightly more distant ancestor: Val-El (Ian McElhinney), Seg-El's grandfather. As with Brainiac, this show is happy to accept that holograms of your older relatives are A Thing. And why shouldn't they be?
4. SWEET AS HELL OUTFITS
Whether in the spacious halls of society's elite or in seedy bar districts, the Kryptonian aesthetic is strong; even among the poorest communities, the hairstyles, inspired by real-life contemporary street fashion, are always on point. But the looks are arguably strongest in the wardrobe of Nyssa Vex (Wallis Day), heir to one of the planet's most powerful families and massive fan of everything black, sculpted, and angular AF.
— Wallis Day (@wallisday) February 8, 2018
Think a combination of the evil Kryptonians' looks in Superman 2 and Gareth Pugh in space, but without any weird headgear.
Singer Li Yuchun in a Pugh creation.
5. WAR IS A WOMAN'S WORLD
Stop me if you've heard this before. A parent fails to connect with their child due to a regimented upbringing and a highly aggressive career/way of life which discouraged displays of emotion. Now the child is grown, and while they and the parent love each other, a lifetime of emotional repression leaves them unable to express their feelings except through conflict. That trope is freaking everywhere, from Frasier to Game of Thrones.
However, Krypton puts a new spin on it by placing women at the heart of its generational conflict. Jayna Zod (Ann Ogbomo) and her daughter Lyta (Georgina Campbell), the scions of Krypton's highest warrior class, continually butt heads over issues like maintaining social order, upholding militaristic tradition, and the applications of power. It's not the kind of stuff mothers and daughters normally discuss on TV, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be.
The Jayna-Lyta dynamic is a rarely seen exploration of warrior woman character types beyond the lazy Strong Female Character trope. Jayna, said Ogbomo, "basically had a spartan upbringing, so what she's been through herself is incredibly tough." Campbell agreed, noting that for the Zods, "everything has been built around strength and around being strong, and about not showing weakness...They can't talk about emotion; they can't talk about how they're actually feeling, which is difficult for both of them, because it means they get in a lot of situations where if they could just talk things would be sorted out, but since they can't everything just escalates." It'll be refreshing to see how Krypton's powerful women handle this.
What else are you looking forward to seeing on Krypton? Let us know in the comments!
Images: SyFy/Warner Bros., Wikimedia
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