As Superman continues to rake it in at the box office with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and the upcoming “Justice League” movie, his family is coming to a television set near you. The long-awaited “Krypton” TV series dropped its first trailer, and in it we saw a lot of intriguing ideas at play. The show stars Superman’s grandfather Seg-El as he attempts to return the House of El to its former glory.
The series was developed by David S. Goyer, who has worked on most of DC Comics’ movies over the last decade. It’s hard to get an idea of what to expect from the show, but here are 15 things we want to see when “Krypton” finally airs later this year.
The trailer shows what looks to be a bottled city, which can only mean that the presence of the villain Brainiac will be felt at some point. In several incarnations of “Superman” continuity, Brainiac is intrinsically linked to Krypton. In “Superman: The Animated Series,” he was the planet’s supercomputer that evolved beyond its original purpose. He has also visited Krypton before when he captured the city of Kandor and placed it in a bottle, as seen in the 2008 comic book storyline “Brainiac.”
It’s clear that the show wants to be more than a simple set-up to the story of Superman, but introducing Brainiac would help bring a serious threat to the world of Krypton—one they have no hope of defeating. Whether they want to depict him as an organic being, a robotic entity, or some combined incarnation, the coming of Brainiac could be a major story arc for the show to take on.
14. A LIGHTER TONE
Aside from the successful CW shows, every DC Comics adaptation over the last decade has been dark, brooding and foreboding. While it may have worked for Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy, it has sometimes been painful to see in Zack Snyder’s rendition of the DC Universe. The problem here, of course, is that David S. Goyer has worked on “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Justice League.” If you were hoping for a fresh voice on “Krypton,” it’s probably not happening.
Still, there’s no reason to render the world of Krypton in the same dread that has plagued the DC Extended Universe, even if the planet is fated to die. The little we have seen so far seems to do a good job of balancing fun science fiction with grounded drama. In the end, though, it’s an alien world, so let’s see some color and have some fun. The closer to the Golden Age depiction of Krypton, the better.
13. POLITICAL INTRIGUE
While we do hope there is plenty of action and adventure in “Krypton,” a little political intrigue never hurt anyone. Given the presence of two Kandorian magistrates on the show’s cast list in Daron-Vex and his daughter Nyssa-Vex, we have the perfect opportunity to get a good look into the everyday politics that take place on Krypton. Let’s get a good look into how the Science Council—the planet’s ruling oligarchy—works, and if they are anything but a group of ignorant tyrants, like they have been depicted in previous interpretations.
The rule of politics will undoubtedly fall into the realm of war and military action, which is where Alura Zod, the Primus of the Military Guild, will come in. There must be some kind of political conflict due to take place on this show at some point. Will that intrigue also fall into Seg-El’s plans to repair the House of El? What kind of backroom deals will he have to make in order to restore the name of El among his people?
12. A SENSE OF CULTURE
Though very few comics dwell on the culture of Krypton, we do have some idea about the way they lived their lives and how their society functioned. Let’s not only see these elements play out in live action, but let’s also see the show build upon these elements as more than just easter eggs for the fans. The culture, style, history and language of Krypton should be an essential part of the series.
On Krypton, the population was divided by a caste system. The Religious, Artist, Military, Science and Workers Guilds each wore a unique style of dress. The show seems to concentrate on the different houses of the planet like it were an alien “Game of Thrones,” but there’s no reason “Krypton” can’t incorporate both elements. If Seg-El belongs to the House of El of the Science Guild and Lyta Zod is part of the House of Zod of the Military Guild, that only helps to build the social division between the two lovers.
11. INTRODUCE THE MYTHOLOGY
Traditionally, Krypton has always been depicted as a society of advanced scientists who ultimately doom their planet with their own hubris. However, Kryptonian society also has a strong mythology that is shown to be preserved by the Religious Guild. The Kryptonian sun, called Rao, is also worshipped as a god who created all life on the planet. Let’s see “Krypton” depict some of the religious and cultural ceremonies the people once practiced, or even the cults that were active even during an age of science.
The religion surrounding Rao also bleeds into mythology and legend with the introduction of Nightwing and Flamebird, two legendary dragons who fell in love. There is also the entity known as Vohc, who was a creator god before embracing destruction and chaos. The show doesn’t have to give a history lesson in every episode, but it wouldn’t be too difficult to incorporate these names. It would make long-time fans happy and help create a fully formed, believable world.
10. FAMILY LIFE
If Krypton is going to be divided into a society of powerful households, let’s see them bring each House to life. The show will center around the forbidden love of Seg-El and Lyta Zod, but “Krypton” needs to be more “Game of Thrones” than Romeo and Juliet. This doesn’t mean the showrunners should actively try to copy the HBO series, but the show needs to provide each House with a unique sense of identity.
This means focusing less on the personal conflict between the Els and the Zods, and more on the complex division between each of the Houses depicted. We also need to see the inner workings of the House of El on its own. What is the relationship between Seg-El, his father Ter-El, and his grandfather Val-El like? Who are their allies and enemies, and how did the House of El lose favor in the eyes of their peers?
9. STRONG SECONDARY CHARACTERS
Casting announcements have established a strong collection of characters around Cameron Cuffe’s Seg-El and Georgina Campbell’s Lyta Zod. Adding a diverse set of characters to the show is a great way to establish different points of view and help the audience explore every part of “Krypton.” A diverse cast is also a real bonus to see.
The inclusion of Ian McElhinney as Val-El provides the series with an actor who has proven he can handle himself on a genre show. Hopefully he sticks around. The inclusion of Ann Ogbomo as Lyta’s mother is an interesting casting to look out for because she will also be playing the Amazon Phillipus in “Wonder Woman.” Hopefully we also see a lot from the character Dev-Em, an obscure character introduced in “Action Comics” #287 from 1961, who survived the destruction of Krypton and has been depicted as both criminal and hero. The potential for greatness with these characters is there.
8. WORLD OF KRYPTON
As important as Krypton’s people and culture are, the show can’t just take place in front of a green screen and the same generic hallways. The best way to bring Krypton to life is to built the cities from the ground up and show the audience the sights they want to see. The bottle city of Kandor was introduced in 1958’s “Action Comics” #242 as the last living embodiment of Superman’s home planet. About a year later, DC also introduced Argo City in “Action Comics” #252, which was a Kryptonian city flung into space following the destruction of the planet.
“Krypton” takes place before most of the Superman mythos is established, so Kandor and Argo City will be available for exploration. Kandor was once the capital of the planet, so let’s see how amazing and powerful the city was at one point. The trailer also shows a domed city, so this may be a tip that Argo City’s origin is preserved.
7. KRYPTON SAFARI
Humanoid beings are obviously the dominant lifeforms on Krypton, much like they are the dominant lifeforms on Earth. Like Earth, though, Krypton also has its fair share of animal species on the planet that have either been domesticated or still roam free in the wild. If the creators of “Krypton” want their depiction of the planet to be accurate, adding animal life is actually a must. It could also add some science fiction action to the show.
In various depictions of the planet, we have seen giant dragons, telepathic beasts, winged creatures, and even Earth-like animals. The wildlife on this planet is dangerous and, considering none of the Kryptonians will have powers, this shouldn’t be something that gets ignored. Maybe Beppo the Super-Monkey and Krypto are a little outlandish for this show, but there’s no reason we can’t establish the practice of keeping animals as pets. None of them would have powers anyway, so it wouldn’t really matter.
As a TV show that takes place on an alien world somewhere in the DC Universe, “Krypton” can’t take itself too seriously. That’s not to say it should be a comedy, but the show does need some fun action and adventure sequences to balance out the impending doom of the planet. To that end, the show should explore some form of superheroics, even if none of the characters will have superpowers.
One way to do this would be to introduce the masked crimefighters Nightwing and Flamebird. The duo were first introduced in “Superman” #158 from 1963 as the secret identities that Superman and Jimmy Olsen take up while in the bottled city of Kandor. These identities have also been used by various other characters over the years. Seeing as how they take their names from the Kryptonian deities, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine this duo showing up at some point during the show.
5. ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
Krypton has always been a world dominated by science and technological advancement. If their society is supposed to be hundreds or thousands of years more advanced than Earth, let’s see it in action. The trailer already gives us a glimpse at the amazing technology that is in use at the time, but what about all their advancements in things like bioengineering and robotics
Kryptonian Service Robots, like Kelex, have been seen serving families since their introduction in “The Man of Steel” miniseries from 1986. The Eradicator, a complex robotic being that works to preserve Kryptonian culture, can easily be adapted to fit “Krypton.” In both the comics and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” we see that Kryptonians were prejudice against clones and had laws against genetic tampering. Then there’s also the ability to bring back the dead in the regeneration matrix. There is so much that can be explored here.
Planet-sized weapons are considered to be a big deal in science fiction, so it’s only natural that “Krypton” have its own. If the writers want to introduce concepts from Superman continuity, including Warworld would be a fantastic thing to see in live action. First introduced in “DC Comics Presents” #27 from 1980, Warworld was one of the most powerful weapons in the universe and could be piloted by a single user to endanger all of Krypton.
While it eventually came under the control of the villainous Mongul, its appearance on the show could take place before he comes into power. Just the weapon itself is enough of a threat, to be honest. Warworld is also more popularly remembered as the home of extraterrestrial gladiator battles, which could make for an interesting storyline as the main characters of the show are pitted against dangerous alien fighters. This is the kind of stuff that Superman fans want to see.
We all know what Superman can do in the presence of the yellow sunlight of Earth. In many incarnations of the mythos, Jor-El knew what kind of abilities his son would have if he was sent away. Kryptonians had to have learned of their potential somehow, so what if their innate abilities were part of the show?
“Krypton” will clearly be a show full of non-superpowered humanoid beings, but that doesn’t mean Kryptonians can’t become aware of their abilities in yellow sunlight in some way. Maybe there are stories passed down over generations from before their sun turned red, or maybe they avoid space travel because of the dangerous abilities they generate and can’t control. Giving us a glimpse into how this society viewed their hidden powers would help put Superman into a more interesting context. Would his abilities be feared or celebrated if Krypton had lived to see him?
2. EXPLORE THE COSMOS
The show’s synopsis mentions Val-El’s desire for Krypton to embrace space exploration, which suggests there is some form of resistance to the idea. Kryptonian society has been traditionally depicted as isolationists who avoid leaving their planet or interacting with other species. For a television show with the DC Universe available for exploration, though, that aspect of their culture needs to be at least partially toned down. After all, their military needs to have some kind of conflict for them to fight, no?
There is far too much potential in seeing Krypton come into conflict with other cultures for them to never set food off their world. Imagine seeing the endless wars between Thanagar and Rann, or an altercation between Krypton and Almerac? A storyline about Daxam separatists leaving to colonize a new world would add a lot of conflict and give the Kryptonian military something interesting to deal with. Space exploration would also be how they come across Earth, where Jor-El ultimately chooses to send his child.
1. KRYPTONIAN CRIMINALS
Based on the synopsis of the television show, the Phantom Zone will be a part of “Krypton” from the early stages. Seg-El’s grandfather Val-El allegedly spends some time in the Zone, which is an easy way to introduce some of Superman’s future enemies. Let’s not transform “Krypton” into “Gotham,” where all the villains take form far before the hero comes in, but a few of these characters could work perfectly if presented in the right way.
It is said that Faora Hu-Ul and Jax-Ur are two of the longest tenured Kryptonian criminals in the Phantom Zone. There is also Xa-Du, the Golden Age villain who was recently reimagined into the crazed Phantom King. Any of these characters could make worthy adversaries on the show, whether they are sentenced to the Phantom Zone for the first time or escape to wreak havoc on their home planet. We won’t be seeing Zod on this show, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a renegade Kryptonian or two.
These were the 15 things we want to see on Syfy’s “Krypton” TV series. What do you want to see most? Sound off in the comments below!