WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Krypton, which airs Wednesdays on Syfy.
The story of Superman has been well-explored over the years. In addition to the fan-favorite animated series, fans have been treated to modern live-action series such as Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997) and Smallville (2001-2011). Most recently, the Last Son of Krypton has been seen popping up on Supergirl.
However, it’s 2011’s Man of Steel (written by David Goyer) which brought him back to the mainstream big time, rebooting the heroes film franchise from the halcyon days of the Christopher Reeve movies and Bryan Singer’s highly-divisive Superman Returns. While this reintroduction by director Zack Snyder was polarizing, fans would eventually warm to the more heroic Superman (Henry Cavill) that evolved over the course of Batman vs. Superman (2015) and last year’s Justice League.
And now we have Syfy’s Krypton, a Superman series in which the Man of Steel seems destined to never appear as it explored the years before his birth. Indeed, it takes place decades before his titular home planet is even destroyed.
What’s most interesting about the series, apart from it being developed by Goyer as well, is its description as a “prequel series,” hinting that it was might be a precursor to Man of Steel and Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe. However, it turns out that the show, which focuses on Krypton’s existence 200 years before Kal-El was born, actually isn’t part of that continuity. Despite that disconnect though, there’s a lot of common ground that would make Krypton the perfect DCEU-based television series.
Goyer’s new narrative syncs up with the DCEU’s almost seamlessly, following the arc of Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Jor-El’s father, as he works with the artificial intelligence matrix of his own grandfather, Val-El (Ian McElhinney) to save the planet from Brainiac. This would preserve Krypton for its future destruction, allowing Kal-El to be born, escape via rocket and eventually become Superman. Here, Goyer goes deeper into Krypton’s rigid sociopolitical pyramid than the DCEU’s Superman films, exploring the caste and class systems, structures such as guilds, and just how the workforce is set up.
These are seeds he first laid down in Man of Steel, which led to Russell Crowe’s Jor-El losing faith in Krypton, its lack of equality, and how its inhabitants lost their souls and sense of justice along the way. Both Krypton and Man of Steel paint the patriarchs of the House of El as intelligent rebels who want what’s best for Krypton and its people; basically they’re Krypton’s social justice warriors. But in addition to these similarities in the El bloodline, we have common denominators in other areas.
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