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Syfy's Krypton Makes the Marvel Joke You've Been Waiting For

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of Krypton, "The Word of Rao," which aired Wednesday on Syfy.

They may share a surname, but Adam Strange and Marvel's Master of the Mystic Arts are worlds apart. While DC's sci-fi adventurer predates Doctor Strange by nearly five years, the latter has enjoyed far more success, headlining his own feature film and playing a central role in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. On Syfy's Krypton, Adam Strange may be “kind of a big deal" back on Earth, but not so big that he can't give a sly nod to that other Strange.

In this week's episode, "The Word of Rao," Adam (Shaun Sipos) consults with Val-El (Ian McElhinney) -- or, rather, his Phantom Zone projection -- in the Fortress of Solitude, in hopes of saving Rhom (Alexis Raben), who in the previous episode was infected by one of Brainiac's parasitic "scouts" in order to provide the Collector of Worlds with information about the planet. Val addresses him as "Mr. Strange," before he's quickly corrected by Adam.

"Please, Mr. Strange was my dad," he replies, "and, also, what he called the kid in gym class who licked feet. Call me Doctor -- nope, better make that Adam."

That's, of course, a wink at the more famous Stephen Strange, portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Benedict Cumberbatch, as this version of Adam Strange has already admitted that he dropped out of college during his first year. Therefore, he's not a doctor of anything, except maybe self-aggrandizement.

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In the comics, he's an archaeologist who teleported through a Zeta-Beam to Rann, where he uses the planet’s advanced technology to become its champion. On Krypton, however, he comes across as a bit of a con artist, who at least implied he invented the temperamental Zeta-Beam, and knows how to score free clothing and drinks. His mission checks out, though, at least so far: to help Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) save Krypton from the threat of Brainiac, and ensure that his future grandson will grow up to become Superman, the greatest hero in the universe.

Maybe once they accomplish that, Adam will be able to find a little time to pursue that doctorate.

Airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy, Krypton stars Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El, Shaun Sipos as Adam Strange, Georgina Campbell as Lyta-Zod, Elliot Cowan as Daron-Vex, Ann Ogbomo as Jayna-Zod, Rasmus Hardiker as Kem, Wallis Day as Nyssa-Vex, Aaron Pierre as Dev-Em, Ian McElhinney as Val-El and Blake Ritson as Brainiac.

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