Krypton Comic-Con Interviews: Time Travel and the Fate of Krypton

Here’s what we learned at the Krypton Comic-Con interviews

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Wait, not yet. We got a chance to do some Krypton Comic-Con interviews this weekend and we learned a lot about what’s coming on the new Syfy show about Superman’s grandfather. In our Krypton Comic-Con interviews, we chatted with star Cameron Cuffe and executive producers Damian Kindler and Cameron Welsh. We learned that the fate of Krypton is not what you think it will be and that we may see some villains we aren’t expecting through time travel.

Welsh told us about Seyg-El and who he is in comparison to his grandson, Kal-El. He said, “The thing about Seyg-El, unlike Superman, is he lives on the planet of Krypton, so he’s not under the yellow sun, so he doesn’t have those same powers. You know, Superman is the quintessential hero. Seyg, he’s not there yet. That’s not his journey, if you like. He’s much more sort of rough and tumble. He grew up on the streets and he’s just not — his journey will be to become that hero. What we’re looking to do throughout the series is put a number of moral dilemmas and challenges in front of him where he could choose one path and if he did, maybe his grandson would grow up to maybe be the Punisher. He chooses this path and his grandson grows up to be Superman. He doesn’t start out that way. There’s a big journey for him to get there.'”

When asked why we should watch if we already know what happens to Krypton, Welsh said, “It’s a question I think a lot of people have. What we’re doing with the show is, it’s not so much a prequel, but it challenges that expectation. We have a framing device for the show where there’s a conspiracy. I wish I could tell you exactly who’s involved but I’m not allowed. There are people coming from present day Earth, from 2017, back to Krypton of 200 years ago to ensure that Superman is never born. The stakes of the show, the ending you think you know about the planet blowing up, it’s not that. We don’t know what the ending is going to be because time has changed.”

We asked Welsh if we’d see any familiar characters, and he said, “Absolutely… because of the framing device I was talking about in terms of the time travel aspect of it, it allows us to bring characters into this world that you wouldn’t expect to see. Characters that don’t really belong in Krypton 200 years before Superman’s birth, but we have a very cool device that allows us to get them there. Particularly on the villains’ side of things, you’ll be seeing people on the show that I think DC fans are going to get very excited about. I’m excited about it.”

We asked about the character of Val-El and he told us, “Val-El is Seyg-El’s grandfather. He is a mentor to Seyg, but there’s been an event that happens early on in the pilot that affects their relationship in a way, so there’s a lot of mending to be done. When we first meet Seyg, he’s been sort of cast out of that upper class of Kryptonian society into the Rankless and he’s sort of spent the best part of his years growing up on the streets. He’s kind of disconnected from the legacy of the House of El and what it means and what it stands for. What we’re all kind of familiar with now, he’s kind of disconnected from that. So Val-El becomes really important. He’s the patriarch of the House of El and he’s an important character in kind of shaping Sec and trying to impart the lessons of the House of El’s legacy.”

The sets are definitely a character in the show. “We’ve got this massive backlot that’s all the Rankless districts,” Welsh said. “It’s unlike any other set that I’ve ever shot on before. It’s kind of winding streets. the way the world is structured, it’s kind of like winding streets on ground level, and in these massive towers is where the House of El, well, not the House of El anymore, but the House of Zod. They live in these towers, like a shining utopia, but on the streets, it’s kind of grimy and it’s a struggle down there.”

Kindler explained more about the Rankless. He said, “The Rankless district is a district of Kandor City that is the oldest, roughest kind of forgotten part of the city. And those who are in the gilded area, when they have either broken laws or have fallen into dishonor or out of favor, what have you, they are sent to live in the Rankless district, which is hard living, less comfortable means, less environmental support because they’re living in a domed city. It’s a tough, hardscrabble existence. In our first episode of Krypton, the House of El is stripped of its rank and the former Els are sent to live in the Rankless district and that’s where Sec grows up and learns he has to be quick with his mind and quick with his fists. It’s rougher and darker than Superman ever was.”

The character of Lyta Zod is sort of the Juliet to Seyg’s Romeo. Kindler said, “It’s a totally star-crossed relationship. The Zods are known for security, the head of the military guild. There is an expectation of security and honor as though you’re a West Point family or a Bunker Hill family. The Zods, they are not villains in the story. They are a force of good, a force to protect, but they are also caught up in the shifting political tides of what is happening in Krypton and Kandor City, the theocracy, the corrupt government, using the military for less than honorable means and there is a relationship between Lyta and Seyg, and they are in secret, they are both caught up in a real shifting tide of a Krypton that is under threat…she’s a crazy bad ass fighter and he’s a kid from the ghetto and they’re not supposed to be together.’

We asked more about time travel. Kindler said, “You have not just technology like the Phantom Zone, but you have villains who travel through time so that threats from the future… can rewrite history. By the end of the pilot, everything you think you know about Krypton and its fate and what happens to it, it’s all going to be thrown away and you’re going to be like, oh my god, the game has changed. The future and the past are colliding, big, big stakes.”

The breeding system on Krypton is definitely in effect, but it’s early on yet. Kindler said, “It’s just really begun to impact the issue of reproductive rights for women and for people. The great thing abut this show is that we get to talk about really relevant issues of race, reproductive rights, women, violence, government, theocracy, without going, ‘eat your vegetables.’ We get to actually play it like, this is a place that it really doesn’t matter what color you are. What matters is what the genetic coding is. And you don’t have the choice and freedom to do that anymore. So what happens when the technology created for population control and genetic perfection for the sake of the survival of civilization on a harsh planet, how does that affect the individual rights and aspirations and dreams of everybody?”

Cuffe spoke about whether or not Seyg would find out anything about his descendants through time travel. He said, “Well, yeah, so the story begins with this grand plot to prevent the birth of Earth’s greatest hero, so there are many forces that Seyg has to combat in this story, both his own society’s struggle against its own entropy and this new threat that is coming his way. So eventually.

Cuffe is a huge Superman fan and got into it through the animated series as a kid. From there he got deep into comic books, particularly Geoff Johns’ run on Teen Titans. He said he was also aware of where Seyg appears in some of the comics.

Cuffe told us he was excited to see where the show is going to go. He said, “We have an immensely talented cast and I’m looking forward to getting back together with all of them and just telling the story.” He told us a bit more about Seyg’s relationship with Val-El. He explained, “So Val-El was a prominent scientist on Krypton and was immensely important to Seyg growing up. So Val was this person who taught him about the wonders of science and the world and the importance of truth and looking for the answer, even if you might not like the answer. Even if it’s a difficult problem to solve, you have to face it head on, and that’s the only way you can do it. He loses his grandfather very early on in the story, and eventually, all those great stories told about the legacy of the House of El and what it means to be an El feel very far away to Seyg. But his grandfather is still the ultimate hero in his life. It’s a painful thing for him to think of him.

In terms of relationships on the show, Cuffe said, “You’ve got his grandfather Val-El and his memories of him, as well as Seyg and Lyta Zod. She is the scion of the House of Zod and within Krypton, we have this brilliantly constructed society that is so specific and taken from the comics, where you have a guild system. One of the guilds is the military system. She’s a soldier. She’s a very, very good soldier. And Seyg, when we meet him is kind of just sort of hustling on the street. They should be oil and water, but it turns into this romance. The thing is, what they see in each other is an escape from this society that is drifting towards authoritarianism. For them to be together in a society that has precise ideas about who you are and who you can be and the things you can do, to be together is an act of rebellion, so that is certainly one of the key relationships on the show.”

The Krypton series will follow Superman’s grandfather — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos. The Seyg-El name is both a nod to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and a reference to John Byrne’s 1980s miniseries, “The World of Krypton.” Cameron Cuffe is set to play Seg-El along with Georgina Campbell as Lyta Zod. Krypton will be executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeThe Dark Knight trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner. The pilot teleplay and story is written by David S. Goyer & Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a TimeTerminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Krypton will be produced by Warner Horizon Television and is based on characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, published by DC Comics.

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