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Series / Krypton

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Krypton is a DC Comics-inspired Science Fiction television series initially developed by David S. Goyer and Damian Kindler for Syfy, with later writing additions by Geoff Johns. The first 10 episodes-long season premiered on March 21, 2018.

The story takes place on the planet Krypton, 200 years before its destruction and Kal-El's arrival on Earth. It follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Kal's grandfather. As a boy, Seg-El witnesses his grandfather Val-El (Ian McElhinney) being sentenced to death for sedition and heresy by the oppressive High Council of his city, Kandor. The House of El is dissolved, with its members deemed among the "Rankless", Krypton's underclass (making him just Seg, in practice).

Decades later, as a young man, Seg meets a stranger who claims to be from the planet Earth, and that his grandson will become "the greatest hero in the universe". However, this means an enemy, Brainiac — who Val-El had discovered, to no avail — is coming to destroy Krypton to prevent that hero from ever existing. Now Seg must take up his grandfather's work and fight to redeem his family's honor, save his homeworld, and ensure the existence of Superman.


The show has been renewed for a second season, with the first episode scheduled for June 12, 2019.

Previews: Trailer for Season 1, Trailer for Season 2.

Characters tropes go on the character sheet.

The pilot provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Seg-El's name is spelled Seyg-El in the comics.
    • Also, his grandfather Val-El was Don-El in the comics.
    • The show also changes the classic Kryptonian naming conventions. In the comics, females take their father's full name (Supergirl is Kara Zor-El, for instance). The show just has the females use the family name like the males. Word of God says this was to make it less patriarchal.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The pilot glosses over how Adam Strange can communicate with Kryptonians. It's later shown that there exist other languages on Krypton that a regular Kryptonian, like Seg, has no familiarity with.
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  • Alternate Continuity: While early in development, David Goyer vaguely indicated the show was set in the DC Extended Universe ("200 years before Man of Steel"), Geoff Johns later clarified this is its own thing. It's also one to the Arrowverse version of Krypton as seen in Supergirl (2015).
  • Alternate Timeline: The series firmly becomes this as of the first season finale, where Kandor is saved from Brainiac and Krypton's fate is altered, thereby erasing Superman from existence.
  • And I Must Scream: When Brainiac bottles a city, its inhabitants are put into a living stasis, unable to move, never suffering from age or the necessities of life, but constantly aware.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Seg to Adam in "Civil Wars", after learning that Krypton is doomed to explode:
    Seg: What's the point of any of it, of making the world a better place, of having children, of protecting our loved ones, if it all just ends in fire and death?
  • Arranged Marriage: Standard for at least the Kryptonian Houses. Seg is matched up with Nyssa-Vex (despite being Rankless) because of their superior projected genetic combination. Her father Daron-Vex even offers to adopt Seg into the family, making him Seg-Vex. Lyta-Zod is promised to Dev-Em.
  • Badass Family: The House of Zod have a long history of military service to Kandor, specifically as commanding officers.
  • Bad Future: In the season 1 finale, Brainiac is sent into the Phantom Zone with Seg, and Dru-Zod destroys the projector to prevent any rescue. As a result, Krypton is spared collection by Brainiac, but Zod takes over as a military dictator. While the details aren't clear, it seems that Doomsday is eventually released on Krypton, and Zod makes his way to Earth, either becoming its hero or its conqueror. Brainiac then eventually collects a city from Earth, which presumably means Earth will be destroyed.
  • Bar Brawl: Seg's very first scene. He's drunk, owes some money to some people, said people beat him up, and he hits back.
  • Batman Gambit: In the season 1 finale, Dru-Zod gives up the location of the Fortress and Val-El with it to Brainiac in a desperate attempt to save Krypton. When he gets there, Seg threatens to kill Val to deny Brainiac his prize, but Brainiac just tosses him aside with telekinesis and reveals that what Seg threatened to shoot is a mere hologram. Seg then reveals that the point was to maneuver Brainiac into the path of the Phantom Zone projector.
  • Big Bad: Though Krypton has an mysterious masked overlord called "The Voice of Rao" who holds sway over the Kryptonian High Council, the main villain of the story is Brainiac, who has traveled back into time to destroy Krypton in the past and thus avert Superman's birth, which would allow him free reign over a universe no longer protected by the greatest hero it has ever known. Geoff Johns literally calls him the Big Bad of the show. And then there's the matter of General Dru-Zod — whereas it turns out that Brainiac isn't a time traveler (his attack on Krypton was always part of the timeline), Zod is, having come back to save and take over Krypton, as a side effect erasing Superman from existence.
  • Bilingual Bonus: All the Kryptonese in the show does translate. The words on the Voice of Rao's robes are the Kryptonian version of Malachi 3 from the Geneva Bible.
  • Body Backup Drive: "Hope" reveals that the ruling class of Krypton have clone bodies in storage that would allow them to live forever and retain their power.
  • Call-Forward: Plenty to drive the point home about how this is a Superman prequel.
    • Perhaps the most blatant of them all is the fact that Val-El has a secret icy lair called "the Fortress of Solitude".
    • The use of the first notes of John Williams's Superman theme here and there.
  • City in a Bottle: The first live-action appearance of Brainiac's collection of shrunken bottled cities. One is visible in the first trailer. After he collects cities this way, he destroys the rest of their planets.
  • The Clan: Kryptonian houses are basically family clans.
  • The Coup:
    • The Vexs plan to oust the Voice of Rao and seize control of Kandor. With Jayna's help, they make their move in "Civil Wars"... and due to Brainiac's having possessed the Voice, they fail.
    • Dru-Zod takes over Kandor once the Brainiac threat is neutralized, with no Seg in his path.
  • Crapsack World: Krypton is at its very worst before its death. The whole planet has had an apocalypse, stuck in a centuries-old planet-wide sub-zero snowstorm. The former mega-cities have been reduced to small, ugly police states where martial law is the official government and the Ranked have full reign over the poverty-stricken Rankless. Kandor is currently at war with giant monsters, undiscovered aliens, and all the other surviving cities. At this point, it's no wonder why the technologically-advanced space-faring Kryptonians didn't realize their planet was going to explode - they were too busy trying to deny it along with the crippling, suicidal depression of a dead world.
  • Death's Hourglass: Seg gets Superman's cape, which is slowly disappearing. When it's completely gone, Superman will have been erased from history. Reversed in the first season finale... then the sigil changes to the Zod symbol.
  • Disappointed in You: In "House of Zod", Jayna calls her daughter Lyta her greatest shame, since she was forced to make a deal to save her at the cost of her honor. Though in "Transformation", Jayna tells Lyta if she knew the whole truth then, she would gladly do it again.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A Sagitari fatally shoots a Rankless essentially for telling her not to choke his friend to death, and claims self-defense when Lyta-Zod demands to know why. Lyta, thoroughly unimpressed, snaps that a highly-trained officer of the law with a gun has no reason to be so afraid of a civilian—and promptly arrests her.
  • Domed Hometown: Kandor has a dome covering it to shield against the endless blizzard which has rendered most of Krypton uninhabitable. Other cities on Krypton are similarly domed.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: The commander of Black Zero knows of Brainiac and is also working to stop him, but is doing so separately from Seg and even Black Zero. He's really General Zod, who's come back in time to prevent Krypton's destruction.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Kryptonians believe themselves to be the only intelligent life in the universe, and any suggestion of other intelligent beings existing out there is treasonous and heretical. This is partly why Val-El was sentenced to death - he saw Brainiac coming for them.
  • Enemy Mine: In "Hope", Seg tries to get the Sagitari and Black Zero to work together to stop Brainiac. It's Teeth-Clenched Teamwork to the core, but the reluctantly go along with it. Sadly, Brainiac telekinetically forces one of Black Zero's mooks to shoot a Sagitari, causing a firefight that quickly ends with all but Seg dead.
  • Evil Overlord:
  • Evil Is Petty: General Zod takes the time out before leaving on a mission to retrieve a weapon of mass destruction to shine a flashlight in Adam Strange's eyes.
  • Evil vs. Evil: General Zod knows Krypton doesn't possess the technology to repel Brainiac, but he thinks Doomsday might have the strength to defeat him.
  • The Faceless: The Voice of Rao's face is kept hidden, either by his mask or being shot from the back. Even when he rips the mask off during the possession by Brainiac, he covers his face with his hands. By the time he unmasks later in the season, his face has been distorted by Brainiac's machinery.
  • Faking the Dead: Val-El used a Phantom Zone projector to survive his execution, but lacked a way to escape thanks to Zod stealing the device which would allow him to return.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Krypton formerly followed a pantheon of six gods before turning monotheistic. Rao is now their sole god, and Daron-Vex rattles off the names of the five others that the Kryptonians used to routinely worship. At least one of them, Cythonna, still has worshippers, the Cythonnites, but declare they were heavily purged in the past and now exist entirely underground.
  • Gender Flipped: Unlike in the comics or other adaptations, Jax-Ur is a woman.
  • Heroic Lineage: Seg-El is Superman's grandfather and Jor-El's father, and he is the hero of this story.
  • Homage: Seg-El's name is a modified version of Jerry Siegel, one of Superman's original creators.
  • Hope Spot: The season 1 finale has Brainiac sent to the Phantom Zone and then Superman's dissolving cape immediately becoming whole again, only for Seg to be seized by Brainiac's tentacles and pulled into the Zone with him, and the cape's sigil of Superman/El turning into the sigil of Zod.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The show is more sexually charged than most previous adaptations of the Superman mythos. Seg and Lyta-Zod make love in the pilot, albeit with Modesty Bedsheets. Nyssa-Vex's outfits show generous cleavage and later she changes in front of Seg, with a quick glimpse of sideboob.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Seg to Rhom.
  • Impaled Palm: Jayna Zod impales the hand of Lyta Zod to teach that Sagitari never ask for mercy, and never give it.
  • Kid from the Future: Black Zero's commander is Lyta-Zod's future child, the one and only General Zod.
  • Kneel Before Zod:
    • The House of Zod, who "kneel to no one". It Runs in the Family apparently.
    • In the first season finale, the man himself makes this declaration after taking over Kandor as a military dictator.
  • La Résistance: In the trailer, Seg says "The House of El led a revolution against tyranny." In the show, a movement called "Black Zero" opposes the Voice of Rao.
  • Last of His Kind: By the pilot's end Seg is the last of the El family, except that Adam Strange gives him Superman's cape.
    Adam Strange: This belongs to your grandson, Kal-El. Emphasis on the El.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Voice of Rao wears white robes and a gold mask, and is a theocratic dictator.
  • Liquid Courage: Just like Earthlings, the Kryptonians produce liquors and get drunk for fun.
  • Logo Joke: The DC logo is set in space, and embedded with red Kryptonian earth. It turns green (the color of kryptonite, radioactive Kryptonian earth) and explodes (foreshadowing Krypton's fate). The WB logo appears from the explosion, still shaded green. See here.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Brainiac has traveled back in time to destroy Krypton and prevent Superman from ever existing. In fact, this is not true. Brainiac isn't from the future; he was always meant to attack Krypton and steal Kandor. Doing so destabilizes the planet's core and ultimately causes its destruction 200 years later. Adam Strange is actually the one invoking this trope, as Krypton has to be destroyed so that Superman will come to exist. He insists he didn't know better, however, assuming Brainiac had traveled back until General Zod clarified history for him.
  • Mercy Kill: After Jayna-Zod shoots both Ter and Charys, Daron-Vex accuses her of giving them easy deaths compared to what he had planned for them. Jayna-Zod had earlier promised Cherys a merciful and quick death, pointing out that there were things they could do to the condemned worse than merely killing them.
  • Mooks: Subverted in this setting, as Brainiac's sentry operates at first like the sentries/drones carrying out plans similar as presented in previous Superman media, then is shown able to carry out more complex and even subtle planning.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Superman's iconic cape has the classic yellow symbol, while Val-El's cape has a black symbol like Superman's cape in the New 52 continuity.
    • Seg-El's narration that opens the pilot closely matches at first the intonation Marlon Brando used as Jor-El, then switches to young Seg's voice.
    • The sunstone first appeared in the comics following Infinite Crisis, which was used to create a new Fortress of Solitude resembling the one in the Christopher Reeve movies.
    • The John Williams theme, also from the Reeve movies.
    • The House of Vex is a prominent family here. One of General Zod's followers in Man of Steel was named Car-Vex.
    • Three Black Zero criminals are sentenced in the pilot, framed similarly to Zod, Ursa and Non in the Richard Donner movies.
    • Though not mentioned onscreen, Black Zero was the name of Zod's ship in Man of Steel. This in turn was a reference to a terrorist group on post-Crisis Krypton, which itself was a reference to a pre-Crisis villain who claimed to be responsible for Krypton's destruction.
    • Val-El's "Fortress of Solitude" includes an atrium with an enormous statue of a man and a woman holding up a globe, essentially identical to the portrayal of Superman's Fortress (seen in comics and animation) where the statue shows his parents holding up a globe of Krypton.
    • Seg calls Earth "Planet Detroit" after Adam mentions being from there, similar to the "Planet Houston" joke from Superman II.
    • A Zod (Lyta) kills her opponent with a Neck Snap. Ironic.
    • The Black Zero commander also kills an underling with a neck snap. Which in hindsight is foreshadowing that he's also a Zod.
    • Cythonna from The Last God of Krypton is mentioned by Daron-Vex as one of the old gods of Krypton.
    • Val-El shares a name, and the House of Zod members have the ethnicity, of Kryptonian Val-Zod from Earth 2 and Convergence.
    • The hologram of Val-El mentioned to Seg how one of their ancestors saved Krypton from a "Green Death", which is what slowly destroyed Krypton post-The Man of Steel.
    • Lyta is held prisoner in Fort Rozz.
    • Jayna's father tells her that Zods do not kneel. General Dru-Zod later comments that he's not used to kneeling.
    • General Dru-Zod and the Cythonnite priestess imply that Doomsday was created on Krypton by the Kryptonians themselves.
    • Seg's friend Kem shares the same name as Superman's ancestor Kem-L in the comics.
    • There have been several Jax-Ur's throughout the Superman franchise.
    • "Flamebird" is one of the code words used to open the Genesis Chamber's secret facility.
  • New Era Speech: In the season 1 finale, General Zod gives one about the glory of having united Krypton's city-states under a single regime, and how they'll now make Krypton the seat of an interstellar empire.
  • No, You: Between Daron-Vex and Jayna-Zod.
    Daron-Vex: You're just a blunt object.
  • The Order: Krypton's professions are divided into Guilds (Lawmakers, Military, Science, etc.), which are intimately linked with family houses and bloodlines.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Subverted. Seg explicitly states that he knows the tunnels better, allowing him to arrive shortly after two people who left hours before him did.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Brainiac is an alien intelligence of incalculable power menacing Krypton, a society that has laws against even believing other life exists, much less having a means to counter it.
  • Palm Bloodletting: Seg-El slices his palm to drip blood onto the El family glyph on a console in Val-El's Fortress of Solitude to activate the computer systems.
  • Prequel: Takes place 200 years before Krypton's destruction, although it veers into Alternate Timeline.
  • Race Lift: In the show, the members of the House of Zod look similar to black humans. Its most famous member, Superman's foe General Dru-Zod, looks like a white human in the main comics universe and most incarnations. Though Val-Zod, the Superman of Earth 2, is a black Kryptonian.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Dru-Zod is the son of Seg and Lyta, meaning like in Superman: Earth One, he's Superman's uncle.
  • Red Shirt Army: One or more of the Sagitari get killed almost per episode.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: The fact that Kal-El/Superman's cape is slowly vanishing from existence serves as a hourglass for Seg now that he's in a Race Against the Clock to save the future.
  • The Scapegoat: After the botched Black Zero raid, the Voice of Rao demands someone be held responsible so the people will calm down. Lyta-Zod is framed for the casualties and arrested as a Black Zero supporter.
  • Secret Test of Character: A rare villainous example. The Voice of Rao, who's now being controlled by Brainiac, gives Ona questions about faith to see if she's worthy of joining him. While he does outright state it's a test, he does not tell her what kind.
  • Sequel Hook: The season 1 finale ends with Zod taking over as a military dictator, Adam Strange in a bottled city evidently taken from Earth, and Doomsday's stasis pod failing, letting the monster free.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: General Zod claims to have come back in time to prevent Krypton's destruction, which will happen if Brainiac is allowed to collect Kandor. Unfortunately, this would also stop Superman from existing, if not in body then at least in spirit.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Seg-El and Lyta-Zod are in a clandestine and forbidden relationship. They're in different social classes, and even if he wasn't, his grandfather was a notorious criminal. Oh, and they're both promised to other people.
  • The Starscream: Daron and Nyssa are planning to overthrow the Voice of Rao and take control of Kandor for themselves.
  • Suicide by Cop: The Heroic Sacrifice of Seg's parents to protect him and the secret of the Fortress of Solitude. They both draw a blaster gun inside the court room in which Charys was on trial, and Jayna-Zod shoots them both as a result.
  • Time Skip: The season 1 finale ends with a one-month time skip, during which Zod has seized control of Kandor and conscripted its populace, Doomsday has broken free of his pod, and Earth has a dark future of being visited by Brainiac while Zod has replaced Superman.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Along with the very human practice of drinking, Kryptonians enjoy gambling, which Seg does and gives him trouble regularly.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: The seal on Doomsday's vault requires blood samples from two distinct sources: the House of El and the House of Zod, who originally sealed the monster away.
  • Uterine Replicator:
    • Kryptonians reproduce by putting their DNA in the Genesis Chamber, similar to Man of Steel, leaving their offspring to be grown. Seg and Nyssa-Vex conceive a child that way in the pilot. But Kryptonians can still have old-fashioned coitus.
    • Reminiscent of the film Gattaca, Seg and Nyssa's child has its sex, lifespan, career and likely cause of death computed and announced to them, all from a single fertilized egg. It's a boy, he's already named Cor-Vex, and he'll be a famed lawmaker before dying of old age.
  • Wham Shot: The El crest vanishing from Superman's cape and being replaced with the Zod one.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Brainiac's sentry carried out the traditionally expected operation of reaching a planet and then signaling back to Brainiac, while carrying out a second plan to quietly approach and take control of Krypton's central leadership figure.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The "Black Zero" group. In their first major scene, one member tries to suicide bomb the Voice of Rao, but Seg helps stop him solely to save his father who was in the same place. Later in the season, they're expanded on as wanting to end the oppression of the Ranked and bring equality and freedom to Kandor.


Example of: