‘Krypton’ Producers and Star Talk Superman’s Legacy at TCAs

Cameron Cuffe, who plays Kal-El’s grandfather in SYFY’s new series Krypton, was joined by executive producers David S. Goyer and Cameron Welsh and by DC President Geoff Johns at the Television Critics Association panel on Tuesday. The four men took the time to answer questions regarding the show’s time travel nature, the burden of carrying Superman’s legacy, and the specific look for his home planet.

Even though any comic fan worth their salt knows that Superman is sent to Earth when his planet blows up, Goyer promised that the show’s ending is not a foregone conclusion. “This is really an untold story,” he began, pointing to the obvious time travel element shown in the first major trailer. “The ending of our show history could be changed, and what happens in this show could be very different than the sort of backstory that most people know.”

The appearance of Adam Strange caused quite a stir in both the audience at the panel and the fans viewing later from home, and Johns explained exactly why the producers chose to make him from the Midwest – much like Clark Kent himself. “It gives him a little more, I guess, normalcy and the Midwestern ethic that Superman has. Adam Strange is a character that doesn’t really embody, I think, what Superman does[…] but he looks up to Superman.”

While Krypton was first conceived in 2014 or earlier, it has taken several years to get the pilot off the ground and now turned into a series. That may point to production challenges in most cases, but Goyer instead refers to the specific needs of the program. “points to his unique and challenging vision as well as a significant special effects budget as reasons for the delay. “It was something that was meant to be on cable, and I said from the get go that I wanted to shoot in Europe, and we’ve got a significant visual effects budget for the show, very significant. And, frankly, the post-production period is almost double that of your average show. It just takes a long, long time.” As for why it needed to be Europe? “When people think of fantasy or science fiction and you think of accents, for whatever reason, that kind of Mid-Atlantic or British accent is the default accent when you’re dealing with an alien world.”

Cameron Cuffe considers himself a big fan of Superman, and he had a lot to say about the difficulties that come with playing a character adjacent to the iconic hero everyone loves. Most of his experience was positive, however. “As far as the pressure playing the role, it’s a good thing,” he gushed, “It’s something that keeps you grounded. I, as a fan, know exactly what is riding on this. I know what that symbol means. It’s just a joy. Yes, there’s pressure, but that’s something that keeps of grounded and keeps you humble and makes you remember how lucky you are to be working on something like this.” His cool as a cucumber approach to taking on such a massive role probably helped him land the role at his audition, as Goyer recalled, “You were super cool.  You didn’t crack.” Johns agreed, adding, “Superman wouldn’t crack.”

As cool as the House of El seems to us now, in the world of Krypton its been ostracized and brought down. It has fallen on hard times when the story starts, and the producers described how that factored into the story and would even lead to some history lessons for longtime fans. “The House of El is no more,” Johns revealed. “And to watch this symbol build into something that we all know and love, and with the character of Adam Strange being from Earth and from our time period, going back in the past and knowing what that symbol means to us and saying the symbol will one day again mean something, that’s really that’s the core of the show, the heart of the show. ”

Finally, fans hoping for shoutouts to popular DSC characters other than Strange and Brainiac can rest assured that they will appear. “If the fans have read it in Mystery in Space, it will probably end up in our show,” Johns teased. “We were talking about the Omega Men earlier.” But Goyer was quick to remind critics that the intended audience isn’t limited to longtime readers, either. “The show is built for everyone[…] even if you’ve never seen a Superman movie or never read a Superman comic.”

Krypton premieres March 21st on SYFY, and you can check out the trailer below:

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