When you’re doing a Superman TV show that doesn’t actually feature Superman, it can’t help but be greeted with a roll of the eyes and a shrug of the shoulders that collectively ask, “What’s the point?” Of course, that was the initial response to Smallville, and that show had a 10-year run. It also greeted Syfy’s Krypton, which kicks off its second season on June 12 and is still going strong.

“The biggest challenge was probably managing people’s expectations about what the show would be,” admits executive producer and showrunner Cameron Welsh in an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly. “The short answer to how you can do a Superman show without Superman is that it’s not really a Superman show. It’s bigger than that in a way. We’ve tried to make a show that embraces a lot of the Superman mythology that’s known, but we also quickly moved away from being constrained by that definition. We have a whole palette full of other characters that are really interesting. That was probably the biggest thing we set out to do: to make all of these new characters that we’ve introduced as compelling and as engaging as possible so that we weren’t always living under the shadow of Superman, a character who was never going to appear on our show.”

Here’s the official description of the series: “What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, as a young man who fights to save his home planet from destruction. Season 2 brings us back to a changed Kandor, locked in a battle over its freedom and its future. General Dru-Zod (Colin Salmon) is now in control. He’s on a ruthless mission to rebuild Krypton according to his ideals and to secure its future by conquering the universe. Faced with a bleak outlook, our hero, Seg-El, attempts to unite a dispersed group of resisters in an effort to defeat Zod and restore hope to their beloved planet. Their chance at redemption is threatened however, by their opposing tactics, shifting alliances and conflicting moral boundaries — forcing each of them to individually determine how far they’re willing to go in pursuit of a better tomorrow.” Add into that mix the triple threat of the android Brainiac, the near-impossible-to-stop Doomsday and intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo.

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The cast of actors/characters making up Krypton include, clockwise from top left, Cameron Cuffe as Seg-El; Wallis Day as Nyssa-Vex, initially a junior magistrate and the daughter of Daron-Vex; Anna Ogbombo as Jayna-Zod, the Primus of the Kryptonian military guild and mother of Lyta; Colin Salmon as General Dru-Zod, the future son of Lyta-Zod and Seg-El; Georgina Campbell as Lyta-Zod, commander in the Kryptonian military guild who is in a clandestine relationship with Seg-El; Blake Ritson as Brainiac, the alien android from the planet Colu who collects cities from planets by shrinking them and keeping them in a collection of bottles — in season 1 he also takes over the mind of the planet’s religious figure, the Voice of Rao; Elliot Cowan as Davron-Vex, chief magistrate of Kandor; Shaun Sipos as Adam Strange, a human from the future who comes to warn Seg-El of Brainiac and of the need to ensure that his future grandson, Kal-El, is born; and Ian McElhinney as Val-El, Seg’s grandfather who defied death by going to the Phantom Zone.

Notes Cameron, “Again, we wanted to embrace all of the elements that we had at our disposal and use them in a way that was consistent and appropriate for what had come before in Superman lore. That could even be the John Williams theme from Superman: The Movie, and we were careful not to try and overplay our hand with that. We used it only a couple of times at select moments where we felt tonally this particular moment really fits. We tried not to overdo it, but we were also very happy to lean into it and embrace those aspects of the mythology when we could.”

For anyone who has seen season 1 of Krypton, what follows is a behind the scenes guide to all 10 episodes from last year, with Cameron providing insight and production details on each.

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