How Krypton's Time Travel Works & What It Means For The Superman Prequel

Adam Strange and Seg-El in Krypton

The series premiere of Syfy's Superman prequel series Krypton adds a heavy dose of time travel to an already sprawling plot centering on Kal-El's grandfather, Seg-El. But how exactly does Adam Strange's era-hopping work, and what does it mean for the history of Krypton and Man of Steel himself?

Developed by Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer and Damien Kindler, Krypton is set two generations before the birth of Superman, at a time when the House of El has been disgraced by the actions of Val-El. His grandson, Seg-El, is angry at Krypton's leadership and is hesitant when a heroic deed earns him the favor the chief magistrate of Kandor, Daron-Vex. Daron-Vex is so impressed with Seg that he offers to restore him as a member of the noble class by allowing him to take his surname. He even plans to have Seg marry his daughter, Nyssa, who appears to have ambitions of her own.

Related: Krypton Isn’t In The DCEU – But Was It Originally Meant To Be?

After meeting Adam Strange, however, Seg learns of his grandfather's secret Fortress of Solitude and is warned that an evil alien force called Brainiac is on its way to Krypton. After Seg's investigation gets him into trouble with the law, his parents are killed trying to protect him.

This Page: How Adam Strange Time Travel's In Krypton

Adam Strange's Mission From The Future In Krypton

Adam Strange Shaun Sipos

Adam Strange comes to Seg-El with an important task: save Superman. We're not told much about Strange, only that he's a time traveler from Detroit who wants to save "the greatest hero in the universe", Superman. He tries to convince Seg that Superman is his grandson, but unsurprisingly the Kryptonian is reluctant to believe him.

According to Strange, Brainiac came from the future to destroy Krypton in an effort to prevent Superman from being born. Considering that Brainiac has destroyed billions of lives and conquered countless civilizations, it's unclear how Strange plans to defeat him, especially if he doesn't have superpowers. However, his mission will require him to take on the role of an "unlikely superhero". Though Brainiac appears to be the show's primary antagonist, he may not be the only one involved. It was revealed at SDCC that Seg would be dealing with a present-day conspiracy, suggesting that Brainiac may be in league with other villains. We may learn more about what Seg and Strange are up against when Strange gets a chance to provide more details about the enemy's plans.

This does, of course, leave questions of the nature of time travel at play. It appears to be some variation of Back to the Future's fluid, Grandfather paradox style; Braniac seems to be actually capable of changing the past, while Superman's cape is slowly disappearing, suggesting a variable timeline. Whether this is defined further will depend on how essential the actual process of time travel is to the ongoing story.

How Adam Strange Travels In The Comics

Adam Strange in Superman Comics

In the comic books, Adam Strange was originally a 1950s science fiction space hero in the same mold as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Crucially, unlike Krypton's Strange, the comic book version isn't a time-traveler. Adam Strange was an archaelogist who accidentally teleported to the planet Rann by coming in contact with a Zeta-Beam. Zeta-Beams are rays of energy developed by a Rannian scientist with the intention of communicating with aliens over long distances. The ray evolved into a teleportation beam. Adam Strange wasn't able to remain on Rann for long before being teleported back. After a while, Strange was able to calculate where the Zeta-Beams would arrive so that he could return to Rann.

Related: Every Adaptation Of Superman, Ranked From Worst To Best

Though Krypton has added a time-travel aspect to Strange's story and altered his destination, fans can expect there to be parallels between his comic book adventures on Rann and his mission to save Krypton from Brainiac. Sipos says Rann is similar to the dystopian society of Krypton in the way that Strange interacts with the people, who are fascinated by his personality.

1 2
Succession Season 2 Finale
What To Expect From Succession Season 3

More in SR Originals