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Syfy Orders Krypton, But Can It Succeed Without Superman?

But do we need a Superman-less Superman show?

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Merrill Barr

Syfy has placed an official pilot order for its long-in-development Superman prequel series Krypton.

According to the network, the new series will follow the adventures of Superman's (unnamed) 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."

It's yet another expansion of the DC universe on TV, but one that begs the question: will anyone want to see a show about Superman if we don't get to see Superman? Based on what we've seen, it could go either way.

The Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg superhero shows Supergirl, The Flash, Arrowand Legends of Tomorrowhave written around the man in blue with varying degrees of success. The lack of Superman has been most problematic for Supergirl, which struggled early in its first season. The show acts like he exists but never shows him, and now Krypton is going to take us to centuries before his birth.

Syfy developing Superman prequel series Krypton

What Krypton will have is a man that knows the DC universe through and through: Man of Steeland Batman v Supermanwriter David S. Goyer, writer and showrunner. His last TV project, however - also a DC project, Constantine - got axed by NBC after just one season.

For this to work, it'll have to cross some big hurdles, including the well-established Berlanti universe as its high bar. Is a "tie" to Superman enough? Will people want to watch a show about a planet that's just going to blow up anyway?

Certainly, Goyer has the chops to create a beloved series. Now we'll have to see if he can sustain interest without one of the most recognizable superheroes in existence.