General Zod & The Future of Krypton

Den of Geek talked to Krypton's Colin Salmon about his incarnation of a notorious DC Comics character.

When Krypton started, it was unclear how connected to DC Comics and the story of Superman the show, set 200 years prior to Krypton’s untimely end, would be. As the first season has progressed, the depth of Krypton‘s interest in Superman mythology has become clear: this is a show that loves its source material. Nowhere has this been more clear than in the character of General Dru-Zod.

General Zod first appeared as one of Superman’s nemeses in Adventure Comics #238 way back in 1961, and his penchant for causing chaos and destruction has become one of Superman’s most enduring obstacles on both screen and page. Traditionally, his backstory is that he was exiled to the Phantom Zone for treason by Jor-El, aka Superman’s dad, allowing him to survive the death of Krypton. Usually, he’s out to get revenge against Jor-El by getting revenge against his son. But, we suppose, in Krypton‘s case, getting revenge against Jor-El’s dad would work just as well.

Colin Salmon brings a nuance and gravitas to General Dru-Zod’s character on Krypton. Den of Geek had a chance to talk to the actor about what to expect from the complicated character as season one races towards its conclusion.

“I think the wonderful thing about the show is we have time to explore [General Zod’s] back story,” said Salmon. “So you start to see a character who comes from a background which is pretty tough and pretty hostile. With that said, we all start to see a man who’s been kind coming out of the Phantom Zone. I don’t know what happens to you in there, but I see it as being in the land of the dementors. I don’t think it helps your psychological state. I don’t think you have much sense of hope afterwards.”

Ad – content continues below

When Salmon auditioned for the role, he, too, was in the dark about who his character truly is. Rather than auditioning for the part of General Zod, Salmon was auditioning for the role of “Dark-Haired Man Who Tries to Convince Seg-El to Join Black Zero Because We Need Him To Do The Thing,” joked Salmon. This left less room for comic-based preparation before getting the role, but it sounds like Salmon has more than made up for that in his time as Zod.

“You can just see how this character really comes alive in the comics. On-screen is nothing compared to what the comics [do],” said Salmon. “You see that kind of conflicted character where you sort of knock out-and-out evil. I don’t believe in out-and-out evil, actually. I never did. I always think it’s a bit more complex. I think there’s good people who do bad things and there’s bad people who do good things. I think Zod is a bad person who occasionally does good things.”

In tonight’s episode of KryptonSeason 1, Episode 9: “Hope”—Kandor City is in a power vacuum following the disappearance of the Brainiac-controlled Voice of Rao. General Zod isn’t wasting any time using the situation to his advantage. In the sneak peek below, we see Dru-Zod convince Lyta to go after a weapon that will properly take out the Voice: Doomsday.

For my money, the Zod family has been the strongest dramatic element of Krypton‘s first season. We’ve seen the complicated love between Jayna and Lyta and how it is informed by the Zod family legacy of honor and duty before all else. After seeing flashbacks to Jayna’s own upbringing, it’s easy to see how she became such a tough mother—and why Jayna’s decision to join Daron-Vex’s coup in order to save her daughter is a form of interpersonal revolution.

General Zod is a part of that story, too. Like all of us, his nature is informed by the familial choices, habits, and values that have come before.

“It’s a wonderful thing for an actor,” said Salmon, “because my backstory is in my grandmother and my mother, so it’s wonderful to watch those first four episodes and watch them grow as characters. In there, lies my tale, so that was wonderful because I could literally see my birthright.”

Dru-Zod’s understanding of who the Zod family is, of who he is, is informed by this chance he has to interact with his mother and grandmother at an earlier point in their lives.

Ad – content continues below

“I think he’s been extraordinarily surprised by both of them,” said Salmon. “I think, it’s interesting how he quickly aligns with his grandmother, nhw he is sort of moving with her and I feel like he feels more at ease with her. He’s puzzled by his mother’s love. Zod doesn’t quite understand the love thing. And now his grandmother’s doing it, too. ‘Really, you put your daughter before the planet? Wow, okay.’ … But I think the power of his grandmother and the pull of the mother, that is real. I think that is quite extraordinary, but he doesn’t quite get this love thing.”

The dynamic between Jayna and Dru only began to form in last week’s episode, which saw Jayna questioning Dru about how he survived the destruction of Krypton. To Dru’s credit, he tells the truth: he was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone when it happened, put there by Jor-El. It’s enough to raise Jayna’s suspicions and, though the two may be family, it seems like they may be heading for a more physical confrontation.

“I think the coming together of Jayna and Dru is extraordinary,” teased Salmon, “and I still carry the bruises, let’s just say that. She takes no prisoners, even in warm up … We lock horns and there is no question that [Jayna] could kick my ass. Does she win? It doesn’t matter, but she managed to kick my ass.”

With Kandor City in chaos, it seems only a matter of time before someone takes control. While Daron-Vex was forced to rush into his planned coup, General Zod has been much more patient.

“His instinct is always to be the leopard on the mountain,” said Salmon. “I think this is where he has to listen and be intelligent and I think that makes him even more dangerous, actually. I think quiet Zod is a scary Zod really.”

General Zod already has the outfit to go with the power of ruling Kandor City. As seen in the promotional video above, Dru-Zod has a more regal outfit, complete with a House of Zod sigil. 

“Zod is a beast,” said Salmon of the General Zod costume. “I’m a big guy, anyway, I don’t need to turn into the Hulk, but, when it came time to don the outfit, it looks good, it’s dark, and it’s wonderful to see the sigil on the back of the cape … It felt good. The beard is a bit sharper. He scrubs up well. It’s formidable, yeah, people step out of the way.”

Ad – content continues below

For Salmon, this first season and the exploration of General Zod’s backstory, is just the beginning of what Krypton is capable of—and he’s happy to be a part of it.

“I do feel that, with Krypton, we are creating an extraordinary universe,” said Salmon. “The way it looks, the way it feels. It’s an interesting universe coming. It’s a great honor to be a part of it.”

Krypton airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy. You can catch up on past episodes on the Syfy site.