Krypton: Secrets of the House of Zod

We spoke with Lyta Zod and Primus Jayna Zod (Georgina Campbell and Ann Ogbomo) about the family of Superman's notorious enemy on Krypton.

While nobody is likely to mistake a despotic theocrat like the Voice of Rao for a good guy, Krypton plays it surprisingly coy with its villains. The House of Vex, of the Lawmaker’s Guild, may not be terribly nice, but Superman fans are most likely to note that the House of Zod is already firmly in control of Krypton’s military guild. And while there’s a very familiar, cosmic, and perhaps traditionally villainous threat on the way in the form of Brainiac, most of Krypton’s early conflict is of the political and interpersonal variety, and the Zod family dynamics aren’t what you might expect.

When we’re introduced to two members of the Zod family in the first episode, it’s in the least expected way possible. Lyta Zod (played by Georgina Campbell) is a member of Kandor’s military, the Saggitarri, takes on her mother, Primus Jayna Zod (Ann Ogbomo) in a combat demonstration in front of other troops. It ends with the elder Zod stabbing her daughter through the hand with a dagger. Just a few scenes later, Lyta is in bed with her lover, the series’ protagonist (and Superman’s grandfather) Seg-El. In other words, whatever your expectations for the Zod name might be on this show, you should probably set them aside.

Ann Ogbomo, who plays Primus Jayna Zod, hedges her bets when it comes to the kind of “evil” fans might normally expect from a member of the House of Zod. Primus Zod certainly has her intense moments in the early episodes, but there’s nothing to distinguish her as a villain. “She’s basically had a spartan upbringing,” Ogbomo explains. “So what she’s been through herself is incredibly tough, and if anything I think that she brings an understanding of what that tough love is to Lyta and sometimes actually is easy on her because of that.”

“It won’t seem easy to an audience,” Ogbomo admits, perhaps referencing that hand-stabbing incident. “However, for Jayna there’s a certain amount of an emotional pull that makes it a lot harder for her than it would, say, for her parents. I think that had Lyta had [Jayna’s] parents, she’d think that I was like a blessing, you know. She’d be counting herself lucky.”

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Krypton episode 5 is appropriately titled “House of Zod” and it opens on the kind of “spartan upbringing” Ogbomo refers to. We meet Jayna’s brother, as well as her father, who is indeed even tougher on his children than what we’ve seen inflicted on Lyta.

However, the actress who plays Lyta sees things a little differently. “She’s absolutely in an abusive relationship with her mother,” Georgina Campbell says, “Her mother is insane. But I think Jayna is very strong and she just has very high expectations of Lyta, and this is how Jayna has been taught by her father.”

“If anything, that tough love, I would say, she’s pretty chilled, considering her backstory,” Ogbomo says.

“Lyta doesn’t have a father, she just has her mother,” Campbell explains. “So her mother is kind of taking on all these roles.” She also admits that perhaps Jayna is harder on Lyta in an attempt to prove to the other soldiers that there’s no favoritism at work.

But despite the harshness on display, it’s clear that Jayna Zod is no villain. If anything, she’s one of the more stable, organizing forces on the show. There doesn’t seem to be any hidden agenda at work in the House of Zod. “I think [Jayna’s] ideal world … it would actually have order … that sense of order is part of her DNA,” Ogbomo says. “I think it would be fair and ordered. A fair world, where everyone had their place, but your place was fair. So if you’re rankless, you have what you need. You’re still rankless, and you do what rankless people do, but it’s fair. I think she’d want to be in a world where the machine runs well, and there would be no outside threat. She wants a break. She doesn’t want to fight anymore. We run, we have food, we have families. We go out on Friday night.”

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Lyta Zod defies expecations, too. “[Lyta’s] kind of straddling a line whereby she’s trying to do right, but sometimes she has to do bad,” Campbell says. “I guess with Superman you think everything is very black and white and there’s good and there’s evil. But on Krypton it’s all quite murky. Everyone’s kind of trying to straddle this moral line. But it gets confusing and I think you definitely see that with Lyta. There are some questionable things that she does, but she does them because she thinks that’s the only way she can kind of get to do what she wants, or what she thinks is right.”

But it’s Ann Ogbomo who seems to have the most succinct explanation of what it means to hold the most feared name to ever come out of Krypton.

“To be a Zod is not easy, you know,” Ogbomo says. “You have to go through a lot to be a Zod.”

Krypton airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on SYFY. Follow Mike Cecchini on Twitter for all your Kryptonian needs.