Krypton: The Decision to Make Adam Strange Bisexual

That moment that hinted at Adam Strange's sexuality on Krypton wasn't your imagination.

Shaun Sipos as Adam Strange on Krypton

Krypton fans were introduced to Shaun Sipos as Adam Strange during its first season. Sipos was the first actor to bring a long-running, beloved DC character to live action, and it’s a responsibility he didn’t take lightly. But the Adam Strange of Krypton is somewhat different than the rocket pack wearing, raygun wielding fully-formed sci-fi hero of the comics. Instead, we met Adam at the beginning of his heroic career, where he’s still something of a screw-up, and still figuring out how the technology that allows him to traverse time and space (the Zeta Beam) works.

In the comics, Adam is romantically involved with Alanna of the planet Rann, and theirs is one of the great star-crossed romances in comics history. Since the effects of the Zeta Beam, which bring Adam to Alanna’s planet, are temporary, the two are rarely together for more than brief intervals. Audiences were briefly introduced to Alanna (and her father, Sardath) on season one of Krypton, albeit as a disembodied voice. There, Alanna seemed frustrated with Adam, but it was clear there was already a history of some kind between them, and perhaps even romantic tension.

But Krypton added a new aspect to Adam Strange’s character via Sipos’ performance. In the sixth episode of the first season, before the show had mentioned Alanna, there’s a lingering glance and smile between Adam and a naked Kryptonian soldier, which implied that Adam might be interested in men. The show hasn’t foregrounded Adam’s sexuality beyond that, and it’s not clear if it will be referenced again. But it was no accident.

At SDCC, Sipos spoke a little about the decision to make Adam bisexual. While the actor admits that he’s not sure if that will be explored more this season because of potential plans to introduce Alanna (who Sipos describes as “the love of [Adam’s] life and the reason for his being”) on screen, he still had plenty to say on the subject.

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“I think the whole thing with him possibly maybe being bisexual or sexually fluid … For me it was kind of a little bit of an ode to James Dean in the sense of why live your life tied with one hand behind your back?” Sipos says. “If you want to do something, you go ahead and you do it and that’s fine. That’s kind of where I approach that from and when I spoke with [Krypton showrunner Cameron Welsh] and some of the writers we said, ‘I’m down with ruffling people’s feathers. I think that’s an important thing that we do in entertainment is that we ruffle some feathers so that people go, ‘Okay, I’m used to that idea. That’s not so bad.’ Now it’s not a fucking elephant in the room.” 

Sipos says that the “majority” of the feedback he received from fans about Adam’s sexuality was “really positive.” But whenever you’re dealing with something as charged as sexual identity, things get complicated.

“I had a strong base of people going like, ‘Oh, he’s gay…He’s one of us.’ And I was like, ‘Listen, let’s not be drawing lines in the sand and trying to compartmentalize’ or ‘Oh, he’s this group, and screw everyone else.'” Sipos says. Instead, his take is that Adam is “moving between any and all. There don’t need to be lines here.”

And, of course, the comic book purists had their say as well, citing Adam’s defining romance with Alanna as the reason the character shouldn’t or couldn’t be bisexual. “We all know that when someone writes a comic, things change,” Sipos says. “You pick up the first edition and you pick up the newest version or volume of a comic…they change and move with the times and I think that’s what we’re doing.”

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Krypton will continue to “change and move with the times” when its second season arrives on Syfy in 2019.

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