Cracking open Krypton

6 mins read

Warning. This article may contain spoilers

The fictional planet Krypton has captured the imaginations of DC Comics’ readers for nearly a century. As the home planet of Superman, this orb is probably one of the most famous fictional planets in all of popular culture. 

A map of Krypton courtesy DC Comics

Just like every iteration of the man of steel, the doomed planet Krypton has encompassed a multitude of variations since its creation in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. 

Our mission as the Daily Planet is to improve the world through information and creativity. Yet, as a publication inspired by Superman, we feel it necessary to report on his home world featured in the DCEU. 

Krypton has always been depicted as a doomed planet full of advanced beings. Photo courtesy DC Comics

Compared to Earth, Krypton and it red sun, Rao are physically massive. Krypton rotates around a red giant which is reportedly 13 billion years old. Earths yellow sun is only 4.5 billion years old. Though its much larger than Earths sun, Rao is cooler in temperature. According to the Krypton special feature on the “Man of Steel” Blu-ray, Rao radiates 3,371 k surface temperature where as our yellow sun possesses 5,778 k surface temperature.

According to a DCEU documentary, before its destruction, Krypton was orbited by four various moons and had a population of 1.4 billion. This is thanks to the artificial population control established by the planets government.

Krypton was 8.7 billion years old at the time of its obliteration, which is nearly twice that of Earths age.  It is estimated that Krypton was 27.1 light years from Earth and it would take us 4,250 earth years to travel there.

Kryptonian civilization strived for over 100,000 years accomplishing magnificent feats. However, the planets resources became too strained which ultimately led to the planets demise.

Krypton possessed one of the universes most sophisticated and advanced societies and this was all displayed within their capital city of Kandor. This alien metropolis is most famous for its great citadels that rooted into the ground, stretching thousands of feet into the air.

The Krypton within the DCEU was probably one of the most detailed in all of Superman lore, possessing a heritage and history that was totally original when compared to all that came before it.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment

Currently, there are at least four popular variations of Krypton possessing our media. The Krypton of comics, the Krypton from the CW show Supergirl, the planet from the SyFy show “Krypton”, and the Krypton of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). 

Photo courtesy DC Comics

The Krypton of comics

The Krypton of comics is probably one of the most explored and enjoyed, appearing in a variety of forms. Krypton first physically appeared within the epic pages of Action Comics no. 1 alongside Superman and Lois Lane. However, the doomed planet did not appear by name until Superman no. 1, which was published a year later. But the most popular version of Krypton wasn’t born until John Byrne’s Man of Steel in 1986.

This incarnation was a reboot of previous versions after the Crises of Infinite Earths event erased all past storylines from continuity. This Krypton was about two times larger than earth and orbited a red sun called Rao. It’s the inspiration for the DCEU adaptation.

In this comics version, the Rao galaxy is fifty light-years from our solar system.

It is later learned that the harsh environment and distance from other habitable worlds was why Krypton was chosen to create Doomsday through forced evolution some 250,000 years ago. This Krypton’s primordial era produced some of the most dangerous organisms in the universe.

Krypton was a haven of technology and civilization. For thousands of years their cities flourished, sucking up all the planets resources along the way. This ultimately led to the planets destruction.

New episodes of Supergirl premier on The CW every Sunday at 8/7 central

Supergirls Krypton

Supergirls Krypton draws inspiration from many forms of the planet. It shows heavy similarities to the Krypton of numerous shows related to the man of steel.

In The CW hit Kryptonian life began on Kryptons first continent, Urrika. One of the first communities on Urrika was a primordial matriarchy called the Juru. The Juru possessed a polytheistic religion which evolved to worship the sun God Rao over time. This religion would inevitably be responsible for the creation of Reign. 

In this version, Krypton feuded with its sister planet Daxam over their various differences such as government and culture. Both Daxam and Krypton went to war over this. 

In the Earth year of 1979, the planet was discovered to be unstable, soon to be destroyed. Certain measures were taken by the house of El to ensure the survival of their race.

It is later uncovered that Argo City survived the planet’s destruction thanks to the efforts of Zor-El. This salvaged city would later become known as New Krypton.

Photo courtesy SyFy

Krypton as it appears on SyFy

In a refreshing take SyFy has created a show about Krypton, based 200 years in the past, centered  around the grandfather of the one and only Kal-El.  A young Seg-El witnesses his grandfathers death at the hands of the Kryptonian Council. Seg’s grandfather pleaded with the government stating that they need to take action and accept that they are not alone in the universe. Soon after, the El family name, which has been a symbol of hope and honor for centuries, was basically erased.

In an attempt to clear his family’s name, and save his planet, Seg goes on a crusade to restore his bloodlines legacy and prove that his grandfathers fears wear well rooted. Alien life does exist, and it’s coming.

Anarchy soon unfolds in Kryptonian culture as the anxious and divided society doubts their religious overlord, who has hold of the government, as he continues to convince the planet that Krypton is the only habitable orb in the galaxy.

However, this fanatic is proven wrong as he is overtaken by the being known as Brainiac. Soon after, Brainiacs ship arrives appearing to bottle the Kryptonian capital of Kandor. Season one ends with the character, Adam Strange trapped in what appears to be a bottled Metropolis.

Season two of Krypton will appear in March 2019.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment

Krypton of the DCEU

Krypton of the DC Extended Universe is a very complex and extraordinarily detailed specimen of a planet. Its history is long lasting and full of tragedy.

In the DCEU, Krypton was formed 8.7 billion years ago. According to a feature included in the “Man of Steel” Blu-ray, the development of both unicellular and multi-cellular life lead to the creation and subsequent evolution of mammalian-like sapient beings known as Kryptonians.

The planet Krypton of the DCEU. Photo via Warner Bros.

As time passed, civilization flourished and technology became more advanced thus resulting in an age of expansion. In an attempt to spread themselves across space, Kryptonians used scout ships to establish colonial outposts and World Engines to terraform the environments of other planets to their needs.

At some point the Kryptonians suddenly abandoned the colonial outposts and brought an end to the space exploration program. In its later days, Krypton artificially engineered all children giving them predetermined roles in society. Eventually, the planet’s natural resources were exhausted and the core became unstable.

As a result, Krypton’s core imploded.

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment

Honorary mention: Krypton from “Superman: The Movie”

The Krypton from 1978’s “Superman: The Movie” is often thought of as the Krypton. It’s a fan favorite that deserves a spot on this list. So technologically advanced, this Krypton was a clean, pristine masterpiece of a utopia. But it was also arrogant. Like all Kryptons, this one was doomed to be a martyr.

At the end, Krypton was quiet and tranquil. It was bland and society was capped out. All innovations were made and none were left to be created. Kryptonian society was just as frozen and isolated as their geography.

Their technology was beyond imagination. Their advancements led to virtualized light trapped within crystals capable of growing weapons, vehicles, structures, cities or entire continents. All of this advancement didn’t really matter in the end. Their technology only saved a select few survivors by the time Rao engulfed the orb.

This Krypton was also one of the only variations that was destroyed by the red sun, Rao.

“Smallville’s” Krypton is based heavily on this incarnation. The two versions are practically identical.

Kryptons capital city of Kandor as depicted in “Man of Steel.” Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

A planet of legend

Without Krypton there would be no Superman, no Supergirl, no nothing. The death of this single planet is responsible for the creation of numerous heroes. It’s also responsible for the creation of numerous deadly creatures, monsters and villains as well.

Just like Earth, Krypton once strived for the stars. And just like Earth is doing, Krypton exhausted its natural resources to the point of total exhaustion and annihilation. Even though this planet is fictional, it still shows the devastation a species can wreck on its only home. It stands as a warning.

It stands as a sign that things need to change. And things can. They’re starting to. We just have to keep fighting until the change truly takes hold.

Featured photo is the city of Kandor from “Smallville.” Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.


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