You might spot a cape on Krypton, but the DC Comics series on Syfy is mostly devoid of superheroes — despite the fact that the legacy of Planet Krypton is one of society's most recognizable crusaders. Instead, the show hops two generations back in time to tell the stories of the families who raised those heroes and villains you've seen time and time again on screen. The names are familiar, but the stories are not. In an interview with Bustle, actor Georgina Campbell talked about Lyta-Zod's strengths on Krypton, her journey, and how she might actually find a way to understand her infamous grandson, Superman's nemesis General Zod.
In the show, Lyta is a military cadet from a prominent family on Krypton. Her mother is General Jayna-Zod, and she is involved in a secret romance with Superman's grandfather Seg, whose family (the House of El) is currently disgraced and rankless. According to her official SyFy character description, Lyta is "fierce," "compassionate," and "torn between proving herself worthy of the Zod name and her innate desire to help and heal the people of Krypton." While Superman fans might fear her name, Lyta is far from a villain herself.
"I think the strength of her character really drew me to her," Campbell says. "Also the kind of writing behind it; she has lots of full relationships with her mother, and with Seg, and she kind of goes through a real journey of self-discovery throughout the series."
One of the most compelling relationships is between Lyta and her mother, Jayna. Noble society and military duties aside, can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if your mom was your boss?
"At the beginning," Campbell says, "it's a bit like when your parent is your teacher at school, and the kids make fun of you. She kind of has that feeling a little bit, she's a bit out of place in the military and people probably treat her a bit different." Part of that is because Lyta is the boss's daughter, but it's also because her views aren't always in line with command.
"They have quite an interesting dynamic," Campbell continues, "because I think Jayna's always pushing her to be strong, and be a Zod, and be a Commander — and I think that in a way, through questioning her all the time and showing her strength in the way that she won't quietly stand in line, I think Jayna actually responds to that quite well, and likes the fact that she doesn't just take orders. That she is active in her role."
Another interesting dynamic is the romantic rhombus that Lyta and Seg have created with their relationship, as they are both betrothed to other people — Seg to a politician named Nyssa.
"[There's] this idea of being bound," Campbell says. "They already kind of know who they're meant to end up with, so there's almost a feeling of like, they know what the outcome's gonna be already." They're resigned to that law, and don't seem to bother fighting for each other despite their feelings. In a way, that's a fun choice for a "prequel" to make as well — as we, the audience, feel like we know what the outcome will be already, too.
One of those outcomes is the Michael Shannon-shaped elephant in the room, Lyta's eventual grandson General Zod. What would she think if she knew that her lineage included a super-villain?
"I'm not sure," Campbell says. "I guess she would be quite disappointed, she seems to have this kind of humanitarian streak to her — but you know Zod's quite an interesting character because even though he is the enemy, he cares for Krypton and he wants Krypton to survive and he'll do it by any means. He'll do it by evil and dark means, but at the center of it is that love for Krypton, which I think perhaps Lyta could understand because she has that deep love as well."
Campbell also notes that while Superman, Kal-El, Clark Kent or whatever you like to call him has a strict moral code, everyone on Krypton is operating in shades of grey. They're all trying to survive and navigate this society. Lyta strikes a balance between rebelliousness and loyalty that you don't often see on television, especially with female characters. Whatever her destiny may be, Lyta's journey is integral to Krypton's story and the legacy of its people.