In a shocking midseason twist, last month Krypton fans learned that former Arrow supporting cast member Colin Salmon was not just another anonymous Black Zero bomber but instead the infamous General Dru-Zod, one of Superman's greatest foes. Preparing for the role involved a combination of research from the comics, digging into movies and even incorporating some non-Superman ideas from literature and myth, Salmon said.
The Zod reveal shook up the show's chemistry in a major way: Adam Strange, who had spent the first half of the season trying to marshal forces against a time-traveling threat he believed to be Brainiac, was cast out of Seg-El's inner circle when Zod revealed Krypton's eventual, disastrous fate. Brainiac, it turned out, was not the time-traveler: Zod was. And he was not there to hasten Krypton's destruction as Adam believed him to be, but to prevent it.
When I first went up for the character he was just called 'The Dark-Haired Man,'" Salmon told ComicBook.com. "I wasn't told who I was going up for, because obviously from the point of view of people auditioning for it, we weren't allowed to know, because we could let the cat out of the bag. So it was a really interesting audition speech which they had written, and it was really, really intriguing because you saw he was really the machinations of, 'How do we convince [Seg] to come on board, because of his ability to move through the rankless to the guilded? How can I talk him into it?"
While he did not have any idea that he was auditioning to play one of the most beloved superhero villains in cinematic history, Salmon said that the producers' take on Zod -- that he is someone who desperately wants to protect his world -- came through right away.
"What become really clear was my love of Krypton and my passion for working for the good of the planet," Salmon said. "So, in a way, that explains a lot about the absolute love of my character. The myth, what's key to it all, it came across very much with Michael Shannon [in Man of Steel]: his love of Krypton. It felt like a genuine progression from Michael Shannon, and I think we've had some pretty iconic moments. But, for a character in the comics, the comic world compared to the film world, is extraordinary. When I started to do the work and I looked at, you know 'Last Son' comics and stuff...I started to realize who this character was. In fact, somebody asked me the question, 'What did I use as my touchstone?' I actually did use John Milton. I used Paradise Lost. I think that's a fantastic touchstone for the whole Superman mythos because Zod really does feel this burden of guilt and responsibility. He really is that guy."
"Paradise Lost" was an epic poem written in the 17th Century and centered on the biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose was to "justify the ways of God to men."
"It's a great responsibility, but a great honor," Salmon concluded.
Krypton airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SYFY. The season finale is next week.