When Seg-El makes his live-action debut on Krypton tomorrow, Superman's grandfather -- played by actor Cameron Cuffe -- will be invoking one of the most famous names in popular fiction...but the actor will not come face to face with his legacy.
Seg's grandson gets name-dropped almost immediately, and plays a role in the story, but the trick will be making sure fans break away from the expectations raised by Kal-El and fall in love with Seg.
"No one's putting on a mask and going out and fighting for truth, justice, and the Kandorian way," Cuffe promsied reporters during a recent visit to the set of Krypton in Belfast. "It's much more grounded and personal stakes -- it's way more character-driven. There is no freak of the week....No one sees there parents get murdered and thinks, 'I must become the symbol of the night.' It's not that at all. It's people who are thrown into a situation that is deeply over their head, and like all great science fiction, it's not about the aliens or the monsters or the robots or the technology. It's always about the people. And I think we get a really strong focus on that."
The scripts have a "huge amount of humor," which can be effective to offset the sometimes dire tone when used properly, Cuffe said.
And while Seg has to stand up and be a hero week in and week out, he is not Superman. Rather than finding ways to make winks and nods in the direction of his more-famous grandson, Cuffe said, the Superman of the show comes somewhat naturally and instead he has to focus on making Seg his own character, independent of the name.
"The things that I had focused on was actually how to make him different," Cuffe admitted. "There are so many great interpretations of Superman; I would almost go so far as to say I don't think I've seen a bad performance of Superman onscreen. They've been very, very lucky. You know Chris Reeve obviously I think was the most immortal performance for a lot of us, and I think Henry Cavill was a great Superman. But the thing that I latch into, is I think of that sense of hope and willpower and the desire to never quit."
Krypton will premiere tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SYFY.