We had excitedly posted the trailer for the pilot of David Goyer’s Krypton on April 18 and announced that it had been greenlit by SyFy Channel. We were mistaken. So what went wrong? Like everybody else, all we can do is make some educated guesses based on what’s happened to other big budget science fiction series.
Here and Gone
First, it was only the pilot that had gotten the green light from SyFy, not the whole series as we had previously reported. Then, as of April 19, the trailer for Syfy’s Krypton was been taken down, with a network spokesperson saying that neither Syfy or Warner Bros. intended for it to be made publicly available. The thing was posted by mistake. Syfy has confirmed that Krypton has not been greenlit as a series by Syfy, and the pilot is still being reviewed by the network.
That probably explains why the trademark request they applied for last year for using the word “Krypton” in conjunction with an animated or live action television series was recently granted an extension for filing that all important “Statement of Use”, that shows the trademark office exactly how they’re planning to use the trademark. If the show doesn’t get picked up, then their application most likely gets withdrawn. As of this moment, their extension is still in force and they haven’t offered any updates on that – that means SyFy Channel, as of April 29, still hasn’t picked up the show. The longer this goes, the lower the likelihood that it will be. We saw the trailer, and the production values are obviously top notch.
So What Could Be Wrong?
If the pilot’s in the can, what’s the holdup? In a word, money. This looks like it’s got production values similar to what you’d expect from a major theatrical release, and to get their money back out of a show like that and sustain that level of computer animation and quality, SyFy would have to sell tickets to each episode. Some sort of compromise might still be reached, but the show would have to be rebuilt for a smaller per-episode budget.
We don’t have access to the budget numbers, but the series pilot has been putting out press releases since 2014. David Goyer was to helm the series, and it took two full years for the pilot to get made. While reaction videos are all over YouTube that show clips from the trailer, the actual trailer is now pulled.
Why pull the trailer now? The damage is basically done, and the PR the trailer bought them is pure gold pressed latinum. Apart from potential contractual disputes between Goyer’s production office, Warner Bros., SyFy Channel and other participants in the production deal, the only other reason to pull the trailer from distribution is because SyFy hasn’t got the money lined up to pay for this thing yet, and they have concerns that they may not be able to. They may still be lining up their sponsors and all may be well, but it’s clear that they aren’t completely confident about it.
This was a rational move on SyFy Channel’s part. Potential sponsors for the new series may not be lining up with their wallets open, and if that’s true, there’s not much reason to push forward. Launching productions as ambitious as Krypton and having them fail has drowned more than one major studio. They may be giving this a good hard think, especially since a fair portion of the public reaction has the series pegged as Game of Thrones in outer space – except that this time we know everybody dies except, like, one guy.
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