- "You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
- —Jor-El to Kal-El
Jor-El (d. 1980) was a scientist from the planet Krypton who attempted to save his race from extinction by sending his only son Kal-El to Earth and, in doing so, guided him to become the hero known as Superman.
Jor-El was born on Krypton, genetically engineered to be more intelligent and innovative; this made him a more efficient scientist when he grew to adulthood. His engineering was evident as he went on to become the most prominent scientific mind on his world. He eventually married Lara Lor-Van and became good friends with Dru-Zod of the Kryptonian Warrior Guild.
Birth of Kal-ElEdit
- "There is still hope. I've held that hope in my hands."
- —Jor-El, to the Kryptonian Law Council
Jor-El began studying the mining of Krypton's core that the Law Council had commissioned for natural resources and found that the core was collapsing. He and Lara also decided to naturally conceive a child, directly disobeying Kryptonian law where children are genetically engineered to prevent flaws. They decided that, for their child to have a chance free of the chains of Kryptonian society and for his survival, they must send him away. Jor-El constructed a small spacecraft for his and Lara's child. When Lara went into labor, he helped her give birth to a son they named "Kal-El."
Jor-El then went to Kandor and stood before the Council, giving his evidence and telling them that Krypton's core was about to collapse, but his findings fell on deaf ears. As Jor-El argued his case further, Zod interrupted the session, agreeing with Jor-El and telling the scientist of his plans to overthrow the Council, stating that certain bloodlines will have to be sacrificed for Krypton's future. Jor-El, knowing that his newborn son will likely be sacrificed due to his natural birth, realized he had to take action. Disgusted by the "monster" that his former friend had become, he refused to support the Sword of Rao. Zod ordered two of his men to arrest Jor-El, but Jor-El managed to escape with help from Kelex.
After witnessing Zod's forces begin a war to take over the planet, Jor-El headed out on his mount H'Raka to retrieve the Growth Codex in order to stop Zod from using it to create more Kryptonians under his command. Arriving at the Central Hub, he discarded his ceremonial armor, dove underwater past all the embryos of potential Kryptonians, and took the Codex, setting off alarms. Avoiding guards, he jumped off of the side of the Central Hub, landing on H'Raka who took him home.
Upon returning to his residence, Jor-El was greeted by a concerned Lara who, along with Kelor, found a distant world to send Kal-El to. Lara voiced her concerns that the humans would kill their child, but Jor-El reassured her that Kal-El would be like a god to them. Jor-El then took Kal-El and placed him inside the spaceship's chamber before implanting the Codex onto Kal-El's cells whilst imprinting his consciousness onto a Command Key before sealing the ship and preparing it for departure.
Kelex notified Jor-El that Zod and his men were approaching the citadel. To keep Zod from stopping the launch of his son's ship, Jor-El donned battle armor and armed himself with a rifle as Lara initiated the final launch sequence. Zod arrived and entered the citadel, demanding the Codex, and the two former friends battled after Jor-El shot two of Zod's soldiers before they could destroy the ship. Jor-El put up a tough fight against Zod, catching him across his face near his eye, before beating Zod down. Zod pleaded with Lara to stop the ship's launch, but she ignited the engines and Kal-El's ship took off. As the three of them watched, an enraged Zod drew a blade and stabbed Jor-El, killing him.
- "I'm your father, Kal. Or at least, a shadow of him. His consciousness. My name is Jor-El."
- —Jor-El, to Kal-El
Thirty-three years later, Kal-El, now named Clark Kent, discovered the Fortress of Solitude and plugged in the Command Key, uploading an interactive holographic projection of Jor-El into the ship's systems. Jor-El greeted his son warmly. When Clark was curious about his origins, who he was, and why he was sent to Earth, Jor-El informed him that their homeworld had been destroyed, and that he and Lara sent him to Earth to survive. He told Clark that he must continue to test the limitations of his powers under the yellow sun and that he can provide humanity with hope by leading by example.
Sometime later, when Clark and Lois Lane boarded Black Zero to negotiate with Zod, Clark slipped Lois his Command Key which she later used to upload Jor-El's hologram into the ship's mainframe. Jor-El freed Lois from her holding cell, told her how to send Zod and his soldiers back to the Phantom Zone, and helped her get to an escape pod. After Lois was jettisoned from Black Zero, Jor-El stayed behind and changed the atmosphere aboard the ship to that of Earth, restoring a weakened Clark to full strength. He then imparted final words of wisdom to his son, telling them that he had it within him to save all of humanity. As Clark flew away to save Lois from the damaged escape pod, Jor-El disappeared.
Later on, when Zod arrived at the Fortress to secure the Genesis Chamber aboard, Jor-El appeared and tried to talk Zod out of his plans to terraform Earth into a new Krypton. Zod dismissed him and terminated his program from the Fortress, finishing Jor-El once and for all. Right before that, however, Jor-El confidently stated that Kal-El would finish what he had started since he was "twice the man that [Zod] had been." A short time after that, Kal-El defeated and killed Zod in battle, finally avenging Jor-El's murder.
Jor-El was a fairly tall man of well-built frame, with longish, graying brown hair, a beard, and brown eyes. He wore a blue Kryptonian skinsuit (very similar to the one his son wears as Superman) that bore the House of El emblem in green and gray on the chest as well as a long brown overcoat.
He also had ceremonial armor that fit on top of his normal robes, providing a bit of protection but otherwise wasn't suitable for battle. It was an intricate shoulder armor that also had a House of El emblem along with a long purple cape.
Jor-El also wore gold-cream, mechanized battle armor that fit over his skinsuit. It had protection on the torso, covering his vital organs, arms, and legs, and bore a House of El emblem on the chest.
- See Also: Kryptonian
As a Kryptonian, had Jor-El entered a star system with that of a yellow G-type main sequence star, his body would have absorbed the solar energy, tremendously enhancing his physical parameters and granting him several incredible powers. However, even without these powers, Jor-El had several skills of his own:
- Master Combatant: Jor-El was also extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, even going toe-to-toe with someone as formidably skilled as Zod and ultimately subduing him. An impressive feat given that Zod was a Kryptonian Warrior Guild and a high-ranking officer.
- Master Marksman: Jor-El also possessed amazing marksmanship with weapons, such as the Kryptonian Rifle, as seen when Zod's men arrested him and Kelex intervened.
- Master Flyer: Jor-El was a highly skilled flyer, having no problems staying on H'Raka's back while she maneuvered around Zod's attack ships, even with her diving over a hundred feet through the air at very high speeds in the process.
- Scientific Expertise: As an illustrious member of the Kryptonian Thinker Guild, Jor-El was extremely intelligent, one of Krypton's foremost scientists. He was able to accurately predict that mining Krypton's core would result in its imminent collapse and, by extension, the destruction of the entire planet. In addition, despite most of Krypton being barren due to thousands of years of strip mining, he was able to create artificial grass that he bedded onto a mountain peak near the House of El Citadel, where he kept a variety of wildlife, such as avian animals, Rondor beasts, and his mount H'Raka. Finally, it was also Jor-El's brilliant plan that helped Superman and Lois return Black Zero and most of the Sword of Rao back to the Phantom Zone through an energy singularity. Jor-El was a highly innovative character who was breaking the thinking boundaries programmed into his engineered DNA.
Jor-El was an innovative character who defied the boundaries programmed into him at birth. Feeling that Krypton's society was stale and flawed, he and his wife chose the illegal step of having a naturally-born child, strongly believing in their cause. Knowing that his planet was to be destroyed, he took the strong step of sending his newborn son to Earth so that he could survive and also be free of Kryptonian society's chains, choosing to stay behind so that any flaws did not travel with his son.
Jor-El was also not afraid to fight quite literally for the protection of his son, engaging his former friend Zod in battle. He had great confidence and faith in his son, believing he could bring peace to Earth and inspire humanity to accomplish great things. When Zod attempted to re-create Krypton by terraforming Earth, Jor-El expressed to him that Kal-El will stop him and prevent their kind from making any more grave mistakes.
- Man of Steel: Friends and Foes (First appearance)
- Man of Steel: The Early Years
- Man of Steel: The Fate of Krypton
- Man of Steel: Superman Saves Smallville
- Man of Steel
- Man of Steel (Novel)
- Guide to the Caped Crusader/Guide to the Man of Steel: Movie Flip Book
- Sean Penn, Clive Owen, and Russell Crowe were the choices for the role of Jor-El. The role ultimately went to Crowe.
- Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner, who played Jor-El and Jonathan Kent respectively, have played Robin Hood in the films Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Robin Hood, respectively.
- Even though Jor-El was deleted from the Fortress of Solitude by Zod, his program still exists aboard Black Zero and in the House of El Command Key, both of which are currently in the Phantom Zone. It is possible that Jor-El can return if Kal-El enters the Phantom Zone and retrieves the Command Key.