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"Your father was a clever man, though I see you share his poor judgment in choosing sides."

Jor-El was one of the planet Krypton's foremost scientists, the husband of Lara-El, the son-in-law of Sul-Van, and the biological father of Kal-El.


"I never let my ego get in the way of the facts!"
— Jor-El to Sul-Van[2]

A brilliant scientist, Jor-El served Krypton's ruling council loyally for many years. At some point, he married Lara, the daughter of scientist Sul-Van, and they had a son named Kal-El.

Sul-Van said once that Jor-El's primary flaw was his ego, that he was incapable of admitting that he could be wrong. Sul-Van may have been correct, but Jor-El never let concern for his reputation stand in the way of doing what he believed necessary.

Among his many accomplishments was thwarting High General Jax-Ur's attempted coup d'état. Discovering intelligence of the uprising, Jor-El gathered a small force of militia and captured one of the rebel parties, using their communications equipment to send out a signal that disabled the rest of Jax-Ur's forces. He did not deign to appear at Jax-Ur's trial, a decision Jax-Ur called cowardice.

Years later, Jax-Ur would call Jor-El "a clever man" with poor judgment in choosing sides.

Jor-El warns the Council

Jor-El tries to warn the Kryptonian Science Council of Krypton's destruction.

Conducting research on a series of earthquakes rocking Krypton, Jor-El discovered evidence which he said predicted the planet's imminent destruction. His final five-month expedition in the northern polar region only pointed to this outcome. Before sharing his findings with the Council, he prepared a rescue plan for the planet's population that required sending all of Krypton's populace into the Phantom Zone, allowing one person, traveling in a one-man spacecraft, to release them on a new planet. He planned for this destination to be Earth. His proposal was unanimously rejected, with some councilmen scoffing at the absurdity of having everyone take up residence among convicted criminals, no matter how temporary.

However, his findings were deliberately dismissed by the supercomputer Brainiac whom the Council decided to believe, rather than examining Jor-El's research themselves. Still unwilling to admit that he might be mistaken, Jor-El investigated and found that Brainiac had deliberately lied in order to give himself time to escape. By then, it was too late, as Krypton was to explode in a matter of hours. Jor-El could only put part of his backup plan into effect: to use his spacecraft to save his son, Kal. Sul-Van, who found Jor-El's findings of merit after looking them over on his own time, assisted the couple by leading the authorities away, as Brainiac had ordered Jor-El's arrest. Programming the ship to carry Kal to Earth, Jor-El offered to send Lara with him. She refused, saying that her place was with her husband.

Before the ship departed, Jor-El and Lara recorded a message, telling their son that they loved him, and to always use his powers in a responsible way.

Jor-El watched the ship depart, and then kissed his wife as the world ended around them.

To honor his parents' memory, Superman carved two colossal statues of them in the Fortress of Solitude, holding aloft a globe of Krypton.


In Superman's fantasy world created by the Black Mercy where he grew up on a Krypton that never exploded and his family was still alive, Jor-El's warnings about the planet's destruction turned out to be wrong, and his reputation suffered a disastrous blow that took him years to recover from. In his later years, an elderly Jor-El was living by himself, but frequently visited by his son, daughter-in-law, and grandson.

Background information[]

Superman's voice in his later years sounds just like his father's voice.


Superman: The Animated Series

Batman Beyond

Justice League

Justice League Unlimited


  1. Goodman, Robert (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (September 9, 1997). "Blasts From the Past, Part II". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 2 (airdate). Episode 17 (production). Kids WB!.
  2. Burnett, Alan, Dini, Paul (writers) & Riba, Dan (director) (September 6, 1996). "The Last Son of Krypton, Part I". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 1. Episode 1 (airdate). Episode 1 (production). Kids WB!.