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You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you; they will stumble and they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.
~ Jor-El, to Clark Kent.
Silencing me won't change anything. My son is twice the man you were, and he will finish what we started, I can promise you that.
~ Hologram Jor-El to General Zod.

Jor-El is the secondary tritagonist appearing in the 2013 superhero film Man of Steel, based on the character of the same name appearing in DC Comics.

He is portrayed by Academy-Award winner Russell Crowe, who also portrayed Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator, and Dr. Henry Jekyll in The Mummy (2017).


Man of Steel

At the start of the movie, Jor-El helps his wife Lara Lor-Van give birth to a son they name "Kal-El." Kal-El, as it turns out, is the first Kryptonian to be naturally conceived and born in centuries against present Kryptonian law, which forbids natural reproduction (Kryptonians are instead genetically engineered in Genesis chambers).

Not long after, Jor-El meets with the planet's governing council and tries to persuade them that Krypton is doomed due to their people exhausting the planet's natural resources, rendering the core unstable. The session is interrupted by General Zod and his soldiers, who are staging a coup against what Zod sees as the corrupted and foolish leadership of the council. Jor-El confronts Zod and refuses to help him create a new Kryptonian order, prompting Zod to place Jor-El under arrest. Jor-El, however, manages to subdue his captors and escape. He then retrieves the Codex which contains the genetic code of every Kryptonian yet to be born.

Once he has the Codex, Jor-El escapes from Zod's forces who arrive to apprehend him and makes his way back home, where he and Lara prepare to send their newborn son to Earth. Before placing Kal-El into a spacecraft, Jor-El infuses the Codex into his son's cells.

When Zod and his men approach the citadel, Jor-El dons Kryptonian armor and arms himself to take on Zod. When Zod enters the citadel, Jor-El reveals that he and Lara had a son through natural means. Zod is outraged at the revelation, leading to a violent fight between the two former friends. Lara manages to launch Kal-El's capsule into space; not long after, Zod, in a fit of rage, stabs Jor-El, killing him.

Thirty-three years after Krypton's destruction, Kal-El, now named Clark Kent, finds and activates a Kryptonian scoutship that crash-landed on Earth centuries earlier, coming into contact with a hologram programmed with Jor-El's consciousness. Jor-El tells Clark about his heritage and Krypton's history, explaining that he sent Kal-El to Earth to bring hope to humankind before presenting Clark with a Kryptonian uniform.

Later, when Zod makes his way to Earth and begins terraforming the planet into a new Krypton, Jor-El confronts Zod aboard the scoutship and unsuccessfully tries to convince his old friend to stop his genocidal plan. Zod responds by eliminating Jor-El's programming from the ship's systems.


  • Master Combatant: Despite being a member of the Kryptonian Thinker Guild and rarely fighting in the front lines, Jor-El proved to be an extremely accomplished, fierce and versatile fighter in battle, displaying great proficiency in a vast array of Kryptonian martial arts, having apparently taught himself how to fight or received intensive combat training from somewhere. He displayed the full extent and potency of his skill in hand-to-hand combat during the Kryptonian Civil War, proving quite capable of easily fighting and subduing some of the most elite members of the Kryptonian Warrior Guild, as not only was he able to swiftly defeat Tor-An and his Sword of Rao men when they arrested him, but he even was able to effectively fight on par with the extremely skilled and dangerous General Zod (who was the leader of the Kryptonian Warrior Guild and deemed to be second only to Faora-Ul in skill), while protecting his son, Kal-El. Although he was briefly pinned down, Jor-El was able to quickly free himself and gain the upper hand, eventually subduing his former friend. He also was skilled at using improvised weapons, as Jor-El used a Kryptonian Rifle against Zod as a blunt weapon and managed to hit him twice, even scarring his head.
    • Master Marksman: Jor-El also possessed amazing marksmanship skills with firearms, such as the Kryptonian Rifle, as seen when Zod's men arrested Jor-El, and Kelex intervened and later to protect his son from Zod, easily shooting down many of Sword of Rao's men.
    • Master Flier: Jor-El was a highly skilled flyer, having no problems flying H'Raka through Zod's attack ships, even diving over a hundred feet through the air at very high speeds in the process.
    • Intellectual Genius: Jor-El, as the most illustrious member of the Kryptonian Thinker Guild, was extremely intelligent and wise, Krypton's top mind and foremost scientist, being exceptionally skilled and well-respected in all scientific fields and proving to be an exceptional tactician, able to quickly use his scientific expertise to come up with effective strategies. As such, Jor-El designed the huge Black Zero, as well as the Phantom Zone Projector, the Phantom Drives, and a Command Key with his own AI, being able to create artificial grass that he bedded onto a mountain peak near the House of El Citadel (despite most of Krypton being barren from thousands of years of strip mining) and 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) and succesfully come up with a plan to send his son Kal-El from it’s doom by sending him off in a Phantom Drive-equipped starship of his own design, which he quickly adapted to include Zod’s start of the Krypton Civil War, successfully thinking his way out of Zod’s captivity and preparing the means to intercept Zod’s attack, ultimately managing to successfully get his son into Earth despite being killed. Having accurately predicted how Earth's yellow G-type main-sequence star would enhance his son Kal-El, Jor-El's AL was able to effectively serve as a mentor for his son, teaching him to master his powers. He was also able to successfully advice Lois Lane into escaping the Black Zero, modifying the ship for him and Lois to easily elude the Sword of Rao, and quickly created a plan to collide 2 Phantom Drives to open up a temporary singularity into the Phantom Zone in order to defeat the Sword of Rao, which was crucial to Zod’s defeat.



  • Lara Lor-Van † - Wife
  • Kal-El - Son


  • Members of the LCK (Leading Council of Krypton)
  • Kelex † - Service Robot
  • Kelor † - Service Robot
  • Lois Lane (A.I. Projection)




  • Sean Penn and Clive Owen were runners for the role alongside Russell Crowe before the latter was casted.


           DC-logo.png Extended Universe Heroes

Man of Steel
Superman | Lois Lane | Jor-El
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Superman | Batman | Wonder Woman
Others: Alfred Pennyworth | Lois Lane | The Flash | Aquaman | Cyborg
Suicide Squad
Deadshot | Harley Quinn | Amanda Waller | Rick Flag | Katana | Captain Boomerang | Killer Croc | El Diablo
Others: Batman
Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman | Steve Trevor | Hippolyta
Justice League
Justice League: Superman | Batman | Wonder Woman | The Flash | Cyborg | Aquaman
Others: Alfred Pennyworth | Mera | Lois Lane | Hippolyta
Aquaman | Mera | Nuidis Vulko | Atlanna
Shazam Family: Shazam | King Shazam | Lady Shazam | Shazam Strong | Shazam Thunder | Shazam Lightning
Others: Wizard Shazam
Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Harley Quinn & Associates: Harley Quinn | Cassandra Cain
Birds of Prey: Huntress | Black Canary | Renee Montoya
Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman | Steve Trevor | Hippolyta


Superman | Supergirl | Superboy | Power Girl | Steel

Kent Family
Lois Lane | Jon Kent | Jonathan Kent | Martha Kent

Jor-El | Lara Lor-Von | Zor-El | Lor-Zod

Supporting Characters
Lana Lang | Jimmy Olsen | Perry White | Pete Ross | Cat Grant | Sam Lane | Lucy Lane | Bibbo Bibbowski | Lori Lemaris | Maxima

Krypto the Superdog | Streaky the Supercat | Comet the Super-Horse

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