My Adventures With Superman Creators Explain Why The Season 2 Premiere Delivered That Big Jor-El Twist: ‘What Is Maximally Frustrating To Our Characters?’

 My Adventures with Superman's Jor-El AI looking down at Clark.
My Adventures with Superman's Jor-El AI looking down at Clark.

Warning: SPOILERS for the My Adventures with Superman Season 2 two-episode premiere are ahead!

Although Superman’s Kryptonian father, Jor-El, died when Krypton exploded, oftentimes stories featuring the Man of Steel show the late scientist’s consciousness being depicted in hologram form, or to go a step further, as an AI program. My Adventures with Superman is the latest to do this, although in Season 1 (which helped make 2023 an outstanding year for Superman fans), the Jor-El program was speaking in Kryptonese, making it impossible for Kal-El/Clark Kent to fully understand him.

Well, the good news is that in the DC TV show’s Season 2 premiere, titled “More Things in Heaven and Earth,” these two finally got to have a proper conversation. The bad news is that the Jor-El program is no more, and the My Adventures with Superman creators explained to CinemaBlend why they threw this twist in.

What Happened To The Jor-El AI

The Season 2 premiere saw Clark, Lois and Jimmy investigating a Kryptonian ship that landed in Antarctica. The trio learned about their ship shortly after Clark experienced a vision that ended with Jor-El speaking English and cryptically informing him that there is another like him, but they’re running out of time. It didn’t take long for Clark to get separated from Lois and Jimmy when they arrived at the scene, as he was drawn deep within the ship by the Jor-El AI. In a case of reality following prophetic visions, Jor-El finally spoke English, as the translation program finally had enough time to learn the language.

The AI then explained how in life, Jor-El had been a scion of the Kryptonian Empire, but that he was a program that contained a scan of the scientist’s mind. Because this ship had been bombarded with Kryptonite eating through it. the Jor-El AI didn’t have much time to inform Clark about his origins, namely how the Krytponite Empire had conquered numerous worlds until it finally reached an enemy it could not defeat. With Krypton on the brink of annihilation, Jor-El, his wife Lara and his brother Zor-El sent Kal-El and his cousin Kara away as the planet’s only two survivors, although her whereabouts are unknown. Jor-El also clarified that the Kryptonian ship that emerged through that portal in Season 1 was simply a ghost ship running on autopilot, not the first salvo in an Earth invasion.

Unfortunately, the combination of the ship’s embedded Krytponite and Amanda Waller showing up with some of her goons to strip the ship’s technology resulted in the Jor-El AI sacrificing itself to absorb the Krytponite and transport everyone off the ship. With his dying words, the program told Clark about a communication beacon he needed to find in order to locate Kara, then commended him for using his powers for good and filling his life with love, and hoped that one day, he could forgive him for leaving him again.

Why My Adventures With Superman’s Creators Got Rid Of The Jor-El AI

In the middle of my conversation with My Adventures with Superman creators Josie Campbell, Jake Wyatt and Brendan Clogher, I asked them why they decided to take Jor-El off the board rather than keep him around to advise Clark, as is traditionally done. Wyatt chimed in first, saying:

So most of what we do is like, what is maximally frustrating to our characters? What pushes them into the worst or the most interesting situation? Having Jor-El around just long enough to complicate Clark's idea of Krypton was good for what we wanted to do with him. Having him there to provide too many easy answers was a no go. And then it also gives Jor-El… there's so many versions of the character, and there's good versions and there's evil versions, and there's some that are pure as the driven snow. And we wanted closer to a real dad, like a complicated guy who who you're always learning new things about his story, and some of them are disappointing and some of them are inspiring, but ultimately a person who sacrificed for you to try to give you your life. So we wanted to give Jor-El a chance to be the dad he wanted to be.

Wyatt, Campbell and Clogher certainly accomplished their goal of frustration, as not only does not having this AI program put Clark at a disadvantage when it comes to learning more about his Kryptonian heritage or helping him learn about extraterrestrial threats, but now Clark’s has a more complicated perception of his home planet. More importantly though, it was important for the My Adventures with Superman team to portray Joe-El to feel like a flawed character who had both good and bad traits. Additionally, it was more important for My Adventures with Superman to show Clark saying goodbye to his biological father, with Campbell explaining:

I think ours is one of the only Superman medias where Superman actually gets to say goodbye to his parents. He doesn't see his mom, but he gets to say goodbye to his dad, and that's powerful. It’s more important that Clark can meet him and know him and say goodbye than it is for Jor-El to be a handy Wikipedia.

So the Jor-El AI is gone, but Clark didn’t have long to mourn his loss. Season 2’s second episode, “Adventures with my Girlfriend,” saw him and Lois rescuing her father Sam Lane, from Amanda Waller, who used to be his second-in-command at Task Force X. Now she’s running the operation, and while Sam was successfully rescued and is now laying low with Clark and Jimmy (unaware the former is Superman), Waller is now allied with Lex Luthor, who proved himself capable enough to become her new lead scientist, though not fully in supervillain territory yet. Between that new alliance, the impending arrival of Brainiac and that mysterious Kryptonian warrior from the Season 1 finale (look at that, there’s a third survivor) and Supergirl set to fly into action, there’s already a lot that’s headed Clark’s way this season.

New episodes of My Adventures with Superman drop Sundays at 12 am ET during the Toonami portion of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, and they can be streamed soon after with a Max subscription. Our 2024 TV schedule is available for perusal if you’re looking for other current shows to watch.