The Lost Origins Of The House Of El
“El mayarah. It means, stronger together.” — Kara Zor-El in ‘Supergirl’
Superman. One of the world’s most famous DC superheroes. Born on the planet Krypton to parents, Lara Lor-Van and Jor-El, Superman was born as Kal-El. While fans are familiar with how he became Superman, what fans might not know, is the House of El’s past and how it rose back up in the ranks.
In the upcoming television series, Krypton, we learn the origins of the House of El, which take place 200 years before Kal-El (Henry Cavill)’s birth. The series is part of the DC cinematic universe. The series tells the story of Seg-El (Seyg-El in the comics), the grandfather of Kal-El and how he helps in bringing the House of El back to its former glory, while trying to prevent a future threat from coming into fruition.
In this article, we will explore the famous and (in)famous members of the famous Kryptonian family and how the series affects what fans might know about the famed superhero family.
What Came Before
Before Kal-El, his origins stem back generations, although, we’ll focus on just Seg-El.
Seg-El was born the son of Ter-El and Charys-El into the House of El with his grandfather and mentor being Val-El. Over time, Seg would marry and have a son (possibly two) of his own. The first being, Jor-El, who in time would father Kal-El. If the Man of Steel prequel comic is to be believed, Seg fathered a second son, Zor-El, who in turn fathered Kara Zor-El.
Jor-El would marry Lara Lor-Van — she would become Lara Van-El upon their marriage. They would change Kryptonian history, by having a child born naturally for the first time in centuries. Kryptonians were normally born via ‘test tubes’, using the genetics of the parents. Jor-El and Lara wanted their child to be born like a human.
Zor-El would marry Alura In-Ze becoming the parents of a daughter, Kara Zor-El. Kara became a pilot in the Explorer Guild and would eventually crash-land in prehistoric Canada on the planet known as Earth. It is unknown as to what her status was after her ship crashed.
If you follow the comics, there are storylines that depict Seyg’s family just a little differently to what will be depicted in Krypton. Basically speaking, Seyg had three sons. In some storylines, Zor-El was erased entirely and replaced with a sister, Kara Seyg-El; who shared the same name as Zor’s eventual daughter.
In terms of Seyg, he is renamed Jor-El I while his firstborn son became Jor-El II. Jor-El I had three sons in this particular storyline; the third being Nim-El.
Where ‘Krypton’ Sits In The DCEU
With Krypton, it works in the same fashion to say, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D does for Marvel. It’s considered canon to the DCEU as it’s the backstory to Man of Steel by exploring Superman’s family history before his birth. Not following? Basically, it’s a prequel. Instead of a film that only has 120 minutes to tell us what happened to Krypton, we have an entire series instead that tells us what happened in the years leading up to the destruction of Krypton at the beginning of Man of Steel.
During Man of Steel, we see Jor-El (Russell Crowe) struggling to make the higher ranking members of Krypton’s community notice that the planet is on the brink of collapse. He even says that the House of El was responsible for Krypton’s pending destruction; implying Seg may or may not do something that brings about their destruction.
During the events of Krypton, we meet a 20-something-year-old, Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), Jor’s father. At the same time, we see a very different setting on Krypton then we saw at the beginning of Man of Steel.
According to the synopsis of the series, Seg struggles because of the negative reputation that the House of El holds. They aren’t the honourable family that fans are familiar with. They’re seen as outsiders and this doesn’t help matters with Seg’s relationship with Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell); whose future grandson, Dru-Zod would become an enemy of the El family. Notwithstanding, Dru would become a friend to Seg’s future son, Jor before eventually turning on him and later, goes after Jor’s son, Kal. Seg and Lyta’s relationship is forbidden, though we aren’t aware as to why as of yet.
Much like the comic book version of his grandson who has Jimmy Olsen as a best friend, Seg also has a best friend in the form of Kem (Rasmus Hardiker), who joins him in trying to resurrect respect and honour to the House of El. Kem doesn’t avoid Seg because of his family’s reputation and has been at Seg’s side since they were young boys. Kem’s comic book counterpart was a member of the House of El, which explains why Krypton’s version of him is Seg’s best friend as Kem-El was a close associate to Seyg-El.
Who Is Val-El?
Krypton will also introduce us to the Man of Steel’s great, great grandfather, Val-El (Ian McElhinney).
According to what we see, Val-El disappears into the Phantom Zone when Seg is only a child and re-emerges 14 years later when his grandson is an adult. He has an interest in space exploration, which could explain why he goes into the Phantom Zone in the first place. Well, that or he goes missing.
Krypton might tell the story that leads to Superman’s birth, but there are other members of the famed alien family, fans might not know exist. One of those just so happens to be the great-grandmother of Kal-El, Charys-El (Paula Malcolmson); the mother of Seg-El. Currently, the character will appear in flashbacks, concerning Val-El’s departure to the Phantom Zone. Well, seeing as we don’t know exactly if Val actually leaves or goes missing, we will just have to see where her role leads in the present as she appears when Seg is an adult.
Krypton explores the unknown origins of Superman’s past through the form of his grandfather and his ancestors. When we first meet Seg-El, he’s living in squalor. Now, you might be thinking, ‘Why would the House of El be living in squalor?’.
Seg-El has nothing to do with the House of El’s fall from grace. Though, when we meet him, he has grown up in a society where his once highly regarded family now sits at the bottom of what Krypton calls a social ladder. The society in which Seg dwells is strict and the House of El is pretty much left to rot at the bottom and die. Despite his high intelligence and resourceful nature, he is rash and angry because of the how he is raised. This is the polar opposite of how his future grandson is raised by the Kents in an otherwise loving environment.
As the audience sees Seg develop, we see what he [Seg] sees; the House of El is flawed and is very human-like and he himself feels lost and has to learn to embrace a legacy that he will one day assist in forming. Though, Seg will hit a roadblock; someone from the future wants to ensure Superman isn’t born and travels back 200 years to his time to ensure Kal is never conceived.
In the comics, Seyg-El is seen as gruff or overly grumpy, which can be taken into context in Krypton where Seg isn’t as calm and gentle as Kal.
Relationship With House Zod
Okay, everyone knows the history of how Superman and General Zod are sworn enemies, blah, blah, blah. However, Krypton takes that rivalry and expands on it, but not in the way you might think.
In Krypton, we learn that Lyta-Zod, who would become the grandmother of Dru-Zod (Michael Shannon) whom we meet in Man of Steel, had a romantic relationship with Seg. Yeah, it’s strange to think there was a moment where an El and a Zod were linked in some way in the past which wasn’t at all violent and vengeful.
Depending what happens with Lyta and Seg, it’s apparent it doesn’t last as her grandson will clash with Seg’s son and grandson.
As every day passes, we come closer to the release of Krypton. I’ve never been a real fan of Superman and Superman lore, but I’m excited about this series. I have always had a love for origin stories. I cannot wait to see how Seg’s decisions could impact his grandson’s future.
Krypton is the due to air its series premiere on March 21 on SyFy.