What would be the purpose of sending a ship far far away for purposes of colonization and even put genesis chamber inside it but then do not include a codex so it would be useless? Is it a plot hole to cause Zod to need to capture Superman only?

As far as I understand, Kryptonians are able to manipulate DNA (or whatever equivalant they might have) when they breed new people for selected tasks. They could easily replicate exact clones of the original codex and distribute them with scout ships.

Even better, we know that Kal-El has a copy of codex in himself. So it would be possible to put a backup copy of codex into every Kryptonian. Such a valuable thing should have multiple copies stored in different physical locations in case one location gets destroyed. Why would Kryptonians not make copies?

3 Answers 3


Very much a guess:

  • The decision to add a genesis chamber had to be made early in the design process, the decision to bring a codex could be left to the last moments before launch. So they added the chamber to preserve this option.
  • Is the codex or a codex? Could the chamber be useful, at a reduced capability, without the codex? Could there be "lesser" codices with limited data? Think of bringing a 3D printer without any premade plans, it can still be useful if there is design software.

Regarding the backup, too much data can be a liability.

  • Jor-El took it upon himself to make wide-ranging decisions. Was he arrogant enough to think that he should be able to do that, but not others?
  • What would Zod or Faroa-Ul have done with a codex?
  • I think in such cases you would build the chamber as a module which can be inserted when needed or not included in ship at all. Also codex is very small and insignificant compared to all the tech required to breed new people. Codex is simply a carrier for genetic information for all kryptonians. 3D printer, OK but if it was possible to design new kryptonians from scratch there would be no absolute need for codex. Jor-El did not seem to have legal access to genesis chamber or codex in movie. You saying I shouldn't backup my computer because it creates a liability? :) Makes no sense :p
    – yurtesen
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 9:22
  • @yurtesen, how can you (or I) know that? Perhaps the chamber needs a heavy-duty power feed and cannot be easily added afterwards? Or it needs to be shielded against interference, with the same effect? We are talking about a fictional alien technology, which may or may not allow modularization.
    – o.m.
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 15:01
  • It is simply a matter of resource management. If as you said, the chamber require extensive engineering then it would make no sense to send it without codex copy. Also, if you will send thousands of ships without codex, you would then build scout ships without genesis chamber (if the chamber is resource extensive that it cant be modularized). As we know, kryptonians had a pile of different type ships, as small as pod of Superman which could travel very long distances. So, clearly it is not logical to have such ship on earth.
    – yurtesen
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 21:08
  • @yurtesen, do you know what people mean when they say a warship is "fitted for but not with" some gadget? Space is reserved, wiring and other support is in place, just the key gadget itself is missing. So here is a ship "fitted for but not with" a codex by having a chamber. We cannot know the costs and design tradeoffs of either a codex or a chamber, so saying that this makes no sense is guessing. Just like saying that it makes sense.
    – o.m.
    Commented Dec 2, 2018 at 5:55

What would be the purpose of sending a ship far far away for purposes of colonization and even put genesis chamber inside it but then do not include a codex so it would be useless?

Petitio principii is a poor mode of analysis. In the film, we aren't told whether Scout Ships contain codices. We aren't told a lot of specifications: from shields to sensors to atmospherics to self-repair to waste management to life support, etc. Asking the question assuming absence as answer is faulty reasoning. Instead, if your assumption causes an obvious error it's far more reasonable to challenge your assumption than proceed on it as premise.

We have plenty of clues that Scout Ships contain codices. They are scouts afterall- leading the charge- yet equipped with Genesis Chambers. This logically implies: 1) They were intended to start populations; 2) Before terraforming; & 3) Meaning only ALREADY HABITABLE environments were scouted and marked for terraforming (like turning Hoth into Endor; both habitable but one allows life to flourish more comfortably and easily).

World Engines were not sent to prepare the way for Genesis Chambers. Instead Scout Ships created populations to prepare the way for World Engines. This demanded that Scout Ships had a means of making Genesis Chambers viable, meaning an onboard Codex. Of course, if you don't accept the reasoning, we have explicit proof of this in the form of the Man of Steel prequel comic:

https://i.sstatic.net/KDlPL.jpgGrowth Codex

Is it a plot hole to cause Zod to need to capture Superman only?

Of course not. The film tells us that the Scout Ship is from Krypton's Great Age of Expansion, 20,000 years prior to to culture of contemporary present-day Krypton, and deeply divided philosophically. The order events is as follows, according to Jor-El:

  1. We built outposts on other planets...
  2. our civilization flourished...
  3. Artificial population control was established.
  4. The outposts on space exploration were abandoned.
  5. We exhausted our natural resources.

That means that during the Age of Expansion, there wasn't eugenic determinism or a society built around or controlled by codices. It was when that agenda was introduced into the technology that society ordered itself around The Codex, purity, destiny, pre-programmed rigidity... and accordingly calcified and died, unable to change, adapt, or respond.

That is what Jor-El is fighting against and what Zod seeks to preserve.

If Zod could ignore his programming to innovate or tolerate in terms of Kryptonian society, he wouldn't need "THE Codex". He actually wouldn't even need any codex. He could have restarted the Kryptonian race through natural birth. But that was an abomination to him. He'd rather they go extinct than commit that heresy. He could have started a clone program or interbred with other races. Etc. None of these are viable alternatives to an inflexible pre-programmed person with a specific and absolute vision of Krypton held with conviction. It is completely within the story that Zod should desire THE Codex as opposed to any alternative.

we know that Kal-El has a copy of codex in himself. So it would be possible to put a backup copy of codex into every Kryptonian

This is a poor criticism. Jor-El's bonding of the Codex to Kal-El was novel. Jor-El is the progenitor of several novel technologies: Phantom Drives, The Black Zero, non-Liquid Geo Holography, sentient AI, etc. What he did was new and unknown to other Kryptonians at the time, which is why Zod kept looking for a physical manifestation of the Codex, why it was a surprise it was found in Kal-El, and why he had to ask whether it could be recovered from a dead body (not knowing the parameters of a new technology). Asking why a novel technology has not been used all along is like asking why the Scout Ships didn't all have Phantom Drives. New tech is new.

Why would Kryptonians not make copies?

Again, how do you know there aren't copies? In fact, Zack Snyder explicitly says there are multiple copies of the Codex throughout the planet prior to its destruction during a Yahoo! Movies Blu-Ray Release event. Regardless, this is again an example of the product of poor analysis presuming a prejudicial precept- begging the question- instead of analyzing honestly. If it's not practicable for the entire population of a planet to come from a single point or if all of society is ordered around replicable data... it's unlikely to be restricted to one instance, so when there's nothing in the film to the contrary, why assume there's only one instance?

  • 1
    To be honest, I'd have liked this answer better if you'd just presented the evidence (the prequel comic and a transcript of Snyder's interview at the release event) along with a brief description. I feel like the wall of slightly snarky commentary and supposition you've added takes away from the overall good quality of the answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 15:30

Scout ship finds a possible world for colonization, requests codex, codex/required codex bullet matching new colony parameters is sent. Bobs your uncle: the few scout crew can make ready and on receipt of codex bullet start up the genesis chamber to generate a precisely engineered colony matching that planet. A world engine might or might not be needed.

Zod could not get a codex bullet from Krypton and didnt think to gather such info and material from other abandonned colonies during his "search". He was fixated on finding Jor Els Chosen world and using THE entire prime codex and a world engine to replicate the Krypton from which he was banished to which he was bonded and enslaved and over which he would rule, completing his program in the ultimate manner.

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. I'm not sure I see how this explains why they would outfit the scout ship with a genesis chamber and not also give it a codex.
    – DavidW
    Commented Feb 28, 2021 at 2:55

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