Warning, this question contains spoilers for the movie "Man of Steel".

When I watched the movie, I was surprised to see that there was no Fortress of Solitude. Instead, that concept was replaced by having an ancient 20,000 year-old Kryptonian ship buried in the ice which Clark brings back up and running with the help of a computer-facsimile of Jor-El. This ship was not of Jor-El's design and not catered to helping his son understand who he was or contain information tailored to his son - it just happened to be there as a remnant of Krypton's colonization program. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what I remember from the movie).

I'm amazed that such an ancient ship was even COMPATIBLE with Jor-El's computer program. Are you telling me that Kryptonian technology hasn't changed in 20,000 years?

Considering that, how did holographic Jor-El make a Kryptonian suit & cape with the insignia of the House of El appear on that ancient ship? And it was tailored to fit his son's body?

  • The bulk functionality of DNA and proteins has pretty much remained compatible for millions of years - why is it so hard for people to accept basic code compatibility if what they are doing is extrapolating a few decades of Computer Science to a span of 20'000 years?
    – flq
    Jun 25, 2013 at 21:47
  • 3
    "Are you telling me that Kryptonian technology hasn't changed in 20,000 years?" Also, Kryptonian society was depicted in the film as being basically at the end of its life. They'd planned their children for hundreds of years. They seemed to believe they had everything figured out. They weren't particularly keen to change how they did things to avoid their planet exploding, so writing a new programming language was probably quite far down the to-do list. Jul 1, 2013 at 14:42
  • How do you know that the ship wasn't sent like 10 Kryptonian years ago, but simply landed on Earth on a weird time-frame due to time-dilation and such?
    – Möoz
    Apr 4, 2016 at 21:35

8 Answers 8


Yes, that is exactly what we are being asked to accept. The technology used to create both the under-armor of Kal-El's suit and the technology used to activate the ship were both compatible with the technology created by the Kryptonians 20,000 years ago.

  • Considering the Kryptonians had been a space-faring civilization for 80,000 of its 100,000 years, it is not inconceivable they developed a computer technology that simply had no need for change after it had reached its peak.

  • It might simply be very difficult for us to imagine technology reaching the point where it peaks or even stagnates and fails to develop further.

  • Consider Humanity's computer technology has been around for about 60 years and we are still creating a wide array of different forms of computer technology because we are still deciding what works best for us.

  • After a thousand years, I imagine most computers will have reached their peak of development and will stabilize into something fairly easy to amend, organize, fix and augment, so that upgrades and perhaps even development may be done completely without human interaction at all.

Is it hard to believe in technology which may reach an apex and then never develop significantly beyond that point?

  • Yes, I believe it is possible for technology to develop to a point where it may not change significantly and we haven't even had technology for more than 10,000 years let alone 100,000 years.

  • The bulk of human technological development has been accomplished in the last 200 years of our 200,000 year existence as an intelligent-tool using species. In the time it has taken us to reach our current level of technological ability, the Kryptonian culture appeared to be falling into a cultural chaos, with the loss of their outer colonies being a side effect of that chaos.

  • We also don't know what may have stagnated the development of Kryptonian technology. It could have been a peaking of scientific or creative ability, it could have also been a political force which prevented further development. It could be as simple as they may have decided, they didn't need computers (or technology) to do more than they were already capable of.

  • 1
    I have some problems with the real world timeline sketched in the second part of your answer. Maybe it depends on your definition of technology, but I'd say it's been around for far longer than 10,000 years. Over a million years if stone tools and fire making count, about 50,000 years for behavioral modernity. Furthermore, 20,000 years of 'existence as a species' is definitely off; Homo Sapiens hasn't really changed much anatomically in the last 200,000 years.
    – Junuxx
    Jun 16, 2013 at 22:00
  • 2
    I don't consider the Stone Age and having fire to be the equivalent of a space-faring civilization by any stretch of the imagination. By those standards the Kryptonians probably still have ten times the longevity of technological advancement. We haven't physically changed much for 200,000 years but it was only the last 20,000 where anything which resembled technology existed. Rocks, fire and the wheel barely count. I don't consider civilization until we started doing agriculture about 12,000 years ago. Jun 16, 2013 at 22:06
  • 5
    The microwave oven and the toaster are good examples of stagnant technology. Neither has improved in recent years.
    – Valorum
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:07
  • It is plausible that they essentially maxed out the Planck limits of technology within the first few thousand years of computerization (somehow without Fermi Paradoxing themselves in the process). Beyond that, what is there to do but refine? If you have enough time to actually prove your interfaces there is no fundamental reason a civilization must hit a Digital Dark Age -- unless they wind up inventing the Web and Javascript and "cloud" and all that stuff, of course... ;-)
    – zxq9
    Apr 11, 2015 at 12:05

Notice though that it creates what ammounts to underwear for Kryptonians. Most of the "modern" Kryptonians wear similar clothing under what appears to be techno-organic armor.

As you can see in these shots Jor El is wearing something very similar under an outer cloak with a chest piece. Jor El

Here we see Zod wearing combat armor with his suit slightly visible underneath Zod

While clothing styles, and armor capabilities do advance at a fairly rapid rate, undergarments are still the same basic idea of a top/bottom to provide basic coverage of the body for either protection or modesty. While I agree that the Jor El program being instantly compatible with the ancient technology is a bit of a stretch of suspension of disbelief, that the machines onboard couldn't replicate underwear is well within the realm of possibility.


I think, that the technology could have changed over the time but the reading device and portable media did not change a lot. It is also goal of our scientists to make media able to preserve the data for long period of time. (1 000 years) Compatibility with older system does not mean stagnation for me. It would be great for us having portable devices always working no matter on technological advancement.

  • 4
    Yea, good thing Kryptonian technology wasn't designed by Sony (Kal-El would have had to buy a new copy of the crystal's data on the PSN) or Apple (he would have needed to buy a $50 adapter even though the crystal works with all other alien technologies). Nov 16, 2013 at 6:49

I'm amazed that such an ancient ship was even COMPATIBLE with Jor-El's computer program. Are you telling me that Kryptonian technology hasn't changed in 20,000 years?

You're basing the question on human technology. Though there's no way to definitively answer this question, I pose that maybe Kryptonians had simply designed a computer system that was infinitely backwards compatible, or that computers were able to accomplish all that was needed and that the focus was more on colonization and not technological advancement (after a certain degree).

Considering that, how did holographic Jor-El make a Kryptonian suit & cape with the insignia of the House of El appear on that ancient ship? And it was tailored to fit his son's body?

This is why I'm here... Nowhere in the movie does it say that Jor-El made the suit. When he's giving the backstory, Jor-El diagrams show the explorers wearing the symbol of the house of El. Just after showing the suit, he tells Clark that the symbol of the house of El means hope. What I took from that was that the colonists wore the symbol of hope as they explored the universe and the house of El had simply adopted that symbol as their sigil. The suit was already there for the explorers on the ship (3 of which we know died) and Jor-El simply opened the pod containing it.

  • 1
    Perhaps a majority of the explorers are/were members of the House of El, or had direct involvement with the planning and execution of the exploration missions and the symbol was adopted by all as a way of honoring them. This is a good theory though, +1.
    – Monty129
    Jan 26, 2015 at 21:25
  • not a bad thought. Considering all of the Kryptonians were genetically 'built' based on need, it's possible, though never stated, that houses contain the same types of people so family could assist in teaching and growing. Using that logic, all members of the house of El could have been scientists and could have been one of the main families to go out and colonize. Jan 26, 2015 at 21:28
  • 1
    That's how it has been represented in the comics (depending on the writer) each family typically has a job/speciality in Kryptonian society and the House of El's was as scientists. I believe it's even been pointed out by other Kryptonians the irony that the son of Jor-El, their greatest scientist would be raised as a farmer, something they looked down on.
    – Monty129
    Jan 26, 2015 at 21:33

Simply enough there was a spare exploration suit in the kryptonian scout ship! more interesting was the one open and empty stasis chamber , rumours that it could be supergirl / john jones


If the ship crashed about 18-20,000 years ago, wouldn't that be when the capsule unlocked? (Or I guess in a stasis it could be for xx years) But let's say it did open shortly after it crashed, or even years after, I think maybe thats how the Amazonians may have came to be (in this particular universe). Just a thought.

On the suit side, I just assumed it was created when Kal El inserted the (black thing) into the scout ship. But as someone pointed out, under 'wear' was quite common with their attire.

  • 1
    Sounds like you're speculating.
    – Stan
    Nov 16, 2013 at 11:49

In the Man of Steel prequel comic book, the scout ship is from Kal-El's uncle, Jor-El's brother.

The suit is the same suit worn by all sons of El. The open empty cryopod is from Kal-El's cousin Kara-zor-El - Supergirl.

At the end of the comic, a person seen walking away from the crashed ship:

  • The empty pod is fan speculation. I happen to agree with it, but there's no current basis in fact for your statements. Jan 26, 2015 at 21:37

This is all completely reasonable, and requires little to no suspension of disbelief. Certainly less than is required by the many powers Kryptonians have under our yellow sun.

After tens of thousands of years of space travel, I would be surprised if the Kryptonians hadn't devised a standard computer interface that would continue to work for thousands of years. Just because Jor-El's program can interface with the computer doesn't mean nothing has changed. It just means the interface is still compatible, which would be based on a standard, like USB interfaces are based on the USB standard today.

As for the suit, consider the Kryptonians' display technology. Rather than light from a two-dimensional screen, or even three-dimensional holograms, they actually construct physical objects in real-time. If they can do that for a display, and we already have 3D printers, then of course the ship would be capable of manufacturing a suit based on Jor-El's custom design. This is even more clear considering how all the Kryptonians we see are wearing similar suits, whether on Krypton, on Earth, or exploring in Scout ships. Even if the ship can't just manufacture whatever object is needed like a Star Trek replicator, it can certainly create the clothing worn by its crew.

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