Just when Jordan touched the alien ship which carried his father, the Superman, to earth from Krypton, my heart quivered like the ship’s surface. CW’s latest Arrowverse show Superman & Lois premiered this week and has managed to revive all kinds of memories of the character’s 80-year-old DC history. But a less-than-obvious one has to be the orange-colored stone Jordan pulls out of possibly the last surviving Krypton ship.
What was the orange crystal, and how important could it be for the plot of Superman & Lois going forth? Is it the Sunstone? Did the stone give Jordan his superpowers, or at least trigger them? Does Jordan finding the crystal have anything to do with Luthor (spoiler) stabbing Superman with Kryptonite and rendering him powerless? Will the Superson help Superman fight the bad guy?
So many questions. But not nearly enough answers! Since makers of the CW show have kept all the cards on Superman & Lois close to their chest, we are forced to turn to the Superman experts instead. Here is what the former DC fanzine writer Matt Morrison has to say about the special crystal Jordan discovers.
In the pilot episode, the crystal Jordan extracts from the Kryptonian rocket is not identified but definitely resembles a Sunstone. Per DC Comics, Sunstone is a type of Kryptonian crystal found in yellow stars used both as a source of power and a tool for construction.
Read on to find out more about the story arcs which featured the Sunstone and which comics could have inspired the Superman & Lois series.
1. How Did Jordan Find the Orange Crystal?
The show follows Clark Kent and Lois Lane as they learn to be parents to their teenage sons. Besides their son Jordan’s severe anxiety, the biggest concern is if the boys should be told the truth about Clark Kent being Superman. And if the sons, too, will inherit some of their dad’s Kryptonian magic.
As the Kent family of four remains stuck in this dilemma, tragedy strikes, and Martha Kent has a lethal stroke. Her funeral brings the Kents back to Clark’s childhood home in Smallville, a DC-favorite quaint suburb in Kansas.
At their family home, the first thing Jordan and Jonathan want to do is to explore the forbidden barn, which their father had warned “could kill them”. Jordan has his first whiff of superpowers at the barn when he falls off 30 feet but does not even bruise. To know more about the incident that was “freakier than his own freaky ways”, he sets out to explore the barn again.
While there, he and Jon discover an underground cellar where there is a mysterious spaceship hidden away under a car cover. It is the Kryptonian rocket in which baby Superman landed on earth after escaping the end of all life in Krypton.
For some reason, maybe because he was closer, Jordan touches the spaceship first, and it responds. The ship’s surface splits open at the point of contact and out pops an orange crystal. Jordan gets a hold of it and rushes back to his father, asking why an alien ship was hiding under his “forbidden” barn. Meanwhile, fans got busy recalling all the times they saw a yellow crystal in Superman stories and if this one was the Sunstone indeed.
2. What is a Sunstone?
Most Kryptonian technology is crystal-based, and the Sunstone Crystal is a type of crystal used as a building material, a source of power, and even as a computer system. While Jordan’s crystal inside the Kryptonian rocket is not identified specifically, it resembles a Sunstone. It has a glowing yellow/orange color and seems to have triggered Jordan’s superpowers because soon after touching it, he can burn things with his eyes.
The idea of a crystal hidden inside Superman’s Kryptonian ride to earth is not a new one. It was last seen in the movie Superman, where a teenaged Clark Kent finds a glowing green crystal inside the ship. This finding is inspired by a psychic call he has toward his purpose, and he sets out to search for the mysterious Fortress of Solitude all the way to the Arctic. The sequel film, Superman Returns, went into more detail about the crystal origins of the Fortress and Kryptonian architecture.
In the Superman series Smallville, the Fortress of Solitude houses the artificial intelligence of Clark’s Kryptonian dad Jor-El (Please note that Jordan’s middle name is Eliot, which makes his initials Jor-El. Why you so obvious, directors?). Here Clark describes Jor-El as an advanced computer programming within the Crystal of Knowledge.
Before the movies, at least a dozen different comic story arcs have a glowing crystal popping out of the Kryptonian rocket, and at least one of those times, the crystal is a glowing yellow.
In the 2006 story arc “Up, Up, and Away!”, Superman recovers a piece of Kryptonian Sunstone. Superman then reveals that the Sunstone had been sent with him from Krypton and used it (in Action Comics #840) to construct a new Fortress in the Arctic. The fortress is built in the exact same manner as Superman. The bad guy in “Up, Up, and Away!” is also Lex Luthor, who uses the Sunstone to awaken an ancient Kryptonian warship.
Incidentally, the story arc from “Up, Up, and Away!” also has Superman rendered powerless at the very start. With the pilot episode of Superman & Lois even hinting at Lex Luthor using Kryptonite to stab and defang Superman, maybe Jordan’s newly-discovered stone could be quite central to the plot.
What are your favorite features of the Sunstone in Superman’s history? Do you agree with what I had to say about the Sunstone?
3. About Superman & Lois
Superman and Lois is an American superhero drama television series developed by Todd Helbing and Greg Berlanti for The CW. It is based on the DC Comics characters Superman and Lois Lane.
The cast includes Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch in the titular roles and features characters from The CW’s superhero universe of shows spun off from Arrow — like The Flash and Supergirl — aka the “Arrowverse”. After the first half of season 1 premiering on February 23, 2021, the second season came to The CW on May 18, 2021.
Clark Kent aka Superman and Lois Lane return to Smallville with their sons Jonathan and Jordan, where they are reacquainted with Lana Lang, her husband Kyle Cushing, and their daughter Sarah. But their idyllic life is upended when The Stranger enters their lives.