Supergirl’s Kryptonian text explained

The Daily Planet's Kryptonian consultant provides a detailed description on what we know about Supergirl's personal crest from Andy Muschietti's "The Flash."

3 mins read

With the release of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” in March 2021, it seemed that we might have seen the last of Clark’s home world in the DCEU.

“The Flash” director Andy Muschietti made a point of flashing Henry Cavill’s Superman suit when confirming Sasha Calle for the Supergirl role one month earlier. But it was unclear at that time whether Supergirl would actually maintain any continuity with Cavill’s character.

That question has been answered for us as of March 19 with Andy Muschietti’s Twitter post revealing Sasha Calle’s Supergirl crest. Not only is it consistent with Cavill’s Superman crest, but Muschietti has opted to make Calle’s crest even more connected to the Krypton of 2013’s “Man of Steel.”

Before we delve into the Kryptonian text, let’s take a moment to note that Calle’s “S” curve is more stylized than Cavill’s. By comparing it to the House of El’s glyph, we can recognize the same sharp downstroke present at the bottom of Calle’s crest.

Just like Superman’s crest, Supergirl’s also contains some subtly embedded Kryptonian text. A full translation is not yet known. It could be quite a while before Dr. Christine Schreyer and Andy Muschietti are able to give us more information, but until then, we can make some inferences.

The phrase is likely much shorter than Superman’s text. We can tell this because the top and bottom lines are actually the exact same text, with the top line written upside down. The first and last words are obscured by the camera focus and the sharp curves, but the visible text so far reads:

[??] [ɛl sa͡odɪn nɛdɛv nænjɛlɹo guna zoɹ]-[??]

[??] El alone never [nænjɛlɹo] [guna] Zor-[??]

What does this say? Keeping in mind that Dr. Schreyer’s translations are the gold standard, we arrive at the inconvenient truth that Cavill’s and Calle’s suits include some minor errors.

In the case of Cavill’s suit, the word [dæɦɛno] is actually written as [dæhɛno], using the glyph for [h] instead of the one for [ɦ]. The same word’s past-tense indicator is also drawn incorrectly on Cavill’s crest, whereas it is drawn correctly on his belt and upper arms. (I haven’t been able to view it directly on his gauntlets.) We can wave our hands and chalk these up to varying Kryptonian dialects, handwriting, etc. It’s also possible that the symbol for [ɦ] was too intricate to print onto Cavill’s costume, since his costume contains other small gaps and line breaks resulting from the 3D printer’s limitations.

I mention all of this because Calle’s Kryptonian text spells “Zor” as [za͡oɹa͡o] by omitting the vowel indicators above the symbols. This word is followed by a grammatical symbol that serves as a hyphen between two names, which implies that it is part of the name “Zor-El”. Fortunately, before my head could explode, Dr. Schreyer confirmed that the word is indeed “Zor.”

The words [nænjɛlɹo] and [guna] remain unknown to everyone except Dr. Schreyer and (presumably) Muschietti. Considering the known words, we can see that the text refers to “never alone” and likely references Kara Zor-El’s surname. Within the DCEU’s lore, the inclusion of “Zor-El” would make it a more personalized suit than the ones that Clark obtains from the Kryptonian scout ship. Perhaps the message was inscribed by Kara’s family with the knowledge that she would be leaving Krypton.

Finally, we can also note the different color scheme on Supergirl’s suit. The boots are blue instead of red, and there is a lot more red in a shawl-like distribution that extends down the arms. Recall that the Kryptonian scout ship (from which Clark gets his suits in “Man of Steel” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”) left Krypton during its expansion period, thousands of years before the planet’s demise.

If Muschietti chooses to preserve Supergirl’s origin story as Kara Zor-El, then her suit would represent modern Kryptonian fashion. Considering that “Man of Steel” mostly showed us elder council members and Zod’s insurgency, it would also be interesting to see what younger Kryptonians typically wore. On the other hand, it’s possible that Muschietti will present Calle’s Supergirl as an elseworlds version of Cavill’s Superman.

“The Flash” is currently scheduled for release in November 2022, so we have a long way to go before some of these questions are answered. For now, it’s exciting to know that the Krypton of “Man of Steel” will continue to have a presence in the DCEU’s future. Calle’s Supergirl may be separated from Cavill’s Superman by Barry Allen’s multiverse shenanigans, but their Kryptonian roots will help audiences to feel that they came from different versions of the same home world.

About the author

Dave Sorkin was introduced to George Reeves’s Superman at two years old, so the character is pretty entrained in his upbringing. Sorkin doesn’t have any official connection to the Kryptonian language, other than some brief back-and-forths with Dr. Schreyer about a phrase that he ended up getting tattooed (“Where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”) and a few tangential questions stemming from that. Sorkin thinks that one of the things that makes Superman such a timeless character is his dual citizenship between Krypton and Earth.

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for writing and covering this! Like holy smokes this is just pure nerd energy and you did a amazing job. I mean of course I want Cavill back as Kal-El but to see Muschietti actually showing attention to care and display proper world-building is fantastic. Needless to say the inclusion of Supergirl will be a interesting dynamic and only time will tell! Other than that keep up the good work!

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