Although he looks like us, sounds like us, and acts like us, it's worth remembering that Superman is not from around here. He's an alien from a planet called Krypton -- a world with its own culture, customs, and even language. For years, most depictions of the Kryptonian people have shown them speaking English (likely for the sake of simplicity), but it sounds like we almost got to see Russell Crowe's Jor-El speak pure, unadulterated Kryptonian in Man of Steel back in 2013. Linguist Dr. Christine Schreyer, creator of the film's take on Kryptonian, explained:
They did film a few pieces because people got really excited about it, but it was in the middle of production and they were thrown in and they didn't really flow with everything else, so they got cut out.
The sequence referred to by Dr. Christine Schreyer during her appearance on the SuperHouse Podcast takes place towards the middle of the film when Clark Kent discovers the downed Kryptonian ship and speaks to the digital projection of Jor-El. In the unused version of the sequence, Jor-El spoke Kryptonian to his son, rather than the standard English seen in the final cut of the movie. As Clark's first ever introduction to the culture of his people, it seems reasonably likely that the use of the language would've been an incredibly emotional moment for him.
Check out the final version of the scene in question below.
Although Kryptonian didn't get used in the final cut of the film, the language still played an ample role in Man of Steel's story -- even if the film didn't actually feature the spoken version of the language. Kryptonian writing and symbols play an integral role in the film's visual aesthetic (particularly the seal for the House of El), and Dr. Christine Schreyer is one of the people responsible for making that into a reality. It would've been undeniably cool to see Jor-El speak his native tongue on the big screen, but the scene definitely works efficiently the way it is.
We should also note that it might not be too late to hear Russell Crowe speak Kryptonian in a DC film at some point. Although Jor-El physically dies at the beginning of Man of Steel, and General Zod destroys the digital manifestation of his consciousness, Russell Crowe has championed a Krypton prequel film at various points since 2013. There's currently no indication that DC intends to go down that road (particularly when we consider how crowded the DC slate has become), but the sheer number of left turns that the DCEU has taken over the years means that anything is possible.
With Superman expected to make his return to the silver screen DC universe when Justice League premieres on November 17, 2017, we will just have to wait and see if Kryptonian makes its way into the DCEU. Until then, take a look at our 2017 movie premiere guide for more up-to-date information on everything debuting this year!