The Umbrella Academy (TV series)

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The Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy logo.jpg
Genre
Created bySteve Blackman
Based on
Developed byJeremy Slater
Starring
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes30 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Kevin Lafferty
  • Sneha Koorse
  • Jamie Neese
  • Jason Neese
  • Ted Miller
  • Steve Wakefield
  • D.J. Carson
Production locations
Cinematography
Editors
  • Jon Dudkowski
  • Timothy A. Good
  • Amy Duddleston
  • Wendy Tzeng
  • Todd Desrosiers
  • Brian Beal
  • Amanda Panella
  • Franklin Peterson
  • Amy Bostrom
  • Miklos Wright
Running time40–60 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Television Distribution
Netflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format4K UHDTV 2160p
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15) –
present (present)

The Umbrella Academy is an American superhero streaming television series based on the comic book series of the same name written by Gerard Way, illustrated by Gabriel Bá, and published by Dark Horse Comics. Created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater, it revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father's death and the threat of an imminent apocalypse. The series is produced by Borderline Entertainment (season 1–2), Irish Cowboy (season 3), Dark Horse Entertainment, and Universal Cable Productions.

The cast features Elliot Page,[b] Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, Mary J. Blige, John Magaro, Adam Godley, Colm Feore, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya, Yusuf Gatewood, Marin Ireland, Kate Walsh, Genesis Rodriguez, and Britne Oldford. The adaptation began development as a film optioned by Universal Pictures in 2011. It was eventually shelved in favor of a television series in 2015, before being officially greenlit by Netflix in July 2017. The series is filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.

The first season was released on Netflix on February 15, 2019. In April 2019, Netflix reported that 45 million households had watched season one during its first month of release, thus becoming one of the most streamed series of the year. That same month following the success of the first season, the series was renewed for a second season, which was released on July 31, 2020.[3][4] Both seasons received positive reviews from critics. In November 2020, the series was renewed for a third season which was released on June 22, 2022.[5][6]

The series has received a number of accolades, including six Emmy nominations.

Premise[edit]

The Umbrella Academy is set in a universe where 43 women around the world give birth simultaneously at noon on October 1, 1989, despite none of them showing any sign of pregnancy until labor began. Seven of the children are adopted by eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves and turned into a superhero team that he calls "The Umbrella Academy." Hargreeves gives the children numbers rather than names, until all but one are eventually named by their robot-mother, Grace, as Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Ben, and Vanya.[7] While putting six of his children to work fighting crime, Reginald keeps Vanya apart from her siblings' activities, as she supposedly demonstrates no powers of her own.

The first season is set in the present day, where Luther is part ape and has lived on the Moon for four years, Allison is a famous actress, Vanya is a violinist, Klaus has a drug addiction, Five disappeared sixteen years earlier, Ben, now deceased, is a ghost able to converse only with Klaus, and Diego has become a vigilante with a penchant for trouble. The estranged siblings learn that Reginald has died and gather for his funeral. Five returns from the future, revealing that a global apocalypse is imminent, but is chased by time-travelling operatives Hazel and Cha-Cha. Meanwhile, the reunited siblings try to uncover the secrets behind Reginald Hargreeves' life, as their dysfunctional relationships are strained further.[8]

The second season sees the siblings scattered in Dallas throughout different times in the early 1960s (as a result of the events of the first season), establishing lives for themselves. Five arrives there on November 25, 1963, minutes before a nuclear doomsday that is linked to JFK not being assassinated, but with the help of Hazel manages to travel back ten days. While being hunted by a trio of Swedish assassins, Five finds his siblings, who have each made new lives, and attempts to reunite them in order to stop this new apocalypse.[9]

The third season follows the siblings realizing that, due their actions in the past, they created a new timeline where they were replaced by another Hargreeves superhero group adopted by Reginald, dubbed "The Sparrow Academy". In addition, they also have to find a way to stop a kugelblitz from consuming and destroying the universe.[6]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Elliot Page[b] as Viktor Hargreeves / The White Violin / Umbrella Number Seven, a meek violinist who is somewhat alienated from his siblings as he has no apparent supernatural abilities, and later wrote a damning tell-all book about his childhood. In reality, he can convert sound waves into physical force, an ability his father suppressed with drugs as he considered it too powerful to control. The character is known as Vanya and referred to as female until he comes out as a transgender man in the third season, now going by Viktor, corresponding with Page's own transition.[10][11] T.J. McGibbon and Alyssa Gervasi portray the character as a teenager and a 4-year-old, respectively.
  • Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves / Spaceboy / Umbrella Number One, an astronaut with super strength. He lived on the Moon for four years as a mission from his father. He was the only one of his siblings who did not leave the team and during a mission he was severely injured. To save his life, Reginald injected him with a serum that turned his upper body into that of a non-human ape.[12] Cameron Brodeur portrays a younger Luther.
  • David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves / The Kraken / Umbrella Number Two, a rebellious troublemaker with the mild telekinetic ability to curve the trajectory of anything, including knives and bullets.[13] His jealousy of Luther for his father's affections led to him becoming a vigilante after leaving the Umbrella Academy. Blake Talabis portrays a younger Diego.
  • Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves / The Rumor / Umbrella Number Three, a celebrity with the ability to control minds and bend reality with the phrase "I heard a rumor...".[12][14] Eden Cupid and Jordana Blake portray Allison as a teenager and a 4-year-old, respectively.
  • Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / The Séance / Umbrella Number Four, a flamboyant drug and alcohol addict with the ability to communicate with the dead and temporarily make them corporeal.[12] Dante Albidone portrays a younger Klaus.
  • Aidan Gallagher as Five Hargreeves / The Boy / Umbrella Number Five, a boy with the ability to jump through space and time. After traveling to the future he ended up in a post-apocalyptic world, unable to get back. He survived on his own for decades before being recruited into The Commission, a secretive agency that keeps tabs on the established timeline of the world, finding and eliminating those who would threaten it. He eventually betrayed them in order to get back to his time to warn his family of the impending apocalypse.[12] Returning to his time causes his then 58-year-old body to revert to his thirteen-year-old body. Jim Watson plays an adult Five and Sean Sullivan portrays an elderly Five.
  • Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha (season 1),[15] a Commission agent partnered with the character Hazel, she is "[a]ll-business" and the more sociopathic and ruthless of the two assassins.[16][17]
  • Cameron Britton as Hazel (season 1; guest season 2), Cha-Cha's partner, a fellow assassin disillusioned with his life as an agent, who plans to leave the Commission after falling for doughnut store-owner, Agnes.[18] In season 2, an elderly Hazel appears to Five in 1963.
  • John Magaro as Leonard Peabody / Harold Jenkins (season 1), Vanya’s love interest. As a child, he was an admirer of the Umbrella Academy and begged to join, since he was born on the same day as the result of a normal pregnancy, but was humiliated by Reginald. He later discovers Reginald's diary, detailing Vanya’s potential, and inserts himself into her life with the goal of manipulating her into discovering and using her powers. After Vanya discovers Harold's ruse, he is impaled by telekinetically moved household objects.[19] Jesse Noah Gruman portrays a younger Harold.
  • Adam Godley as Phinneus Pogo, Reginald's closest assistant, and an intelligent chimpanzee. Godley provides the voice and facial performance capture, while Ken Hall serves as body-double for the motion capture to play the character on set.[18][20][21] In season 2, a younger version of Pogo appears in 1963, who is treated like a son by Reginald and Grace.
    • Godley also portrays Pogo in the alternative timeline, where he is a tattoo artist after he left the Sparrow Academy in 2014 for feeling disillusioned.
  • Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves / The Monocle, the Umbrella Academy's adoptive father and a billionaire industrialist who died in 2019, leading to the reunion of his children.[18] In the alternate timeline, he is revealed to still be alive, having founded the Sparrow Academy.
  • Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves / The Horror / Umbrella Number Six (season 2;[22] recurring season 1), who can summon tentacled horrors from his body. Ben is deceased, but appears regularly to Klaus and helps him occasionally. Ethan Hwang portrays a younger Ben.
    • Min also portrays Ben Hargreeves / Sparrow Number Two (season 2–present), an alternate version of Ben who, like his Umbrella counterpart, was adopted by Reginald alongside five other children. However, this Ben, who is still alive in 2019, is a member of the Sparrow Academy, with no memory of what the Umbrella Academy is.[23]
  • Ritu Arya as Lila Pitts (season 2–present),[24] Diego's love interest, the mother of his child, and The Handler's adopted daughter who is revealed to be one of the super-powered children born on the same day. Her powers allow her to mirror someone else's. Raya Korah and Anjana Vernuganan portray Lila as a teenager and a 4-year-old, respectively.
  • Yusuf Gatewood as Raymond Chestnut (season 2; recurring season 3),[24] Allison's second husband and a civil rights activist in 1963.
  • Marin Ireland as Sissy Cooper (season 2; guest season 3),[24] Viktor’s friend and love interest. She is also Carl's wife and Harlan's mother.
  • Kate Walsh as The Handler (season 2; recurring season 1; special guest season 3), the head of the Commission and Five's former boss.[25] The Handler is also Lila's adopted mother, as she used the Commission to kill her parents and claim Lila for herself. Walsh makes a speaking-only cameo in season 3 episode 7.
  • Genesis Rodriguez as Sloane Hargreeves / Sparrow Number Five (season 3), a member of the Sparrow Academy with the ability to manipulate gravity and Luther’s love interest.[23]
  • Britne Oldford as Fei Hargreeves / Sparrow Number Three (season 3), a member of the Sparrow Academy with the ability to control crows. She is blind and uses the crows as her eyes to spy on others.[23]

Recurring[edit]

  • Sheila McCarthy as Agnes Rofa (season 1), Hazel's nascent love interest, the waitress and baker at (and owner of) Griddy's Doughnuts. Agnes died from cancer sometime before the events of season 2.
  • Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace Hargreeves / Mom, a robot built by Reginald who acted as the Umbrella Academy's adoptive mother. She was built after Vanya used her power to attack several nannies. A human version of Grace was Reginald's girlfriend in 1963.[26]
  • Ashley Madekwe as Detective Eudora Patch (season 1), Diego's former romantic partner.
  • Peter Outerbridge as The Conductor (season 1)
  • Rainbow Sun Francks as Detective Chuck Beaman (season 1)
  • Matt Biedel as Sgt. Dale Chedder (season 1)
  • Cody Ray Thompson (season 1) as Dave Katz, Klaus' lover during the Vietnam War.
    • Calem MacDonald (season 2) as Young Dave.
  • Patrice Goodman as Dot (season 2; guest seasons 1 and 3), a case manager for the Commission.
  • Ken Hall as Herb (season 2; guest seasons 1 and 3), an analytics specialist for the Commission.
  • Kevin Rankin as Elliott (season 2), a conspiracy theorist who encounters the Hargreeves in the 1960s.
  • Kris Holden-Ried as Axel (season 2), the leader of a trio of Swedish triplet assassins working for the Commission.
  • John Kapelos as Jack Ruby (season 2), a famous gangster in Dallas who Luther works for.
  • Stephen Bogaert as Carl Cooper (season 2), Sissy’s husband and Harlan’s father.
  • Raven Dauda as Odessa (season 2), owner of a Black beauty salon in South Dallas who takes in Allison.
  • Dewshane Williams as Miles (season 2), Raymond’s friend and fellow civil rights activist.
  • Jason Bryden as Otto (season 2), one of the triplet assassins.
  • Tom Sinclair as Oscar (season 2), one of the triplet assassins.
  • Justin Paul Kelly (season 2; guest season 3) and Callum Keith Rennie (season 3) as Harlan Cooper / Lester Pocket, Sissy and Carl’s son with nonverbal autism who develops a friendship with Viktor. After Viktor saves him from drowning, Harlan retains a fragment of his telekinetic abilities. Rennie portrays the present-day version of the character. [18]
  • Dov Tiefenbach as Keechie (season 2), a devoted member of Klaus' cult.
  • Robin Atkin Downes as A.J. Carmichael (season 2), a talking goldfish who is the leader of the Commission board.
  • Mouna Traoré as Jill (season 2), a member of Klaus' cult whom Ben is in love with.
  • Jake Epstein as Alphonso Hargreeves / Sparrow Number Four (season 3), a member of the Sparrow Academy with the ability to reflect any physical harm back to his opponents.
  • Cazzie David as Jayme Hargreeves / Sparrow Number Six (season 3), a member of the Sparrow Academy with the ability to spit hallucinogenic venom.
  • Javon "Wanna" Walton as Stanley "Stan" (season 3), a twelve-year-old boy posing as Diego and Lila’s son at Lila’s request.
  • Julian Richings as Chet Rodo (season 3), manager of the Hotel Obsidian.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
110February 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
210July 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
310June 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
11"We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals"Peter HoarJeremy SlaterFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
22"Run Boy Run"Andrew BernsteinSteve BlackmanFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
33"Extra Ordinary"Andrew BernsteinBen Nedivi & Matt WolpertFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
44"Man on the Moon"Ellen KurasLauren Schmidt HissrichFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
55"Number Five"Ellen KurasBob DeLaurentisFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
66"The Day That Wasn't"Stephen SurjikSneha KoorseFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
77"The Day That Was"Stephen SurjikBen Nedivi & Matt WolpertFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
88"I Heard a Rumor"Jeremy WebbLauren Schmidt Hissrich & Sneha KoorseFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
99"Changes"Jeremy WebbBob DeLaurentis & Eric W. PhillipsFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)
1010"The White Violin"Peter HoarSteve BlackmanFebruary 15, 2019 (2019-02-15)

Season 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
111"Right Back Where We Started"Sylvain WhiteSteve BlackmanJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
122"The Frankel Footage"Stephen SurjikMark GoffmanJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
133"The Swedish Job"Stephen SurjikJesse McKeownJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
144"The Majestic 12"Tom VericaBronwyn GarrityJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
155"Valhalla"Tom VericaRobert AskinsJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
166"A Light Supper"Ellen KurasAeryn Michelle WilliamsJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
177"Öga for Öga"Ellen KurasNikki SchiefelbeinJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
188"The Seven Stages"Amanda MarsalisMark Goffman & Jesse McKeownJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
199"743"Amanda MarsalisBronwyn Garrity & Robert AskinsJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)
2010"The End of Something"Jeremy WebbSteve BlackmanJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)

Season 3 (2022)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
211"Meet the Family"Jeremy WebbSteve Blackman & Michelle LovrettaJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
Following their adventure in Dallas, the Umbrella siblings find themselves in an altered timeline. It is revealed that after their encounter in 1963, Sir Reginald chose not to adopt them but 6 other children instead, building them into a competent and popular superhero team dubbed "The Sparrow Academy". The two sets of siblings fight, and the Umbrella siblings are overpowered until Vanya unleashes a burst of energy to defeat the Sparrows. The Umbrella siblings flee to the safe house of Hotel Obsidian and plan their next move, but inadvertently leave the time travel briefcase at the Academy. Vanya goes to make a deal with the Sparrow Number One, Marcus, who agrees to hand back the briefcase in exchange for the Umbrella Academy siblings leaving with no more trouble. This meeting is observed by Ben and the Sparrow Number Three, Fei. Diego discovers he and Lila have a young son, Stan; Lila leaves the boy with him and steals the briefcase. Elsewhere, an older man named Lester Pocket packs his suitcase and sets out for an unknown destination. When Marcus goes to get the briefcase, he discovers the Kugelblitz, a time anomaly caused by the crossing timelines, and is evaporated. After witnessing this act of power, Grace, who now works as the Sparrows’ maid, begins worshipping the Kugelblitz as her god.
222"World's Biggest Ball of Twine"Cheryl DunyeJesse McKeownJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
The Umbrella siblings separate; Luther is kidnapped by the Sparrow siblings and held captive, as they believe the Umbrella siblings have Marcus. While captive, Luther learns more about the Sparrows and bonds with their Number Five, Sloane. Lila attempts to leave the city, but discovers that her briefcase no longer works. After learning of Sissy’s death in 1989, Vanya goes on a self-discovery journey, revealing to his siblings that he is transgender and changing his name to Viktor. His siblings accept him with open arms. Allison travels home to find that Claire does not exist in this new timeline, sending her spiraling with grief and rage. Five and Klaus go to find Klaus' birth mother and discover all their mothers died before they were ever born in this timeline, creating a grandfather paradox. Diego and Stan bond after they have a fight with the Sparrow Number Four, Alphonso, and Number Six, Jayme. Luther, after being released by the Sparrows, goes back in to meet with Sloane, where they have sex. On the roof, Lila mimics Fei’s powers to steal the Umbrella’s briefcase. Further shockwaves from the growing Kugelblitz cause more waves of objects, humans, and animals to disappear.
233"Pocket Full of Lightning"Cheryl DunyeRobert AskinsJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
Five explains the grandfather paradox and a lovesick Luther rejoins the Umbrella siblings. Five and Lila reluctantly team up to solve the time paradox, realizing neither of their briefcases work, which should be impossible. Allison and Viktor negotiate with the Sparrows, where Allison falsely tells them they have Marcus and the Sparrows falsely tell them they have the briefcase. Allison's reckless behavior worries Viktor. Klaus confronts Reginald about their mothers, whom Reginald confirms he did not kill, and they end up bonding. Klaus also learns that the Sparrows keep Reginald constantly medicated in order to keep him docile and compliant, and teaches him how to hide the pills instead of swallowing them. The Sparrows discover the Kugelblitz in the basement. The Sparrow and Umbrella siblings confront each other at Hotel Obsidian. The Umbrella siblings are almost defeated when Lester arrives and unleashes a devastating burst of energy to save them, killing Alphonso and Jayme. Viktor recognizes their savior to be Harlan Cooper, Sissy’s son.
244"Kugelblitz"Sylvain WhiteAeryn Michelle WilliamsJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
Harlan and his mother lived a difficult life, constantly on the move due to his lack of control over the powers he gained from Viktor in 1963. When Sissy died, he had a particularly violent episode. In the present, he reconnects with Viktor. Allison tries to torture information about the briefcase's whereabouts out of Sloane, but Sloane does not know where it is. Frustrated, she and Diego engage in vigilantism against white supremacists to cope. Luther and Viktor hand Sloane back over to the Sparrows as a peace offering, but Ben changes the deal at the last minute and demands they hand over Harlan as well. In the ruins of the Commission, Five and Lila find its Founder - an elderly future version of Five with a missing arm and a cryptic tattoo - who warns Five not to save the world before dying. While playing in the Hotel, Klaus and Stan find a room with a white buffalo head on the mantle, similar to a painting Klaus saw in Reginald’s office. Stan accidentally fires a spear gun which kills Klaus. Harlan finds the files on the Umbrella Academy’s dead mothers and reveals to Viktor that when his mother died, his outburst of power inadvertently killed their mothers and caused the grandfather paradox.
255"Kindest Cut"Sylvain WhiteElizabeth PaddenJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
Klaus awakens in the afterlife, where the Person on the Bike reveals that he has died over 50 times previously, but always returned to life because he is immortal. He also reconnects with his dead mother, who tells him not to mourn her and to seek a sense of purpose from somewhere else. Five and Lila return, destroying the briefcase, and reveal that the grandfather paradox has created a Kugelblitz that will randomly collapse all of existence. Diego finds out Stan accidentally killed Klaus and comforts him, but as they are moving his body, Klaus returns to life. Lila and Diego restart their relationship. Desperate to escape her trauma and pain, Allison uses her powers to force herself on Luther before stopping. Horrified, Luther flees to find Sloane. The rest of the family agree to hand Harlan over to the Sparrows so they can all focus on the Kugelblitz. Viktor, feeling guilty about the trauma his powers have caused Harlan, enlists Allison to sneak him out of the Hotel. Klaus recognizes Five's future tattoo as belonging to a biker gang called the Mothers of Agony who used to sell him drugs. Five goes to the gang's club and finds a grizzled Pogo.
266"Marigold"Jeff F. KingLauren OteroJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
In 2014, Pogo is fired after a disagreement with Reginald over the Sparrows' training. Before leaving, he gives the Sparrows a box with pills to help keep Reginald in line. In the present, Lila and Diego find a secret tunnel in the white buffalo room which leads to an abandoned alternate version of the Hotel Obsidian, called Hotel Oblivion. Ben offers to let Luther join the Sparrows. Pogo tells Five that the symbols in the tattoo connect to something Reginald was obsessed with called Project Oblivion. Lila admits to Diego that Stan is actually not their son, but rather is the child of her friend, Trudy, and she is just babysitting him for the week. Harlan and Viktor find a way for Viktor to take back his powers from Harlan. Klaus tries to form a bond with his father and asks why the Reginald in the original timeline killed him over and over again. To figure it out, Reginald decides to experiment by electrocuting Klaus to death. Lila and Diego are attacked by a Guardian in the alternate hotel, who cuts off two of Diego’s fingers. They escape through the tunnel in time to see Stan consumed by the Kugelblitz. While Viktor is recovering, Harlan lets slip that he killed the Umbrella's mothers. In retaliation, Allison kills him and delivers his body to the Sparrows.
277"Auf Wiedersehen"Kate WoodsMichelle LovrettaJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
After the death of The Handler, Lila traveled to West Berlin in 1989, where she retrieved a hidden briefcase, planted by the Handler. She then joined Trudy’s punk rock band and recruited Trudy’s son, Stan, in her plan to trick Diego. In the present, Allison is remorseless about murdering Harlan and antagonizes Viktor over it, blaming him for her losses. Lila, Sloane, Christopher, and Viktor combine their powers to trap the Kugelblitz in Christopher. Five is forced to kill Grace after she attacks them with a flamethrower. Reginald repeatedly kills Klaus to increase the speed of his reanimation and then takes Klaus to confront his fears in a graveyard, where Klaus manages to successfully exorcise the ghosts. At the Academy, the group celebrates saving the world and Luther proposes to Sloane, who accepts. Lila reveals to Diego that she is pregnant with their true child; she pretended Stan was their son to test Diego's parenting abilities. Five assures a grieving Viktor that saving Harlan would not have fixed their past failures. Christopher suddenly explodes, killing Fei and reopening the Kugelblitz, which consumes the house; Five saves Ben as the group escapes.
288"Wedding at the End of the World"Paco CabezasJesse McKeown & Aeryn Michelle WilliamsJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
In 1918, Reginald Hargreeves begins construction of the Hotel Obsidian. During its grand opening he sends a number of soldiers down the secret tunnel, but they are all slaughtered. In the present, Reginald and Klaus arrive at the hotel, but none of the siblings are interested in what Reginald has to say. Luther and Sloane throw themselves a wedding, leaving Ben bitter about not being invited to Luther’s bachelor party. Sloane calls him out for his sullen attitude, telling him to stop relying on being in charge. Reginald makes attempts to be fatherly using Klaus' coaching at the wedding reception, and delivers a surprisingly moving speech. Viktor tries to patch things up with Allison but she refuses to forgive him. Klaus and a drunken Ben begin to bond. The group (minus Allison) sit drunkenly in the courtyard as the Kugelblitz consumes the city above them. Luther remarks that he finally has the family he has always dreamed of. Five drunkenly overhears Reginald making a deal with someone in the white buffalo room.
299"Seven Bells"Paco CabezasRobert AskinsJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
A hungover Five desperately tries to recall who he saw making a deal with Reginald the previous night. A meeting is called by Reginald who explains he built the Hotel Obsidian around a portal to the universe’s “reset button” which requires seven people passing through the secret tunnel and ringing seven bells which are protected by a Guardian. When the bells ring, the universe will be rebuilt. Allison, Lila, Klaus, and Ben agree to the plan, but Diego, Viktor, Luther, Sloane, and Five outvote them and choose to stay. Allison apologizes to Luther and Viktor, but Luther believes she is manipulating him. Reginald murders Luther and blames it on the Guardian in order to motivate the group. Five then remembers Allison was the one whom Reginald made the deal with. As the Kugelblitz consumes the Hotel, the group flees through the secret tunnel. Klaus goes to follow, but Reginald pushes him back, thanking him for his help but telling him he is too much of a liability. Klaus throws himself onto the horn of the white buffalo and dies.
3010"Oblivion"Jeff F. KingSteve Blackman & Robert AskinsJune 22, 2022 (2022-06-22)
Reginald, Five, Allison, Viktor, Diego, Lila, Sloane, and Ben arrive in the Hotel Oblivion, where Five tells Viktor what Allison did. In the afterlife, Luther convinces a reluctant Klaus to return to the living world. The group split up to search the hotel. Reginald summons the three Guardians to attack them, and the group manages to kill two Guardians. Allison admits to Viktor that she made a deal with Reginald, but had no part in their brothers' deaths. Klaus returns and exposes Reginald's treachery. Five spots the symbol for the seven bells on the lobby floor, but the last Guardian severs Five’s arm. Viktor, Diego, Lila, Sloane, Klaus, Ben, and Five activate the symbol, which kills the Guardian and begins draining their powers to charge the reset button. Realizing the process is killing them, Allison kills Reginald and hits the reset button. In the rebuilt universe, Allison is reunited with Claire and Ray. The other survivors realize the Hotel Obsidian is gone, Luther is alive and no longer an ape-man, and Five's arm and Diego's fingers have grown back. However, Sloane is missing and everyone has lost their powers. As the siblings begin to explore this new world, a restored Reginald observes the city alongside his wife Abigail, who is also alive again. In a mid-credits scene, Ben rides the same Seoul subway on which he was born.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

A film version of the comic book series The Umbrella Academy was optioned by Universal Studios. Originally, screenwriter Mark Bomback was hired to write the screenplay; Rawson Marshall Thurber reportedly replaced him in 2010.[27] There had been little talk of the film from that time. In an interview with Newsarama at the 2012 New York Comic Con, Way mentioned that there have been "good talks" and a "really good script", but that it was "kind of up to the universe".[citation needed]

On July 7, 2015, it was announced that The Umbrella Academy would be developed into a television series, rather than an original film, produced by Universal Cable Productions.[28] On July 11, 2017, it was officially announced that Netflix had greenlit a live-action series adaptation of The Umbrella Academy premiering in 2019, with Way and Bá acting as executive producers.[29][30] Jeremy Slater wrote the script for the pilot episode, and Steve Blackman serves as showrunner.[29] The first season of The Umbrella Academy was released on Netflix on February 15, 2019.[31][32][33]

Due to the success of the series, on April 2, 2019, the series was renewed for a second season, which was released on July 31, 2020.[34][35] It was also confirmed that the second season will consist of ten episodes, like the previous season.[36] The season release date remained unknown until May 18, 2020, when a teaser trailer concept was released where the main cast danced to "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany.[37] Steve Blackman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he wants to stay in the course of what the comics are doing without deviating too much.[15] On June 26 it was revealed that the series will be taking place at the 60s in Dallas, due to the time travel from the end of the previous season.[38]

On November 10, 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a third season which was released on June 22, 2022.[5][6]

Writing[edit]

In June 2022, it was revealed, according to series creator Steve Blackman, that the Season 3 scripts were complete when Elliot Page called him to share the news of his transition, with Blackman feeling it was “very important” that he and Page collaborated on how to incorporate Viktor’s transition into already-written scripts. This led to Thomas Page McBee, who previously worked with Page on 2019's Tales of the City, being brought onboard to ensure that the storyline where Viktor comes out as trans was handled with care and respect.[39][40]

Casting[edit]

On November 9, 2017, Netflix confirmed that Elliot Page[b] had joined the cast and that he would play Vanya Hargreeves, also known as the White Violin.[41] On November 30, 2017, it was revealed that Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher had joined the cast as the rest of the Hargreeves siblings.[42][43] On February 12, 2018, Netflix announced that Academy Award nominee Mary J. Blige would appear in the series as the sadistic time-travel assassin Cha-Cha. Colm Feore joined the cast as Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the adoptive father of the siblings, on February 16, 2018, alongside Cameron Britton, Adam Godley and Ashley Madekwe.[44][45] On February 28, 2018, it was announced that John Magaro has been cast as a series regular character.[46]

In January 2020, Justin H. Min and Kate Walsh were promoted to series regulars for the second season, following their recurring roles in the first season.[22][47][48] On September 10, 2019, Netflix announced that three additional actors — Ritu Arya, Marin Ireland and Yusuf Gatewood — would join the cast.[49][50] On October 17, 2019, John Kapelos announced that he would be joining the recurring cast as Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald.[51] On January 11, 2021, it was announced that Justin Cornwell, Britne Oldford, Genesis Rodriguez, Cazzie David, and Jake Epstein joined the cast as part of the Sparrow Academy for the third season.[52] In January 2022, Javon Walton revealed in an interview he joined the cast in an undisclosed role for the third season.[53]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the first season began on January 15, 2018, in Toronto. Gerard Way posted on his Instagram account an illustration by Fabio Moon of the cast and crew doing the first table read of the script in Toronto. He also revealed a picture of the first day on the set.[54] Additional filming took place in Hamilton, Ontario.[55]

For the theatre where Vanya performed with her violin, the crew used the Elgin Theatre, alongside the Winter Garden Theatre. Mazzoleni Concert Hall was used to represent the theatre's exterior. The exterior of the mansion was filmed at a building in Hamilton, while the interiors were filmed in studio. The Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre was filmed for an outside scene and LIUNA Station was used for a bank robbery scene. A laboratory at the University of Toronto was filmed to represent the Meritech Prosthetics building.[55][56][57] The filming concluded on July 18, 2018.[58]

Filming for the second season began on June 16, 2019. And like the previous season, it was filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, despite the series taking place in Dallas, Texas.[59][60] Exterior shots were taken in Dallas such as the Dealey Plaza.[61] Filming concluded on November 23, 2019.[62]

Filming for the third season began on February 7, 2021,[63][64] and concluded on August 28, 2021.[65][66]

Visual effects[edit]

Visual effects for the series are handled by SpinVFX,[67] Weta Digital,[68] Folks VFX,[69] Soho VFX, Pixomondo, Deluxe VFX, Digital Film Tree, BOT VFX, Studio 8, Exceptional Minds and MARZ[70]

VFX supervisor Everet Burrell confirmed that he used traditional art techniques for early concept art and referenced great actors with iconic faces.[71] Burrell called Weta Digital, who previously worked for the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, to develop the visual effects for the character of Pogo. Ken Hall provided the motion capture for Pogo using a gray suit to later make additions to his captures to create the CGI of the chimpanzee, with Adam Godley making the facial expressions and voice acting of the character.[72]

SpinVFX confirmed that they delivered at least 563 shots for the series. To make the effects of the show, the team required a series of complex effect simulations, creature development, and massive destructions.[73]

For the effects of Number Five jumping through time and space, Burrell wanted to make the effects look organic, and liquidy, representing how much time and the world bends around him when he jumps, and how quick it should be. For these effects, he used more than 30 frames in the first episodes, however with the progress of the series, this reduced to only 10 frames.[74] To that footage, the team iterated on several kinds of spatial jump effects, all the way from heavy distortion to subtler images. The visual effects team started with some R&D tests. At the end, the final effect, called the "jelly vision", was used to make the series, with Burrell expressing: "as if you're pushing your hand through a jelly membrane, just for a few seconds, and then it pops. It's really, really subtle, but you get a little bit of texture, you get a little bit of striations, almost like the universe is bending as he does his spatial jumps."[75]

In an interview with Burrell he confirmed that to develop the sequences where time is frozen, they took several background shots on location before returning to their stage to shoot the dialogue between Five and The Handler in front of a green screen. They called this effect "Three-Strip" in honor of the Technicolor process used in the 1930s.[76]

The second season used 400 shots from the Folks VFX Montreal team under the guidance of VFX supervisor Laurent Spillemaecker to create time portal effects seen throughout the season, particularly Five's special ability. Meanwhile, Spillemaecker's crew recreated events surrounding JFK's fateful Dallas visit, while including The Umbrella Academy's superpower interactions. Pictures and references from the 60s were provided to create and later to be used as digital matte paintings and CG environments, to transform Canada into the show's setting, 1960s Dallas.[77][78]

The opening scene of the second season, where the siblings fight the Soviets on a Dallas street, was the most complicated to do, being nearly completely CGI. It was realised on a 360 degree bluescreen backlot set which was 15 feet tall and 200 feet by 60 feet. The only real things that weren't made of CGI, were the tank, soldiers, cast and the rubble on the ground. The set was LiDAR scanned so that the director, Sylvian White could walk around using a VR edition of the iPad. They used a Phantom running at 700 frames per second on a camera stick. The scene was also divided in seven parts, beginning with Number Five's arrival at 1963, and concluding before Diego's first lines. For safety reasons the crew couldn't fire the AK-47s at Diego so they were forced to do multiple passes.[79][70]

Music[edit]

The show's score albums were released for season 1 & 2. Jeff Russo was hired to compose the show's score.[80] During an interview he revealed that the he "needed to use a subtle hand with the score" and that they "wanted the score to be thematic, by not trying to push too much on the weird and too much on the horrific aspect of the show and the story".[81]

Reception[edit]

Audience viewership[edit]

On April 16, 2019, Netflix announced that the series had been streamed by over 45 million viewers on its service within its first month of release, with people at least having watched 70% percent of one episode of the series.[82][83][84] It was the third most popular TV series on Netflix in 2019.[85] On September 3, 2020 Netflix revealed the show broke numerous records in viewerships, following the second season debut. During the second season first week, the show was the most watched television series show on Netflix, being atop of the Nielsen ratings and thus confirming that 3 billion minutes of the show's two seasons were viewed.[86][87][88] On October 21, 2020 Netflix published the Nielsen ratings and revealed that the show's second season was streamed by over 43 million viewers in its first 28 days. It made it the 6th most watched show of that year, falling behind shows like The Queen's Gambit and Ratched.[89][90][91]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical response of The Umbrella Academy
SeasonRotten TomatoesMetacritic
176% (92 reviews)[92]61 (22 reviews)[93]
291% (89 reviews)[94]67 (12 reviews)[95]
390% (39 reviews)[96]72 (9 reviews)[97]

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 76% of 92 critic reviews are positive for the first season, with an average rating of 7.2/10. Critics' consensus on the website reads, "The Umbrella Academy unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble, but the series' dour sensibility often clashes with its splashy genre trappings."[92] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 61 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[93]

For the second season, Rotten Tomatoes identified 91% of 89 reviews as positive, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The website's critics consensus states, "Proof that time can heal almost all wounds, The Umbrella Academy's exhilarating second season lightens its tonal load without losing its emotional core, giving the super siblings room to grow while doubling down on the time traveling fun."[94] The season garnered a weighted average score of 67 out of 100 from 12 critics on Metacritic, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[95]

For the third season, Rotten Tomatoes reported an 88% approval rating with an average rating of 7.4/10, based on 33 reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "The Umbrella Academy unfurls a bit beyond a manageable scope in this overstuffed season, but there remains all the gonzo creativity and resonant character relationships that fans enroll for."[96] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 72 out of 100 based on 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[97]

Accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Teen Choice Awards Choice Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Elliot Page[b] Nominated [98]
Saturn Awards Best Streaming Superhero Television Series The Umbrella Academy Nominated [99]
Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Presentation Elliot Page[b] Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More) Mark Worthington, Mark Steel & Jim Lambie (for "We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals") Nominated [100]
Outstanding Special Visual Effects Everett Burrell, Chris White, Jeff Campbell, Sebastien Bergeron, Sean Schur, Steve Dellerson, Libby Hazell, Carrie Richardson & Misato Shinohara (for "The White Violin") Nominated
People's Choice Awards The Bingeworthy Show of 2019 The Umbrella Academy Nominated [101]
The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2019 Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Musical Moment Nominated [102]
2020 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project Aidan Martin, Craig Young, Olivier Beierlein & Laurent Herveic (for "Pilot; Pogo") Nominated [103]
Casting Society of America Television Pilot & First Season – Drama Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein, April Webster, Robin D. Cook, Samantha Garrabrant, Josh Ropiequet & Jonathan Oliveira Nominated [104]
Art Directors Guild Awards One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Series Mark Worthington (for "We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals") Won [105]
People's Choice Awards The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show of 2020 The Umbrella Academy Nominated [106]
2021 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Superhero Series Nominated [107]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Music Supervision – Television Jen Malone Nominated [108]
GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Drama Series The Umbrella Academy Nominated [109]
Annie Awards Best Character Animation - Live Action Aidan Martin, Hunter Parks, Craig Young, Viki Yeo & Krystal Sae Eua Nominated [110]
Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Episodic Short Form – Dialogue/ADR John Benson & Jason Krane (for "The End of Something") Nominated [111]
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Episodic Short Form – Music Jen Malone & Lodge Worster (for "Valhalla") Nominated
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Performance in a Show Elliot Page Nominated [112]
Saturn Awards Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series The Umbrella Academy Nominated [113]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) Neville Kidd (for "Right Back Where We Started") Nominated [114]
Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes Christopher Hargadon, Heather Crepp, William Ng & Jane Fieber (for "The Frankel Footage") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour) John Benson, Jason Krane, John Snider, AJ Shapiro, Dario Biscaldi, Lodge Worster, Lindsay Pepper & Zane D. Bruce (for "The End of Something") Nominated
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Single Episode Everett Burrell, Phillip Hoffman, Jesse Kawzenuk, Christopher Stack, Sophie Vertigan, Jeff Campbell, Laurent Spillemaecker, R. Christopher White & Ryan Freer (for "743") Nominated

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known as Universal Cable Productions for the first Season.
  2. ^ a b c d e Initially credited as Ellen Page in the first and second seasons, Netflix updated the onscreen credits from Ellen to Elliot for those seasons within a week (by 8 December 2020) of Page announcing his name change. Also changed were Page's credits in other works in Netflix's exclusive library of streaming products,[1] including the films Tallulah (2016) and Flatliners (2017), and the miniseries Tales of the City (2019).[2]

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