How The Umbrella Academy season 2 finale syncs up with the comic
Warning: This article contains spoilers about season 2 of The Umbrella Academy.
What an ending, huh? After 10 episodes of time-travel adventures in ‘60s Texas, the season 2 finale of The Umbrella Academy ended with the surviving Hargreeves siblings — Luther (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castañeda), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), and Vanya (Ellen Page) — successfully making their way back to their own time. Only...it’s not quite the way they left it.
The apocalypse from the end of season 1 has successfully been prevented, but some changes have occurred along with it. Their adopted father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), is apparently alive again, and he’s not the only one either. Turning around, the siblings find themselves face-to-face with their brother Ben (Justin H. Min) — living, breathing, and looking a lot different than they remembered him. He’s surrounded by six shadowy figures, whom Hargreeves refers to as “the Sparrow Academy.”
Since this is a cliffhanger ending, it’s worth stating the obvious fact that we don’t know the full story yet. But interestingly, season 2 of The Umbrella Academy has ended in a very similar spot as The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion, the recently-completed third volume in the comic series by creators Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and Gabriel Bá (Daytripper). As you can see on the comic pages below, Hotel Oblivion ends with the comic version of the team meeting a fellow group of superheroes with matching uniforms emblazoned with sparrows instead of umbrellas.
“It was interesting because I had a similar idea I wanted to do early on in the season, and then Gerard said, ‘well, look, I'm going this direction with the graphic novel.’ It was perfect, everybody thought, ‘great, we want the same thing,’” showrunner Steve Blackman tells EW. “So Gerard sort of walked me through what he wanted to do with the characters they call the Sparrow Academy. I thought that was a great launching point. First of all, I thought it was a great cliffhanger, and I already have the big plan for season 3. If we're lucky enough to get a season 3, I know exactly what I want to do with his family and our family. So it sets up beautifully for another season."
About that planned third season (not yet confirmed by Netflix), Blackman teases, "it will have some elements of the graphic novel, and we'll go in a bit of a different direction like we do every year, but what's nice is Gerard's already working on the next volume, and he's kind enough to share with me where he's going and we really keep in good contact with each other.”
Below, you can see a photo of Way and Bá visiting the season 2 set.
The exact relationship between sparrows and umbrellas has yet to be explained, but in the meantime we can do some educated guessing. At the beginning of The Umbrella Academy, both the show and comic, we were told about 43 children with extraordinary powers being born at the same time to mothers who hadn’t previously been pregnant. Sir Reginald adopted seven of them, but the fates of the others were left mysterious. Since none of them showed up in the first two volumes, it was perhaps reasonable to assume they had died or otherwise become unviable in some way.
But the emergence of Lila (Ritu Arya) in season 2 is proof that the members of the Umbrella Academy weren’t the only members of those 43 children to grow up strong. Hotel Oblivion also confirms this, with members of the Sparrow Academy demonstrating their own superpowers: One woman can turn into a flock of birds, another member can shoot black energy beams of some kind, and a third has a voodoo doll-esque power where sticking themselves with needles can inflict psychic sympathy damage on opponents. In the comic, the leader of the Sparrow Academy has blond hair and superstrength, and even refers to himself as “Number One,” Luther’s old designation.
In the show, the Sparrow Academy is clearly led by Ben. But it’s not the version of Ben we recognize. One reason that Ben was able to help Vanya work through her trauma in the final episodes of season 2, spending the last of his ghost energy in the process, was that he had levels of "innocence, compassion, kindness, and empathy" unique among his family, according to Min. But the Sparrow Academy version of Ben is vulgar right from the get-go, asking Hargreeves, “who the hell are these a--holes?”
“I yelled when I read it,” Min told EW of the season 2 ending when we visited the set last fall. “It was incredibly exciting to read that, and I don't think anyone will expect it.”
Min teased us then that the season 2 ending would be “even more explosive” than the ending of season 1. Now we all know what he meant. Who's ready for season 3?