Umbrella Academy: everything you need to know about Netflix’s new series

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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It stars Ellen Page and Mary J Blige and we’re already excited.

Are you tired of staid, serious superhero movies?

Then Netflix’s new television series might be for you. The Umbrella Academy tells the story of a group of ragtag misfits with superpowers, but not as you know it. Each of the outcasts was born on the same day 30 years ago – to mothers who were mysteriously not pregnant until that morning. When their special powers became evident, they were adopted by an enigmatic businessman named Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a man intent on crafting his own school for superheroes. 

But now Hargreeves is dead and the kids are all grown up, facing their biggest threat yet: an evil mastermind who wants to bring about the end of the world as we know it. (What else?) 

Here’s everything you need to know about Netflix’s new show:

It looks like it will be very funny

Judging by the first trailer, which was released 25 January, The Umbrella Academy has the same comic tone of Kick-Ass or the Kingsman series. A wry sensibility and a punchy sense of humour run through the trailer, which features the heroes gathering together to fight evil unknown.

You can tell that this isn’t your average superhero movie when you consider the powers held by the Hargreeves siblings. There’s a human with the body of a gorilla, a woman who can change reality by lying, a man who can hold his breath indefinitely, a man trapped in the body of a child and a magician whose power only flows when he’s barefoot. 

How is this hodgepodge of talent going to save the world? You’ll have to watch to find out. 

The cast is epic

The six Hargreeves siblings with superpowers are played by Ellen Page, Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones’ dearly departed Dickon Tarly), Emmy Raver-Lampan, David Castaneda, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher.

Of the six siblings, only Page’s character Vanya doesn’t have a superpower, and is instead blessed with a love and affinity for music. Will this translate into an important role over the series? Only time will tell. 

Meet the super siblings

“When I was talking to [showrunner] Steve Blackman about the role and he was laying out a bit of what was gonna happen and what his vision was, I just felt so excited to have the opportunity,” Page told Collider. “It’s a wonderful, really talented group of people and great actors. I just feel really lucky to be a part of it.” 

But we haven’t even gotten to the best bit about the series: Mary J Blige also stars as the bad guy intent on destroying the world, whose evil plans are thwarted by the Umbrella Academy at every turn. Mary J Blige as a criminal mastermind in a three-piece suit? Sign us up. 

The subject material has a great backstory

Like most great superhero stories, The Umbrella Academy started life as a graphic novel. In this case, the source material was written and illustrated by Gabriel Bá and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way. Yes, the lead singer and co-founder of My Chemical Romance wrote a graphic novel and this is it. 

Way is still working on future graphic novels, and hopes that the series will run to eight titles, which means that the ending of The Umbrella Academy story is unknown. So, like George R R Martin before him, Way has told Netflix how he plans to conclude The Umbrella Academy, so that the series can follow the same narrative arc.

“What I did for Steve Blackman [the showrunner] and the writers in that first writers room was to create an 18 page document that laid everything out,” Way told Collider

“Even of the graphic novels that haven’t come out yet… So I gave them the blueprint for what happens, because you do want to seed certain things in there for future series, and the hope is that it’s a success so that you do a lot more of these. They’re very curious what Gabriel and I are doing next. We always send them the new comics. They really want to know what’s happening.” 

When can I watch it?

The entire series will stream on Netflix from 15 February. 

Images: Netflix


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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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