Page-to-screen adaptations are always tricky, but Steve Blackman’s 2019 The Umbrella Academy made the transition look easy. Featuring a diverse cast and a mash-up of ideas from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s Apocalypse Suite and Dallas comics, the show established itself as a fun and unique take on the source material. Changes large and small in season one mean we find the siblings in a very different place at the start of season two compared to the comics. Vanya is unharmed, the world is destroyed, and Five is responsible for teleporting them all to different points in 1960s Dallas.
We visited the Umbrella Academy set to talk to the cast and crew about what other changes to expect in the show’s sophomore season. They discussed different character arcs, sub-powers, and why the onscreen costumes are different from what you see in the comics.
Luther’s physical appearance
In both iterations, Luther is pretty bad at coping with… well, everything. In Dallas though, he becomes morbidly obese in the wake of Vanya’s destruction. According to Luther’s actor Tom Hopper, that won’t be the case in The Umbrella Academy season two. While he noted that “there’s certainly a nod” to Luther’s overeating, they purposely avoided using a full-on fat suit because Marvel already did that recently with Thor in Avengers: Endgame.
Why The Umbrella Academy uniforms are different
The aesthetics of print and visual mediums are very different, and according to costume designer Chris Hargadon, the iconic black and white The Umbrella Academy uniforms in the comics just didn’t translate well on screen. Hargadon explained that they did originally make the outfits monochrome, but they were “very graphic and very strong” and weren’t “blending” into the scenes but “dominating” them. That’s how they eventually settled on the blue, gray, and burgundy uniform that you see Five always sporting, and which you’ll see the other siblings wearing in some season two flashbacks.
How Ben’s character was refined
One of the biggest changes on the show is the fact that Justin H. Min’s Ben even has a presence, as there’s almost nothing about Ben in the comics. “We were given creative license [by Way and Bá] to make Ben a full-fledged character,” Min said. They discussed in-depth what kind of character Ben would have to be so that the family fractured in the wake of his death, and they decided Ben was someone who must’ve “displayed a sense of compassion and kindness.” Min hinted that these traits come into play a lot in season two, particularly as Klaus and Ben continue to explore the limits of Klaus’ ghostly projection powers.
Compared to the comics, The Umbrella Academy puts a spin on some of the siblings’ powers. In season one, many of them were still figuring out how to even use them, but this changes in season two. Five’s actor Aidan Gallagher hinted that we’ll see “the extent” of each of their powers and “how different elements of each characters’ powers actually [works].”
According to Diego’s actor David Castañeda, the one thing you’re unlikely to ever witness is Diego’s comic book power, which is the ability to indefinitely hold his breath underwater. “What the hell am I gonna use that for?” he joked. “I think it’s pretty useful, but you’ve got Jason Momoa [in Aquaman] doing it a hundred times better.”
Klaus starts a cult
Klaus spends much of Dallas being tortured by Hazel and Cha Cha, but that already played out in season one of the show. As a result, Klaus’ actor Robert Sheehan and Blackman discussed how they could “keep [Klaus] changing” since he’s, as Sheehan said, a “kind of amorphous creature.” Blackman noticed how funny it was that Klaus was always ignored by his siblings, so in season two Klaus starts a “very Jesus-y kind of cult”—by accident, of course–where “people are listening to him way too much.”
Vanya and Allison’s relationship
After Vanya cuts Allison’s throat in the comics, Allison holds a pretty big grudge about it all throughout Dallas. It’s very different in the show though, according to Allison’s actor Emmy Raver-Lampman. She explained that it would be “unfair” for Allison to acknowledge that she suppressed Vanya’s powers and then get upset when Vanya hurts her with them (however intentional it may have been). “I don’t think [Allison has] even a flicker of anger about it,” she said.
This is ultimately a good thing, Raver-Lampman explained, since there’s also ready so many “women not liking other women” storylines that focus on the only two women on the team feuding with each other.
In Dallas, Vanya suffers from amnesia after Five shoots her in the head; in the show, Vanya has a similar experience, but the cause is very different, according to Vanya’s actor Ellen Page. “When Vanya arrives she actually gets hit by a car by a woman and smashes her head on the cement,” Page explained. “So Vanya does not remember what has happened at all.”
Hargreeves’ true nature
In the Apocalypse Suite comics, it only takes five pages for Way to reveal that Hargreeves is actually an alien. In the show though, his true origin isn’t revealed until the season one finale, and it’s just a brief flashback at a younger Hargreeves leaving his dying wife and planet.
Hargreeves is alive and well in the 1960s though, and costume designer Hargadon wanted to find ways to hint at his otherworldly origin. He wears “these like insane lizard shoes,” Hargadon explained, and is always the most vibrantly dressed in the room. “I’ve always wanted to have little undercurrents of something strange about the guy.”
The Umbrella Academy season two premieres on July 31, 2020.
Featured Image: Netflix