THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: Who Are the Sparrows? - Nerdist

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: Who Are the Sparrows?

It’s almost time for our favorite adopted family of superpowered children to return! No silly, not the X-Men—though Charles and his kids were a big inspiration—we’re talking about The Umbrella Academy. The third season of the Netflix series is creeping up on us. For fans of both the show and the comics, it’s highly-anticipated! Why? Well, not only will we be returning to the world of the Hargreeves but we’ll also be learning more about the mysterious Sparrow Academy. It’s something that’s been teased in the comics but never expanded on, so this is one of those magical moments where the comics and adaptations align to surprise and delight. As much as possible, we’ll share everything we know about the Umbrella Academy‘s Sparrows with you. If you need a refresher on season two’s finale, we’ll start with that so beware of spoilers!

What Happened at the End of Umbrella Academy Season Two?
An image from the finale of Umbrella Academy S2 shows the team looking in shock behind them as Reginald Hargreeves stands in front of them

After a predominantly ’60s-set second season, The Umbrella Academy ended back in the modern-day. It seemed like the plan had worked and the crew had averted the apocalypse. Alas, as they headed back to Hargreeves’ mansion they realized something was amiss. Not only was Reginald Hargreeves alive in this timeline’s version of 2019, but he called their old home Sparrow Academy and it was then that a series of shadowed figures appeared. It’s a shocking reveal that suggests our dysfunctional heroes either changed time or ended up in a different version of their reality. But to Umbrella Academy fans it also hinted at the arrival of a series of new characters that were teased in the 2018 return to the comic, “Hotel Oblivion.Umbrella Academy‘s Sparrows have arrived.

Who Are the Sparrows in the Umbrella Academy Comics?
A still from Hotel Oblivion #7 shows the Umbrella Academy facing down with the Sparrow Academy
Dark Horse / Gerard Way / Gabriel Bá

We first meet a Sparrow in the pages of issue five of Hotel Oblivion. The long-awaited third volume of the Umbrella Academy series came out in 2018, nine years after the end of volume two. As Mom and Vanya go on a tour of the latter’s childhood misadventures, they’re approached by a young woman in a red domino mask and jacket. It’s a very similar look to the Hargreeves children’s old uniform, but instead of an Umbrella logo on her collar, she wears a Sparrow. Her arrival allows Vanya to walk again, and they begin a journey across the world. In issue six of the Umbrella Academy comic we find the pair in Norway, where the Sparrow claims Vanya will find home and family. Eventually, they end up at a secret hideout where they find Mom, who introduces the woman as Clara.

Clara isn’t the only named member that we get as the final page sees the mysterious group head to help out the Umbrella Academy. On the final page, we see them arrive with Luther A.K.A. Number One, asking who they are. In return, the red-suited leader—who shares more than a passing resemblance to him—states, “I’m Number One.” It’s a shocking moment that hints at another group of superpowered heroes that echo the Umbrella Academy. While in the comics we didn’t learn the names of the rest of the Sparrow team, we do get a glimpse of them. There’s a tall blonde woman, a member of the team who wears blue and shoots a black power beam out of their face, a black-haired woman in dark sunglasses who can levitate, someone who can turn into a murder of crows, a disfigured character who can psychically inflict pain, and a green cube.

Will the Sparrows Be in the New Umbrella Academy Series?
header photo of the sparrow academy from the umbrella academy season three release date june 22

Yes! That’s why we’ve been diving deep into their comic book history. When Netflix announced the team’s arrival, the comic book fans were extremely excited. While co-creator Gerard Way had announced that “Sparrow Academy” would be the fourth volume of the Umbrella Academy series, readers had been left with an epic cliffhanger and no sign of the next volume. So it looks like Umbrella Academy season three will continue where Hotel Oblivion left off and bring us the Sparrows. This is actually pretty common for comic book adaptations. One of the most famous examples is Scott Pilgrim, where Bryan Lee O’Malley wrote and drew the final book alongside the making of the movie adaptation. It led to significant changes in the final ending of the movie inspired by O’Malley. It’s likely that whatever plans Way has for the next volume of the comic will be adapted for this season.

How Will the Sparrows Be Different? What Is Sparrow Academy?
A still from Umbrella Academy S2 finale shows the Sparrow Academy standing in Shadow in the Hargreeves mansion. Who are Umbrella Academy's Sparrows?

We can assume that in the Umbrella Academy comics, Sparrow Academy is likely the space we saw in Norway. Another thing that we know about the organization is that Mom is involved and has known about the team for a while. Something that changes immediately in the show is that in that world, the Sparrow Academy seems to be an alt-universe version of the Umbrella Academy. It’s run out of the Hargreeves’ mansion and not from Norway, at least from what we know so far. Another interesting diversion—though it’s more of an extension of the story—is the Sparrows themselves. In the comics, we never learned most of the Sparrows’ names, but the Netflix series is obviously taking that on and has already introduced the alt-team to us thanks to marketing. Interestingly, there’s no Clara. So perhaps her name has been changed or we’ll meet her later.

No. 1: Marcus
A poster for Umbrella Academy Season Three shows the top of a Black man's head above it it says No. 1 this is Marcus

This is the character we meet in the final pages of Hotel Oblivion #7. As number one, he’s the de facto leader of the crew. Marcus’ analog in the Umbrella Academy is Luther, who’ll likely be very unhappy with this competition from the Sparrows. Netflix calls him “a charming, chiseled, colossus. Honest, virtuous, and demanding, Marcus keeps the family together. Graceful but lethal, calculated but compassionate, he is as smart as he is strong. Marcus is disciplined, rational, and in control. He oozes confidence and leadership without ever having to raise his voice.”

No. 2: Ben
A poster for Umbrella Academy Season Three shows the top of an asian man's face he has a scar beneath his right eye and above him it says No. 2 this is Ben

In one of the most shocking reveals, Umbrella AcademyBen is also a member of the Sparrows. This is extremely unsettling as our Ben was revealed to have died in season two. But fans can rejoice as he’s back here at a much higher ranking too from #6 to #2. However, Netflix warns he might not be the Ben you’re expecting. “This is not the sweet Ben we know and love. This Ben is a Machiavellian tactician, wrapped up in a pretty boy body with a rumbling inner-squid. Vicious, pragmatic, and hyper-vigilant—Ben is determined to gain his status as the leader at all costs.”

No. 3: Fei
A poster shows the top of a lightskinned Black woman's head, she wears sunglasses over scarred eyes, this is Fei

The third member of the Sparrows is Fei. Her character poster shows her wearing sunglasses, so perhaps she could be the levitating hero we saw in the comics? “Fei sees the world in a special way. She comes across as a misanthrope who would rather be alone than spend even a second with you. But truth be told, Fei wishes she had a friend. Most of the time, Fei is the smartest person in the room and willing to work things out. But if you cross her there’s no looking back because Fei won’t stop until the job is done.”

No. 4: Alphonso
A poster for Umbrella Academy Season Three shows the top of a white man's face, it's disfigured on his left hand side. this is Alphonso

His character description hints that Alphonso might be the pain-inflicting member of the Sparrows we met in Hotel Oblivion. But, of course, we can’t be sure until the show drops later this year. “Years of crime-fighting have left his face and body with countless visual reminders of his battles. To compensate, Alphonso is armed with a caustic and biting sense of humor. The only thing he likes better than verbally battering anyone foolish enough to get in his face is a good pizza and a six-pack of beer.”

No. 5: Sloane
A poster shows the top of a lightskin Black woman's face called Sloane

It’s unclear what Sloane’s powers are or who she represents from the Umbrella Academy comics, but her Sparrow character description makes her sound like a chill soul. “A romantic and a dreamer who feels a higher cosmic calling, leaving her eager to see the world and experience a life beyond her upbringing. But obligations to her family keep Sloane tethered to the Academy, as does her fear of crossing the family line. But Sloane has plans… and one day she might just be brave enough to act on them.”

No. 6: Jayme
A poster for Umbrella Academy Season Three shows the words No. 6 and the top of white woman's head named Jayme

We have a theory that Jayme might be the equivalent of the black beam-shooting character from the comics. Her powers focus on a fear-inducing snarl, which could definitely be represented by that striking visual from the comics. “Jayme is a loner hidden under a hoodie. She doesn’t say much because she doesn’t have to. Jayme has a fear-inducing snarl. Catch a glimpse of it, and you’ll run across the street to avoid what follows. Smart and sharp as a knife, she spends most of her time hanging with Alphonso, her only friend.”

No. 7: Existential Dread Inducing Psykronium Cube / Christopher
A poster shows the words No. 7 and a picture of a grey cube named Christopher

The one other Sparrow character we definitely met in the Umbrella Academy comics aside from No. 1 is Christopher. And who doesn’t love an “Existential Dread Inducing Psykronium Cube”? If you want to know more, Netflix’s official description delivers. “Christopher is a telekinetic cube of unknown origin. He can turn the room freezing cold and induce paralyzing fear. He acts as the Sparrows’ consulted oracle who hands out incredible advice and serves as the family mediator. Trustworthy, loyal, and is treated by the Sparrows like any other sibling, Christopher is a force to be reckoned with.”

What Can We Expect From the Sparrows in Season Three of Umbrella Academy?
A collage image shows Four of the Sparrow academy posters each showing a head around a drawing from the Umbrella Academy comics of the Sparrows flying in the sky
Netflix / Dark Horse / Gabriel Ba

Lots of the show’s trademark family drama for one thing. The heart of Umbrella Academy is the dysfunctional collection of siblings at its core. And season two set up a whole new group of kids fighting for Hargreeves’ love and attention. Speaking of which, we now have an alive Hargreeves in the present who apparently expected his other family to come and find him. So we can expect things to get messy, especially as Ben is a key member of both groups but only lives in the 2019 timeline, which will likely cause some serious heartbreak for the Umbrella Academy. So basically the Sparrows are going to probably end up as allies and antagonists in season three of Umbrella Academy. We can’t wait to meet them.

The Umbrella Academy season three hits Netflix on June 22.

Featured Image: Netflix

Originally published on April 13, 2022.

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