The Umbrella Academy: 10 Backstage Details about the Show
The Umbrella Academy seems suspiciously similar to the Dark Phoenix Saga with a little girl being tricked about the true nature of her powers. But the series has the great touch of being a fresh family drama with some pretty cool plot twists that make us love the show.
Read this break down of the Easter eggs present in each episode and feel it bring a greater level of conspiracy to the show. What's drawn on the walls? What new superpower is Klaus hinted to have? And be aware - spoiler alert!
Episode 1 “We Only See Each Other At Weddings and Funerals”
Just before we jump into the Easter eggs, we have to admit that probably not all of you have read the Umbrella Academy comics. If you haven't, don’t worry because we’ll cover that backstory for you as well.
So, in the first episode, Vanya takes her book from the shelf. She gave that book to Hargreeves. On the back of the book, we can see an endorsement signed by Gerard Way.
The name does not stand out much if you haven’t read the comics or listened to My Chemical Romance. The thing is, Gerard Way is the author of the Umbrella academy comics and the former lead vocalist of the rock band My Chemical Romance. We have to admit the series inherited a lot of Way’s grotesque style. So we got a chance to meet the creator of the story from the very beginning.
One more peculiar detail we noticed in the first episode was a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. Even though the kids did not really appreciate having Vanya around, she still loved her siblings a lot. As Pogo revealed in the episode, Vanya kept leaving peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches out at night, in case Five found his way home. And a fluffernutter sandwich is the first thing Five has when he gets home. Even a serial killer at the age of 60 likes a sweet treat!
One more comics reference was hidden in Hargreeves's study. When Allison discovered Klaus stealing money, they showed a newspaper cut-out about the Eiffel Tower. It was a reference to the first comic book issue “The Day The Eiffel Tower Went Berserk”. According to the comics, the Eiffel Tower was secretly a spaceship designed and controlled by the Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel.
Of course, the Umbrella Academy was forced to save the day but they were already missing Five, who vanished the day before.
Episode 2: “Run Boy Run”
The episode starts with a flashback at the dinner table. Here we see Luther and Allison flirting with their eyes, Diego scratching the table with his favorite knives and Klaus already developing his dangerous passion. And we see Ben reading a book by Anton Chekhov. However, we cannot actually see which book he is reading. But fan theories suggest there are more connections to Russian writer Chekhov than it seems.
First off, there’s a literature term "Chekhov’s gun", which means a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, elements should not appear to make "false promises" by never coming into play. So it could be the first indication that Ben himself is a Chekhov’s gun and he may play an even more important role in the future. At least, we hope so.
Plus, it's Vanya’s name. There’s a theory on Reddit, that number 7 is named after Chekhov's play “Uncle Vanya” in which Vanya gave many years of his life to a Professor, in our case Hargreeves, but felt undervalued and was seeking love and appreciation. Sounds a lot like number 7’s story, right?
On the other hand, there’s a theory suggesting that the name has to do with a Tsar Bomb, nicknamed Big Ivan - long for Vanya. The connection is clear regarding Vanya’s destructive force. The scene from the future after her powers were revealed looked a lot like after bombing.
Episode 3: “Extra Ordinary”
Do you remember how the 10th episode ended with a massive ray of Vanya’s power damaging the Moon? It turns out that the Academy's mom somewhat predicted the explosion when she stitched a picture of the moon with a big chunk of it breaking off. Basically, she did it, thus giving us a hint as to what will happen in the end. Have you noticed it?
Episode 4: “Man on the Moon”
Poor Five was very much depressed after his return home. And it’s clear why. Though it’s still amusing to see a 13-year-old kid talking and acting like an adult, in the heart of such “amusing” adult depression, Diego and Luther found number 5 in the library, when he started to write his calculations. And right in the next episode, we see what’s left of the library walls, covered in these exact calculations.
Episode 5: “Number Five”
There was just a scene with Luther walking around a room, but a super attentive fan noticed a peculiar detail on the wallpapers. There was a drawing of a boy that pulled a cart with a mannequin in it. Just like Five was also pulling Dolores in a cart at the beginning of the episode.
Aidan Gallagher who plays number Five tweeted back, saying: “There’s stuff like this planted all over the place. You have to watch for it!”
So the wallpapers suggest that Hagreeves knew that all along making us wonder whether it’s a hint that Five and Old Hagreeves are actually the same person. That makes some sense since number Five is the only one whose name is not disclosed and Reginald somehow knew that the Apocalypse was going to come. However, in the comics, he appears to be an alien. So it’s possible for the drawings to be a hint about something else.
Episode 6: “The Day That Wasn’t”
In the sixth episode, Luther discovered that Hagreeves never read his reports from the Moon. In that scene, we saw a cabinet with Adam and Eve carving statues next to the forbidden fruit tree. Perhaps, it was a reference to Luther and Allison’s relationship, not being blood-related siblings but sharing one father, alluding to the original sin. What do you think about it?
Episode 7: “The Day That Was”
The episode starts with a flashback to Harold Jenkins aka Vanya’s boyfriend's childhood. Playing with his figures, he references the comic's greatest villain and the Academy's longtime nemesis Doctor Terminal. In the issue of the comic book “Dr. Terminal's Answer”, Vanya becomes a White Violin.
So perhaps Dr. Terminal’s reference is an allusion to Harold being the indirect cause of Vanya’s reincarnation into the White Violin.
There’s also one more supermassive hint about Klaus in this episode. When Klaus and Ben were walking down the alley, we clearly saw two shadows. But it’s impossible for a ghost to have one. Maybe it’s a prompt about Klaus having much greater powers. What if he doesn't just talk to dead people, but can also bring them back to life? That’s a very promising hint because we are all looking for a way for Ben to come back to our world.
Episode 8: “I Heard a Rumour”
When Allison is putting her daughter to bed, she is making more references to the Eiffel Tower incident. Plus, there are a lot of monkeys in the show. We have Pogo, of course, and Luther’s ape-like body. Allison’s daughter is holding a monkey in that same scene, which is pretty curious considering her mother’s relationship with Luther. Were attentive enough to notice it?
Episode 9: “Changes”
In the series, Vanya does not look like White Violin from the comics. But we were given a nice metaphor with Allison’s blood running down Vanya’s neck like the violin strings. It was chilling, right?
If you read the comic book, what do you think about how Vanya is portrayed there and in the show? Which version of the character do you like more?
Episode 10: “The White Violin”
No one has figured out what the red lady's problem is yet, but she has appeared in the show no less than three times already. One may think the casting director didn’t want to look for more actors but it’s more likely there’s something behind these events in the story.
First, we met this lady in the first episode, when the Academy stopped a bank robbery and she was one of the hostages.
She also approached the Academy at the bowling alley, thinking Five was a kid who needed a friend to play with. And it’s the same woman who witnessed Klaus time travel from a bus.
The show features a lot of Gerard Way covers and songs, but “Barracuda” by Heart is the coolest song referenced in the series. Ann Wilson wrote that song in anger after her record company spread rumors about her and her sister having an affair.
Vanya has closely bonded with Allison on the show and Allison’s power is... spreading rumors. Pretty symbolic, right?
All in all, it looks like the Umbrella Academy is a great series that can serve as an example for other shows on how to include amazing Easter eggs. Have you noticed any other hidden details in the show?