‘The Umbrella Academy’: Did Ben Hargreeves Die by Suicide?

For the Hargeeves siblings, the loss of their adoptive brother Ben (Justin H. Min) is ultimately what drove them apart. While Ben’s death is still a mystery in the universe of The Umbrella Academy, many fans have started to theorize that Ben could have died by suicide. 

Justin Min
Justin H. Min | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Ben Hargreeves’ death tore the siblings apart 

The Umbrella Academy tells the story of a family of adopted children with extraordinary superpowers. Under the supervision of Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), the siblings are trained to use their powers to save the world. Sadly, Ben — also known as “Number 6” or “The Horror” — died before the end of the world occurred. 

Still, fans get a glimpse of Ben throughout season 1 of The Umbrella Academy, thanks to Klaus Hargreeves (Robert Sheehan). Klaus’ ability to communicate with the dead allows him to see and hear Ben. Eventually, Klaus discovers that he can channel Ben’s abilities, too. 

Ben didn’t have the greatest childhood 

Sir Reginald Hargreeves wasn’t the most attentive father figure. In fact, he viewed his adoptive children more like science experiments instead of family. While studying Ben’s abilities during season 1, Reginald notes that he is “easily manipulated due to [his] enthusiastic, if naive, nature.” 

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Vanya (Ellen Page) also made a few astute observations about Ben while her abilities were unknowingly being stunted. In her autobiography, Vanya says Ben was “the kindest of my siblings, but he was so eager to please Father. He was easily manipulated, dragged into Father and Luther’s little games — and those two simply let him die.”

From Vanya’s perspective, Sir Reginald and Luther are presumably the ones responsible for Ben’s death. This makes sense, considering the amount of guilt Luther (Tom Hopper) expresses experiencing during season 1.

Gerard Way said they’re all partially to blame for Ben’s death

In February 2019, Gerard Way, who penned the graphic novels of the same name with Gabriel Bá, told Forbes Ben was dead when he wrote him into the story.

“That was his function,” Way explained. “I always knew I was going to resolve it. The thing about The Umbrella Academy, it’s almost like improvisational jazz. You’re just making it up as you go along. I have lots of things planned for eight volumes of this graphic novel, but some of it are still questions” — including Ben’s death. 

In May 2019, Way revealed more about Ben’s death. “I think that they all maybe have some involvement in his death,” Way told IGN. When asked for more clarity, Way could only say: “I’m not even quite sure if I could reveal that. That’s beyond a spoiler because it has to do with the comic, too.” It seems like fans will have to wait until Ben’s death is revealed in the comics. 

Justin H. Min thinks Ben’s death is a mystery 

Min has other thoughts about his character’s death. “I think no one really knows [how Ben died],” he told Den of Geek in March 2019. “[Way] has even admitted that he, himself, does not absolutely know. I think we’ll all find out together and it’ll be really exciting when we all do. If that time comes.”

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RELATED: ‘Umbrella Academy’: How Ben Hargreeves is Impacted by Klaus’ Sobriety

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Could Ben have died by suicide? 

Considering Ben’s headstone reads, “May the darkness within you find peace in the light,” his death could have very well been a suicide. “[His headstone] could easily refer to his inner issues concerning his mental health,” one fan on Reddit theorized. 

Other fans think Ben’s death could have been caused by the creature that lives inside him and doubles as his superpower. “When we see him in the bank scene, he’s reluctant and even disappointed when called upon, leading me to believe something with his powers caused him to ‘die,'” another fan shared on Reddit. “What if the eldritch entity that pops out of him is sentient, and Ben knows this?”

Still, others believe Ben’s death was an accident and somehow, Sir Reginald and Luther are to blame.

Will fans get more of an explanation regarding Ben’s death in season 2 of The Umbrella Academy? Tune in on July 31 to find out.