‘The Umbrella Academy:’ Netflix Releases an Original Superhero Series

As Marvel fans anxiously await the final chapter in the Avengers saga, Netflix joins the superhero soiree with a magical cast of misfits all its own. Netflix’s new series, The Umbrella Academy – based on the graphic novel by the same name – centers on a disbanded family of superheroes who unite to solve the mystery behind their father’s death and confront an impending apocalypse.

While reminiscent of the X-Men series, The Magicians, The Avengers, and other hero-centric tales, The Umbrella Academy is a bit more quirky and a lot less typical than your average savior story: it’s dark, dysfunctional, and surprisingly delightful. Featuring talking chimpanzees and elaborate dance numbers, this series flips the superhero genre on its head.

Ellen Page
Ellen Page Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

What is ‘The Umbrella Academy’ about?

Like any good superhero story, The Umbrella Academy begins with a mysterious and unexplainable natural phenomenon. As the narrator in the teaser states, “In October 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth. None of these women had been pregnant when the day first began.” And as one would likely assume, each child is born with a unique and powerful ability.

Sir Reginald Hargreeves, a billionaire industrialist, adopts six of the children and creates his so-called Umbrella Academy with the hopes of training the children to save the world. Over time, the academy gradually disbands and fades into mere memory. Yet, when Hargreeves suddenly dies, the now thirty-something-year-old heroes are forced to come together again, according to ComingSoon.net.

The Umbrella Academy is available for streaming now.

The Umbrella Academy Teaser | Netflix

‘The Umbrella Academy’ cast

Created by writer and producer Jeremy Slater (The Fantastic Four, Death Note, The Lazarus Effect) and based on the comic series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, the show comes stocked with a few stars you’re bound to recognize. From Ellen Page (who played X-Men’s Kitty Pryde) to Mary J. Blige and 13 Reason Why’s Kate Walsh, this superhero series features a star-studded ensemble.

Ellen Page plays one of Sir Reginald’s chosen ones, Vanya (AKA The White Violin). Mary J. Blige takes on the role of a ruthless assassin named Cha-Cha, according to Nerdist.com, and Kate Walsh plays The Handler – a title perfectly poised to pique curiosity.

Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, and Aidan Gallagher join Page as the other five superhero siblings. As for Tom Hopper and Robert Sheehan, both are rather familiar with fantasy worlds. The former starred in the long-running TV series Merlin, while the latter recently starred in the sci-fi film Mortal Engines.

With Page and a few other ‘super’ alumni leading the way, The Umbrella Academy is comprised of a cast well-versed in the intricacies of playing the extraordinary.

Does the Netflix series align with ‘The Umbrella Academy’ comics?

With graphic novel creators Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá deeply involved in the project, it’s no surprise that the first season matches the comic book’s beginnings rather closely.

Way told Screen Rant, “Well the first thing is Steve [show creator] is really respectful of the source material. So there’s already a really solid relationship there. And Gabriel and I being executive producers, what that allows is for us to give really good notes when we want to…” While small adjustments have been made to transform Way and Ba’s work into a live-action show, all involved on The Umbrella Academy are working closely to “keep it on tone,” according to Way.

If the strong partnership between the comic book creators and the show creators provides any indication of what’s to come, the following seasons should continue to pay homage to the original material.

To those of you who have yet to start streaming The Umbrella Academy: it may be time to watch the first rain of the season.

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