The Umbrella Academy season 2 ending explained – will there be a season 3?

Unpicking the hit Netflix series' latest cliffhanger, with insights from the cast. **CONTAINS SPOILERS**

ELLEN PAGE as VANYA HARGREEVES in THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

If you thought the ending of The Umbrella Academy season one – which saw the Earth obliterated by the crashing moon – was a cliffhanger, then season two’s final scene is really sure to get your head spinning.

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Featuring surprise character returns, a massive twist and another new setting for the next season, The Umbrella Academy season two’s ending is sure to have fans talking for a long while to come – but what actually happens? Why did those big changes take place? And what does any of this mean for season three?

“The way the season ends, I think there’s so many avenues there,” series star Tom Hopper told RadioTimes.com.

“That’s what I love about each season – it puts us into a whole new world and presses the reset button again, rather than just carrying on where we left off.”

We break down the biggest points of the ending below, but beware – spoilers are coming.

The Umbrella Academy season 2 ending explained

The season’s final episode sees the Umbrella Academy defeat The Commission and The Handler (via some nifty time-reversing from Aidan Gallagher’s Five), while also discovering that Diego’s love interest Lila (Ritu Arya) was another of the super-powered children born in 1989, with the ability to mimic any of the other seven siblings’ abilities.

With Lila gone and the Handler (Kate Walsh) dead, the siblings decide to return to 2019, discovering when they arrive there that the apocalypse they’d caused in season one (via Ellen Page’s Vanya blowing up the Moon) has been averted, and everything seems back to normal. Hooray!

…Or so they think. Because as they enter the main hall of the Umbrella Academy building, they notice there have been some changes to the décor, including a massive portrait of their deceased brother Ben (Justin H. Min).

Umbrella Academy Netflix
Colm Feore in The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)

But a bigger clue that something’s not right? Their adoptive father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) is alive and well, despite killing himself prior to the events of season one.

“Why shouldn’t I be?” he asks his students/children when they express shock at his return, before telling them that “this is not your home” and it’s not The Umbrella Academy any more.

“Wrong again – this is the Sparrow Academy,” he tells the dumbfounded siblings, as an apparently different group of super-powered young adults emerge from the shadows.

Umbrella Academy Netflix
The ‘Sparrow Academy’ in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy

But ahead of them all? Their dead brother Ben, alive again with a new look (including a scar, a horrible little moustache and a new haircut) and a very different attitude.

“Dad, who the hell are these assholes?” he asks Sir Reginald, shortly before the credits roll.

Umbrella Academy Netflix
Justin H. Min in The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
Netflix

In other words, yes, we’re in a parallel timeline where Sir Reginald set up The Sparrow Academy rather than The Umbrella Academy, where a different group of superpowered kids were recruited and where Ben survived whatever mission killed him in the “real” timeline. Quite a set-up for season three… 

How did the Umbrella Academy create a parallel universe?

Umbrella Academy Netflix
The cast of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix

Clearly, while back in 1963 the Hargreeve siblings made some changes that have created this splinter timeline, saved Reginald Hargreeves’ life and somehow helped Ben survive too.

And looking back, it’s easy to see what some of those moments would have been. The siblings’ decision to track down and introduce themselves to an unimpressed younger Reginald in 1963 appears to have made him purposefully avoid adopting them (hard not to take that one personally), training a different set of super-powered children to save the world – assuming, of course, that some of those shadowy figures weren’t the Umbrella Academy we know but in a different form. One was a floating cube, after all.

We were told in season one that 43 children were born on October 1st 1989 to women who hadn’t been pregnant, and that Sir Reginald adopted seven of them. Now, from Lila we know that others of these children developed powers – so who’s to say Reginald didn’t try a different set this time around?

Umbrella Academy Netflix
Aidan Gallagher and Ellen Page in The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)

Particularly inspiring this antipathy towards the original Umbrella Academy may have been Diego’s (David Castañeda’s) interference in Sir Reginald’s life back in 1963, indirectly causing Grace (Jordan Claire Robbins) to leave him in an event that presumably would never have happened if they hadn’t travelled to the past.

Back (or forward) in 2019 the only Hargreeves of the original seven to make the cut was Ben, who Sir Reginald never met in 1963, and who in this version of the timeline has lived into adulthood. In other words, yes, Sir Reginald may have been right that it was the Umbrella Academy’s fault that he died on a mission…

Notably, this change in the timeline also explains why the world never ended in 2019 – Vanya (Ellen Page) wasn’t constrained in this version of events, so her powers wouldn’t have exploded in the same way – as well as why Sir Reginald is still alive, as The Umbrella Academy’s founder wouldn’t have killed himself to bring this set of children back together (as he did in season one) – apparently, the Sparrow Academy stayed together anyway.

And of course, these changes could mean other changes are coming too. Mary J Blige’s assassin Cha-Cha and Adam Godley’s intelligent Ape Pogo died as Vanya went on her rampage – if season one never happened, could those characters be alive again? And what about Leonard, the serial killer who manipulated Vanya?

Will there be an Umbrella Academy season 3?

Netflix's Umbrella Academy
The Umbrella Academy season 2 cast (Netflix)

While there’s been no official confirmation at time of writing, given how many people love and enjoy the show (it’s one of Netflix’s most popular dramas) it seems likely that more adventures are coming.

The cast seem to think so anyway.

“The show is very very popular, so we’re optimistic,” Robert Sheehan told RadioTimes.com.

“We’d love to keep the engines rolling. So of course, yeah, of course you start to think. But at this point it’s all what could be. It’s all how things may go.”

What will happen in The Umbrella Academy season 3?

EMMY RAVER-LAMPMAN as ALLISON HARGREEVES, ROBERT SHEEHAN as KLAUS HARGREEVES and ELLEN PAGE as VANYA HARGREEVES in THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY
Credit: Netflix

It seems that if there is a season three, it’ll largely be set in the new alternate-present established in the season two finale, following on from season two’s own 1963 Dallas setting.

“There’s a whole host of new characters potentially, and new relationships, and a whole new world again,” Hopper told us.

And co-star Sheehan suggested that the cast already had some idea of what was coming.

“Well you know, we’re creative types,” he noted. “Certainly it would be absurd if we hadn’t sort of gone down the road of potential, in seeing what could be.

“You start basically dumpster-ing all sorts of concepts and ideas, coming at you, to Big Steve [Blackman] our boss man.”

MARIN IRELAND as SISSY and ELLEN PAGE as VANYA HARGREEVES in THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY
Credit: Netflix

We’re sure plenty of those ideas play off the new opportunities of the alternate world – exactly what else has changed, the prospect of a now-alive Sir Reginald and alternate versions of people the siblings know – but there are also other key areas from season one we’d expect to see explored.

For example, by going back to 1963 Vanya accidentally gave a young boy (specifically Justin Paul Kelly’s Harlan) superpowers, which he still possesses at the end of the season – how will that have impacted the present in 2019?

The Umbrella Academy season two, Lila
The Umbrella Academy season two, Lila
Netflix

Plus, there’s the matter of Lila (Ritu Arya), Diego’s love interest/frenemy who was revealed to be another one of the super-powered children born on October 1st 1989, with the ability to mimic other superpowers. At the end of the season her adoptive mother The Handler (Kate Walsh) is killed and she escapes with a time-travelling briefcase, her relationship with the rest of her super-powered “siblings” still unclear (and unaltered by the parallel timeline).

Could Lila turn against the Hargreeves siblings again? Will any more of the 43 children born with powers turn up? Could Harlan have a deadly role to play? And what will the revelation that Sir Reginald is an alien with “interests” on the Moon (as revealed in the season finale) mean for his apparently larger role in season three?

Well, for now it looks like we’ll have to see – and with TV production slow to get moving again, it could be a long while before we find out exactly what happens.

One thing’s for sure, though – the Umbrella Academy members definitely aren’t going to have an easy time of it. When it rains, it pours…

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The Umbrella Academy season two is streaming on Netflix UK now – check out our lists of the best TV shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide