Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy delves heavily into the idea of time travel, arguably the most challenging of sci-fi concepts with its tendency to create paradoxes and confusing timelines.
Number Five can cause enough chaos all on his own with his ability to teleport through space and time, but things get even crazier when he joins up with a mysterious organisation known only as The Commission.
Of course, there are also certain hidden secrets that we only learn about in flashback towards the end of season one, but when placed in order they offer a fuller picture of this uniquely troubled family.
Here’s your guide to the timeline of The Umbrella Academy:
“LONG AGO”: We get a glimpse into the distant past of the man who later takes the on the identity of Reginald Hargreeves. He bids an emotional farewell to his dying partner, before leaving for good and purchasing an umbrella store – the humble beginnings of his eventual fortune.
22nd November 1963: Number Five, now working for The Commission (see 2047), travels to the day that President John F Kennedy was assassinated. Rather than follow his orders, he finally works out the correct equation to get back to the present day – teleporting to 24th March 2019, but in doing so regressing to the form a 13-year-old boy.
1968: Klaus is transported to the frontlines of the Vietnam War, after accidentally using a time machine disguised as a briefcase, belonging to his kidnappers Hazel and Cha-Cha. He is drafted into the conflict alongside a soldier named Dave, who he quickly falls in love with. Tragically, Dave is killed in action, leaving Klaus heartbroken and traumatised when he eventually makes it back to his own time.
1st October 1989: 43 women give birth around the world, despite not showing any signs of pregnancy beforehand. Eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves strives to adopt as many as he can, ultimately acquiring seven of them.
Harold Jenkins is born on the same day, but from a normal pregnancy. He will later develop an obsession with The Umbrella Academy, in a desperate attempt to get some escape his abusive home life.
1993: Sir Reginald Hargreeves begins training his adoptive children in their unique special abilities. Each of them make significant progress, including Vanya – the most powerful of them all.
After some unsettling displays of strength, including scaring off so many nannies that she necessitates the creation of android carer Grace, Sir Hargreeves decides that Vanya is too dangerous to be left unchecked.
He tells a four-year-old Allison to use her mind control powers to make Vanya forget that she has abilities. He then keeps Vanya (or Number Seven) on strong medication that prevents them from re-emerging.
2002: The Umbrella Academy makes their public debut, stopping a robbery of Capital West Bank in Maine. Sir Hargreeves watches from a nearby rooftop with Vanya, who now believes herself to be completely “ordinary.” After successfully thwarting the criminals, Sir Hargreeves goes down to greet the press and introduce his team as the inaugural class of The Umbrella Academy.
The team quickly amasses legions of fans, including the aforementioned Harold Jenkins, who collects comic books and action figures based on the group. One day, not long after they’re debut, he approaches them dressed in a homemade costume asking to join them, but Sir Hargreeves humiliates him in front of a large crowd. Later that day, he returns home and murders his abusive father, a crime for which he is sentenced to 12 years in prison.
10th November 2002: Number Five becomes frustrated as his adoptive father forbids him to travel through time. He feels he is ready for the challenge, storming out of the family mansion and making several time jumps, until he finds himself trapped in a post-apocalyptic 2019. His family are shaken by Five’s disappearance, with both Vanya and Sir Hargreeves hoping he will one day return.
At an unspecified time in the years that followed, The Umbrella Academy loses another member as Ben (Number Six) is killed on a mission. Years later, in her book, Vanya would reveal to the world that there was “nothing connecting” the siblings after his death, resulting in them gradually going their separate ways.
2012: Luther is the last remaining member of the Umbrella Academy, working with his father Sir Reginald Hargreeves. He is sent on a mission to obtain a dangerous biochemical substance, but is badly wounded and almost dies. His father saves his life by injecting him with a serum that transforms his upper body into that of an ape. He is then sent to the moon under the pretence of an important mission, which he later discovers was anything but.
2014: Vanya begins writing her book Extra Ordinary, which reveals the personal lives of the Umbrella Academy for all to see, effectively alienating all of her siblings. Meanwhile, Harold comes to the end of his 12-year prison sentence and begins plotting revenge.
2018: Allison’s husband walks in on her using her powers to make their daughter go to sleep. He is furious and this leads to the breakdown of their relationship.
24th March 2019: The academy reunites for the first time for the funeral of their adoptive father. Number Five teleports back to the mansion from the date of the JFK assassination.
27th March 2019: After being held hostage by Hazel and Cha-Cha, Klaus is freed by Detective Patch and makes off with a briefcase. What he doesn’t realise is that the case is a time machine, accidentally transporting himself to 1968.
28th March 2019: Klaus returns from the past the following day, but for him it has been a lot longer. During his absence, he fought in the Vietnam War and fell in love with a soldier called Dave, who was killed in action. Devastated by what he has been through, he destroys the time machine.
Number Five is approached by The Handler and offered another job with The Commission, which he accepts in exchange for his sibling’s safety. However, he quickly betrays them again as he remains committed to stopping the apocalypse that they are trying to cause.
29th March 2019: The Day That Wasn’t (episode six of season one). This day begins on an alternate timeline, which sees Luther fail to keep his siblings from walking out on their responsibilities. However, Number Five escapes from The Commission to the beginning of the day, with crucial information that helps to keep them from drifting apart.
For more details on the present day plot, read our Umbrella Academy season one recap.
1st April 2019: The world ends, as a beam of energy that bursts out of Vanya destroys the moon, turning it into a cluster of devastating meteors hurtling to Earth.
Number Five arrives in the future later that day and finds himself unable to jump back to his own time, discovering the dead bodies of his adoptive siblings soon after.
approx. 2047: We can gather that this was around the date that Five was first approached by The Handler, as he claims to be 28 years older than his siblings. He agrees to work for The Commission for five years, but discards his duties much earlier to get back to the present day.