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How The Umbrella Academy explores Elliot Page’s Vanya/Viktor transition

Season 3 of the hit Netflix show incorporates Page’s off-screen coming-out.

The Umbrella Academy. (L to R) Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves in Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy. Cr. Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2022
Published: Wednesday, 22nd June 2022 at 9:00 am
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When actor Elliot Page came out as trans in late 2020, fans were full of support – but after the dust had settled, they also wondered how this might affect his role in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. For two seasons, he’d played Vanya Hargreeves in the ensemble cast as a female character, and it was unclear initially how this might change in future storylines.

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As was revealed some months ago, Vanya becomes Viktor in season 3 of The Umbrella Academy, tying into Page’s own off-screen coming out and fitting neatly within the character’s ongoing on-screen storyline. And in the episodes themselves, Viktor’s story is handled with appropriate sensitivity.

To begin with, the change isn’t instantaneous. In the first episode of season 3 Page’s character is still referred to as Vanya (including in subtitles), and has the same long hairstyle (give or take) that the character was sporting at the end of season 2 – makes sense, considering this opening episode begins just a few moments later.

During this episode Alison (Emmy Raver-Lampton) also refers to Page’s character as her "sister" – though this doesn’t last too long. In episode 2, Viktor truly emerges when he spots an in-house hairdresser at the Hotel Obisidian, the Umbrella Academy’s new home, while dialogue from Marin Ireland’s season 2 character Sissy plays in the background.

"You don’t even notice the box that you’re in until someone comes along and lets you out."

The Umbrella Academy. (L to R) Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves, Justin Cornwell as Marcus in episode 301 of The Umbrella Academy. Cr. Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2022
The Umbrella Academy. (L to R) Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves with longer hair, Justin Cornwell as Marcus in episode 301 of The Umbrella Academy. Cr. Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2022

Getting a shorter haircut, Viktor soon reintroduces himself to his siblings as they bicker over whether to form a peace with their new foes/replacements The Sparrow Academy. While significant, it’s a brief exchange that is moved past when the siblings focus on the matter at hand.

"Who elected you, Vanya?" Diego (David Casteñada) asks.

"It’s, uh, Viktor," Page’s character replies. When asked who Viktor is, he replies: "I am. It’s who I’ve always been."

After a long pause from Diego, Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Five (Aidan Gallagher), Viktor asks if it’s an "issue for anyone," and his three brothers reply in the negative – Klaus adding that it’s "cool."

"Truly happy for you, Viktor," Five adds. "But last time I checked, you don’t speak for this family." And with that, they’re back to the main plot.

Later, Viktor also shares the news with Alison offs-creen, who berates herself for not picking up on it sooner.

The Umbrella Academy. (L to R) Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
The Umbrella Academy. (L to R) Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 Netflix

"You couldn’t have known ‘cause I didn’t fully," Viktor assures her, before noting how his time spent with Sissy in season 2 had helped him see who he really was.

"Being with Sissy… I don’t know, she… opened something in me. Showed me I’d never be free hiding from who I really am. And after losing her I realised… I just can’t live in that box any more. I won’t."

Looking in a shop window, he adds: "You know I always hated mirrors. Thought everybody felt so strange in their skin. I guess that’s not true, right?"

"What do you see now?" Alison asks.

"Me. Just me," Viktor replies.

Interestingly, this isn’t the last we hear of Vanya. Shortly after this scene, Tom Hopper’s Luther (who has been captured by the Sparrows and missed Viktor’s coming out moment) still refers to him as Vanya, and only learns the truth in episode 3.

The Umbrella Academy cast
Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves, Elliot Page as Viktor Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy Netflix

"Should we say anything? Make a formal gesture? Welcome him as brothers?" Luther asks Diego.

"God, no," Diego says. "Just roll with it man, don’t say anything and don’t be weird."

"OK – but not saying something feels weird, right?" Luther notes – at which point, Diego correctly deduces that Luther just wants an excuse to throw a lavish party with "little sandwiches".

When Viktor appears, Diego tells him that Luther wants to throw him a party so he feels loved. "Do you feel loved?" he asks.

"Good, you are. Can we all get back to saving the world now?"

And from that point on, The Umbrella Academy… pretty much does. The rest of the season basically takes Viktor in stride as a new character once one or two others have been reintroduced, and gives him a separate story arc that doesn’t massively depend on his trans identity.

In other words they just rolled with it, didn’t say anything and avoided being weird, all so they could get back to saving the world.

The Umbrella Academy season 3 is streaming now on Netflix. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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