The Umbrella Academy season 3 has landed on Netflix with a bang, plunging the gang back into yet another apocalypse.
Along with 10 new jam-packed episodes, which see the gang plunged back into yet another apocalypse, audiences also got a mysterious post-credits scene that teases what happens if the show returns for season 4.
Look away now if you haven't seen how the series ends, as we're about to delve into some key plot details.
The Umbrella Academy ends with – spoiler alert – the Umbrellas saving the universe once more, the Kugelblitz undone and the world rewritten so the Umbrella Academy are all alive, powerless, in a society where their father Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) seems to be in charge of everything Lex Luthor-style.
Elsewhere, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) reunites with her daughter Claire and her 1960s husband Ray, both living in 2019. Sir Reginald’s partner Abigail is also alive and well (instead of ill or frozen on the Moon, as we’ve seen her before), while Sloane (Genesis Rodriguez) is mysteriously missing.
If you’ve seen the season 3 post-credits scene, you’ll know it features Ben, though which version of him it is – Sparrow or Umbrella – remains unclear.
And it turns out even actor Min isn’t so sure.
"I would love to tell you," Min said on Netflix Geeked's The Umbrella Academy: Unlocked. "Steve [Blackman, showrunner] doesn't tell me, or us, anything. I filmed that scene completely in the dark about what I was filming."
He continued: “I was told to sit on the subway and read this book and think about things. I had no idea, so your guess is as good as mine.”
The Umbrella Academy season 3 post-credits scene explained: Why is Ben on a train?
Shortly after the credits begin in season 3, we cut to a train on the Seoul Subway system in South Korea. Sitting on the train reading a book is Justin H. Min’s Ben Hargreeves, who wears a smart suit (and glasses) and smiles to himself as the train announcer calls out that “this train is bound for Yeouido Station".
It’s not immediately clear what this scene means, though there are a few clues. In many ways, the scene acts as a mirror to the opening scene of season 3, where we saw a young Korean woman flirting with her young boyfriend on a Seoul subway train before becoming heavily pregnant when a strange energy infects her.
Given the date – 1st October 1989 – and the fact that Reginald Hargreeves tries to buy the baby, we can assume that this is the story of how Min’s Ben came to be born. While he died aged 15 in the original Umbrella Academy timeline, the separate ‘Sparrow Academy’ timeline of season 3 had him live to adulthood, and develop a more conniving, aggressive personality.
This Sparrow version of Ben plays a large role in season 3, eventually teaming up with his alternate siblings and ultimately surviving until the end of the season to enter the strange, Hargreeves-centric world (at which point he flounces off on his own).
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What does the post-credits scene mean for The Umbrella Academy season 4?
So this scene could be as simple as suggesting that this version of Ben takes the opportunity to track down his birth mother, just as Klaus did during season 3. Naturally, this would take him to Seoul, and this could be a storyline in season 4 going forwards.
However, there may be a few details counting against this theory. For one thing, this version of Ben seems different, even in a short, dialogue-free appearance. The way he dresses, sits and reads seems a far cry from the brash, flashy version of Ben we’ve seen this season. And how would Ben even know where to look for his mother?
It has us wondering whether this is an alternate version of Ben who was never adopted by Sir Reginald, and who stayed in Seoul his whole life. After all, Sir Reginald created a new world when he got the Hotel Oblivion machine working in the season 3 finale – maybe he wrote his children into it, assuming the original versions wouldn’t survive his draining of their life force.
Remember, he told Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) to stay away from the sigil that drained her siblings (as payback for the deal she’d struck with him), and created a new life for her in this parallel world. Allison ended up stepping in and killing Sir Reginald to stop him hurting the others, but maybe in his original plans the process would have finished them off. Maybe in this new world there’s alternate versions of Luther, Five, Viktor, Diego and everyone else who they’ll run into over the course of any future seasons.
Season 3 may have even teed this idea up at one point, when Five (Aidan Gallagher) warns them about running into their alternate selves or doppelgangers. As it turns out, that wasn’t necessary in the Sparrow world – but it may have been a hint at what was to come in a future season.
It could even explain the power loss. After all, if there’s a Ben that already exists in this world, maybe the alien energy (and abilities) went straight to him, cutting out the Sparrow-Ben entirely.
Or maybe there’s another reason (which we go into in more detail in our Umbrella Academy season 3 ending explained feature). Either way, we’re pretty confident that Justin H Min – who has already played two different versions of Ben – will add a third incarnation to his repertoire when The Umbrella Academy returns.
Unless, you know, Ben just fancied a visit to Korea. In which case, disregard the above.
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