Why The Umbrella Academy Had to End With Season 4

The Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman answers our season 4 questions and unveils some plans for the future of the show.

Klaus (Robert Sheehan) and Luther (Tom Hopper) in The Umbrella Academy season 3
Photo: Netflix

This article contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy season 3.

With the conclusion of The Umbrella Academy’s third season, the show finds itself in some uncharted territory. Not only is the Hargreeves family once again lost in parts unknown, trying to find their way in a new-ish reality without their powers, but so too is the plot without a road map for the first time.

While each of The Umbrella Academy’s first three seasons has roughly corresponded to one of the three volumes of Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s comic series, the show has no volume four to draw from. This means that The Umbrella Academy season 4 will have to go its own way. 

According to Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman, however, that should all be just fine. 

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“From the time I started on the show five years ago and met Gerard, he talked a lot about where he wanted to go. We shared some ideas,” Blackman says. “I have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to do in the fourth season.”

And just what will that idea be for season 4? It looks like we’ll get to find out soon.

Will There Be The Umbrella Academy Season 4?

Yes, there will be! Netflix was apparently moved by Blackman’s four-year plan for the series as on Aug. 25, 2022, it confirmed a fourth and final season for The Umbrella Academy.

“I’m so excited that the incredibly loyal fans of The Umbrella Academy will be able to experience the fitting end to the Hargreeves siblings’ journey we began five years ago,” Blackman, who returns as showrunner, said in a statement. “But before we get to that conclusion, we’ve got an amazing story ahead for season four, one that will have fans on the edge of their seats until the final minutes.”

It’s unknown when The Umbrella Academy season 4 will premiere but with the renewal announcement, production in Toronto should begin soon. The previous three seasons of the show have premiered in February 2019, July 2020, and June 2022, respectively.

What Will The Umbrella Academy Season 4 Be About?

As Blackman revealed, he has a pretty good idea of what he would do with a fourth season and has known so for a while. 

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“I have four seasons in my head,” he says. “Beyond that, I really haven’t thought about it. But I do know what I want to do next year. So that’s at least a relief.”

Though the conclusion of The Umbrella Academy season 3 is less of a cliffhanger than the previous two seasons, it does still raise plenty of questions going forward. Is Reginald Hargreeves’ plan complete? How will The Umbrella Academy adapt to their new environs? According to Blackman though, one question lingers above all else.

“We can’t have superheroes without superpowers,” he says. “So that will be clearly a challenge for our Umbrellas next year. What to do without powers and how to get them back.” 

With that in mind, we can expect The Umbrella Academy season 4 to center on its titular heroes more closely than ever before. All of the world-ending shenanigans have been fun, but it’s time we delve deeper into the Hargreeves family and what they really want. Near the end of the season Diego (David Castañeda) ponders what they should do now to which Lila (Ritu Arya) responds “Live our lives?” with a very heavy question mark, as though it’s a harder question to tackle than any Kugelblitz-induced apocalypse. 

“I want it to feel different from the first three seasons – just as wild but as a slightly different take,” Blackman says.

Is Reginald Hargreeves’ Story Over?

Despite dying moments before the series even begins, Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) has been one of The Umbrella Academy’s most important characters. Season 3 depicts what appears to be the dark fruition of all of Reggie’s planning. By forcing his adopted “children” into Oblivion he is finally able to reunite with his lost love Abigail. 

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The TV show iteration of Reginald has evolved far beyond where the comic version has gone thus far. Is there still room for the character to advance further? According to Blackman, the answer is an enthusiastic yes.

“I’ve had a pretty clear idea (of where he’s going). I know pretty much the first four seasons of his storyline,” Blackman says. “Colm Feore is such a good actor, you can play so many layers of Hargreeves.”

Season 3 also serves as a helpful reminder that Reginald Hargreeves just happens to be an alien, something that Luther discovers in tragic fashion. Per Blackman, that aspect of the character is something that will be further explored going forward. 

Will Season  4 Broaden The Umbrella Academy’s Scope?

This may seem like a silly question because the scope of The Umbrella Academy is already pretty big. Planet Earth is destroyed in the finale of the first season and the Umbrella gang spends basically the entirety of season 2 in 1960s Dallas. How much bigger can anyone reasonably expect the scope to get?

Well, according to Blackman, The Umbrella Academy season 3 almost expanded its story beyond U.S. borders. 

“We had written a whole section for Japan (in season 3), which is in the graphic novel, and then we took it out after COVID hit,” Blackman says. 

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The moment in Japan from the graphic novel that Blackman is referring to is a brief, but interesting one. Volume 3 of the comic, titled “Hotel Oblivion” opens in Japan with a disaffected Luther fighting crime in Tokyo alongside some Japanese superheroes. There Luther (and eventually Diego) meets with their father’s old friend Doctor Zoo, who invites him on a journey to outer space.

Obviously The Umbrella Academy TV show’s reasoning for Luther (Tom Hopper) to be in Tokyo likely would have been altered. But it’s nice to know that the show has a larger world outside of the U.S. (and Toronto where it films) in its sights. In fact, we can see the beginnings of some expansion in the post-credit scene of season 3 which sees Ben Hargreeves (Justin H. Min) on a South Korean train. 

In an interview with Netflix’s TUDUM, Blackman revealed that the Ben seen in that scene is not another Ben but the “Sparrow” Ben from season 3.

“The question you should really be asking yourself is what the fuck is he doing on a Korean subway train reading a book about pottery? Blackman says. “Odd, right? Of course, it is! This is the Umbrella Academy. As every good Umbrella fan knows, no moment in the show exists in isolation. Everything we see has meaning. And this moment is no exception. Ben has a reason to be there… but you’ll have to wait until Season 4 to understand why.”

And wait we shall.