The Umbrella Academy: Time Travel Rules Explained

Understanding how time travel works in The Umbrella Academy is not entirely straightforward. Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy, which landed on Netflix in 2019, was a huge hit, with fans and critics praising Steve Blackman’s live-action adaptation of Gerard Way’s comics from My Chemical Romance. The story focuses on the six ghost siblings Hargreeves – a group of children who were miraculously conceived, born simultaneously and endowed with unique superpowers before being adopted by the mysterious Reginald Hargreeves and whipped into a wrestling force against crime. One of these awake, boy genius known as number five, possesses the ability to move through time and space.

Time travel played a minor but crucial role in The Umbrella Academy season 1. While the academy was still young, Five took an unintended time leap and landed in a post-apocalyptic future. After decades of living alone, romance models and working as an assassin, Five has managed to find his way back to his family, arriving in 2019 a few days before the apocalypse is to hit. Five and his siblings desperately try to avoid the future before realizing that one of their own was the cause of Vanya destroying the moon after rediscovering her latent powers. In a final attempt to save the world, Five grabbed his siblings and took a hopeful leap in time ahead of The Umbrella Academy season 2.

Of course, Hargreeves’ second series of adventures dived deeper into the rabbit hole of time travel. Siblings landed in the 1960s and realize that the apocalypse has followed them, giving the gang two doomsday disasters to stop before finding a way home to 2019. Each story of time travel sets its own parameters and rules, and with The Umbrella Academy season 2 expands on the timeline of deception from season 1, its own rulebook becomes clearer … and at the same time much more complex. Here, The Umbrella Academy’s time travel is explained prior to season 3.

How to Travel in Time at The Umbrella Academy

There are basically two ways to cheat the timeline in The Umbrella Academy universe. Number Five’s inherent ability allows him to jump back and forth with time. Alas, time travel is not easy to control. When Five makes his first leap as a teenager, he lands about a decade into the future, but is unable to return to his own timeline. Five finally takes the trip home using an extensive series of equations written down over the course of his many years away, but even then he makes a mathematical mistake that sends him home as a child instead of the gray-haired man he was become. For Five, time travel is not as simple as the movies show, but at the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2, the half-liter-sized assassin begins to take small leaps. Successfully regrets the moment The Handler kills his entire family in the season finale.

The other way to travel through time in The Umbrella Academy is through one of the Commission’s briefcases. A mysterious time-traveling organization of unknown origin, the Commission is tasked with maintaining the natural order of history (or at least the order they consider natural). The Commission is sending agents at various times to ensure that key events such as the Kennedy assassination, the apocalypse and the Hindenburg disaster take place as planned. Instead of one of the stereotypical sci-fi MacGuffins, the Commission uses mechanical briefcases that create a field around the user (s) and bring them precisely to their destination. Travelers may experience side effects such as nausea and mild disorientation, but this time travel method is far more accurate and reliable than Five’s superpower, although the briefcases seem surprisingly easy to destroy. This means that The Umbrella Academy’s rules for time travel, although complex, follow a consistent logic throughout.

The rules of umbrella academy time travel explained

Like most time travel stories, The Umbrella Academy apparently subscribes to the idea that there is only one timeline, and that timeline can be changed via the Butterfly Effect – a phenomenon in which a person travels back in time, changes something and inadvertently causes his present. day to look very different when he returns. Clearly, this is the model The Umbrella Academy uses because of Five’s apocalyptic foresight. Five trips to two different apocalyptic futures, and both times the Hargreeves siblings managed to change the future he saw, returning to 2019 at the end of season 2 and finding out that the destruction of Vanya’s moon had become deleted. It is also worth noting that when Five lived alone in the apocalypse, the moon was still intact, proving that his intervention even changed the doom of the world. Likewise, Ben’s victim stops the nuclear war, while Five and Hazel reunite at the start of The Umbrella Academy’s second season. When it comes to The Umbrella Academy, nothing about the story is carved in stone, which perhaps explains the need for a commission in the first place.

By and large, any fictional story that tackles the awkward subject of time travel can take one of two other paths – in addition to using the Butterfly Effect approach. The first is the multiverse theory – the idea that going back in time and changing history does not change the original timeline, but creates a completely separate one. Examples of this can be seen in Avengers: Endgame and Dragon Ball Z, where characters frolic in the past and change key events, but their own timeline remains unchanged. That’s not the case with every season of The Umbrella Academy.

The second theory is the so-called “whatever happened, happened” idea, which claims that it is actually impossible to change history because all the changes made through time travel have already been applied. Examples of this can be seen in Lost and Doctor Who. For example, if the tenth doctor lands in 16th century England and marries the queen, he does not change history, he becomes so because that marriage has always taken place. This philosophy suggests that even if a time traveler tries to break the timeline, they end up sticking to a path that is already set by the cosmos, meaning that history can never change. The Umbrella Academy does not go that way either.

The Sparrow Academy twist at the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2 is further proof of the show’s butterfly effect. No one knows how it happened, but everything the Hargreeves siblings did in the 1960s made their present unrecognizable. In this way, the show actually adopts many of the troops in the classic time travel narrative – in that even the smallest change can have major consequences. While this reinforces some theories about how The Umbrella Academy time travel works, it also raises several questions for season 3.

The time travel of the umbrella academy can cause paradoxical psychosis

Another important effect of The Umbrella Academy’s rules for time travel is the potential for paradoxical psychosis. Most remarkably demonstrated by Five, this phenomenon occurs when a character interacts with an alternate version of himself. Clearly, people crossing roads through time travel are enough to confuse even the most stable minds, and the consequences can be fully seen in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy.

The show explains the impact of paradoxical psychosis in graphic detail. The condition has seven identifiable stages: denial, itching, extreme thirst and urination, excessive gas, acute paranoia, uncontrollable sweating and murderous rage. These effects are well demonstrated when Five chooses to interact with Five in a desperate attempt to save humanity – proving that even with forces as potentially significant as time travel, the effects of a mistake can be devastating for the person involved, as well as for wider world.

The Future of Time Travel in Umbrella Academy Season 3

Sparrow Academy is potentially hosting even more time travel series ahead of The Umbrella Academy season 3, but the central question will be how the show handles the paradoxes. When the Hargreeves family tried to stop the apocalypse (both), they changed events that, at least from their perspective, had not happened yet. This meant that they did not have to worry about paradoxes. Somewhere along the line, the Academy’s actions changed the course of history from 1963 to 2019, when Sir Reginald created the Sparrow Academy from a completely different list of children. Unlike in the past, this directly affects the past of each character. For example, Diego is a skilled fighter because he was trained by Reginald at Umbrella Academy, but if the timeline changed so Reginald never adopted Diego, would he then lose those skills?

Perhaps the most famous example of the time travel paradox is Back to the Future, where Marty McFly accidentally prevents his parents from falling in love while traveling through time in the past, and then begins to disappear from sight.a photograph taken in the present. In the reworked 2019, The Umbrella Academy has all had completely different lives, so following Marty’s clue, will they start forgetting each other and Sir Reginald’s training, as it technically never happened? Not all stories of time travel take this path; some writers consider a time traveler’s personal timeline to be fixed so that knowledge and memories from before the story changed remain intact. Either way, it’s potentially more complex and important than ever to determine exactly how time travel works in The Umbrella Academy.

The second important point to address in season 3 is how the Hargreeves siblings will react to Reginald’s “Sparrow Academy.” By working with the “single timeline” theory, Five has two choices – either go back, identify what went wrong, and fix it, or just accept things as they are, and of these two possibilities, the latter seems much more likely. Umbrella Academy season 3, set in Sparrow’s changed timeline, would allow Reginald to play a bigger role (while still alive) and give the Umbrella kids the same “fish out of the water” that worked so well in season 2. As long as there were no pictures missing, none of the 6 main characters will likely be upset that their awful foster father no longer recognizes them as his own. A temptation to fix things can arise when other unforeseen schedule changes begin to emerge. For example, if Allison was not a member of the Umbrella Academy and a celebrity, she might never have met her ex-husband, and therefore her daughter would no longer exist. If so, The Umbrella Academy season 3 could see Team Umbrella try to straighten the timeline and Team Sparrow try to stop them.

Will Elliott Page play Vanya in season 3 of The Umbrella Academy?

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