Umbrella Academy season 3 catch-up guide: 5 things you need to know

The cast of Umbrella Academy
(Image credit: Netflix)

With the premiere of The Umbrella Academy season 3 around the corner, it's time to brush up on everything that's happened on the Netflix series so far. After all, two years have passed since season 2 came out. I don't know about you, but I've forgotten quite a bit in that time. I need a refresher course myself before season 3 debuts this Wednesday (June 22). 

The Umbrella Academy is based on the Dark Horse comics, which follows the seven adopted Hargreeves siblings. They are among a group of children born at the same time on Oct. 1, 1989 during a mysterious global phenomenon. 

Their adopted father is the eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who cultivates their different powers and and turns them into a superhero team called The Umbrella Academy. As adults, the team has been disbanded and the siblings are  estranged from their father and from each other. When they reunite for Sir Reginald's funeral, time traveler Five returns from the future to warn them of an impending global apocalypse.

Over the course of events, Vanya (now called Viktor) discovers his previously unknown ability to convert sound waves into physical force. His immense power is what triggers doomsday, twice. Thankfully, the efforts of his siblings save the world, twice. 

Now, the Hargreeves will face yet another apocalypse while contending with a new threat — a multiverse version of themselves.

Here are five things you should also remember before watching The Umbrella Academy season 3.

1. The Umbrella Academy has prevented doomsday, twice

Umbrella Academy season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

In each season so far, The Umbrella Academy has set up an apocalypse that is inadvertently caused by Viktor and subsequently prevented by his siblings. 

In season 1, Viktor discovers Sir Reginald's deception: Fearing his supernatural power was too intense, the patriarch isolated Viktor and had Allison use her ability to convince him that he was ordinary. Furious and heartbroken, Viktor unleashed his powers and blasted the moon. The resulting debris triggers the apocalypse foretold by Five. He uses his time travel powers to save the siblings by teleporting them to the past. 

In season 2, the Hargreeves are stuck in 1960s Dallas. They become aware that another doomsday will take place on November 22, 1963, aka the day President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Instead, a bomb goes off in a nearby FBI building, JFK survives, the Soviets get blamed and a nuclear war breaks out. Well, turns out the bomb is Viktor, who is being tortured by the FBI. The crisis is averted when Ben, in ghost form, merges with Viktor's mind and soothes him. 

Season 3 will see yet another looming doomsday, as all that time-traveling has resulted in an unidentified destructive entity wreaking havoc in the Universe.

2. Sir Reginald is an alien

Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy

(Image credit: Netflix)

In 1963, Sir Reginald belongs to the Majestic 12, a shadowy organization of influential government, military and science leaders. He provides technology for NASA to beat the Soviets in the space race. In return, he gets exclusive rights to the dark side of the moon.

The Majestic 12 arranges for JFK's assassination, as he's asking too many questions. Sir Reginald is against this plan, so when it goes through (because of his future children's involvement), he is extremely unhappy. So unhappy that he kills them all. After the slaughter, he peels off his face, which is a mask that hides a monstrous alien creature.

What is "Sir Reginald" doing on Earth and what does he want with the dark side of the moon? And what is his purpose for adopting the babies and raising them into a superhero team? Let's hope season 3 digs into his motivations.

3. The siblings broke their timeline

Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves, David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves, Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy.

(Image credit: Netflix)

While the siblings straighten out 1963 events into correct fashion, they still mess with that time period quite a bit. But one decision creates a huge butterfly effect and, ultimately, breaks their timeline — introducing themselves to Sir Reginald. 

They have a light supper with their (future) father in an attempt to figure out how to stop the apocalypse, but also to learn more about the man who molded them into the dysfunctional family that they are. 

When they return to their present day, the siblings discover everything has changed. Since Reginald learned their identities in 1963, he adopts a completely different set of babies in 1989. The Umbrella Academy no longer exists; they've been replaced by the Sparrow Academy.

4. Ben is a member of the Sparrow Academy

Justin H. Min as Ben in The Umbrella Academy

(Image credit: Netflix)

In the original timeline, Ben Hargreeves died as a young man, but his ghost form could still communicate with Klaus (and occasionally, possess his body). When he enters Viktor's mind in 1963, the sheer effort causes him to fully depart for the afterlife. 

However, in the altered timeline, Ben is revealed to be alive and well, working with his siblings in The Sparrow Academy! See, since he was a ghost, Ben was the only OG Hargreeves who didn't meet Sir Reginald in 1963. The patriarch purposely didn't adopt the others, but he didn't know about Ben and still took him in. Having grown up in a different environment, Sparrow Ben is completely different from the ghost version.

5. The Commission is under new management

Aidan Gallagher as Five in The Umbrella Academy

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Temps Commission oversees and manages the space-time continuum, ensuring that all events happen as they are supposed to. In season 2, the Handler seizes control of the Commission and sets out to destroy the Umbrella Academy. They are able to thwart her with the help of her adopted daughter, Lila, who kills her after learning the Handler was behind the death of her parents.

After that, Commission member Herb teleports to 1963 to inform the Hargreeves that he's the acting chair until a new board is established. He gives them a briefcase that will take them back to 2019. 

It's unclear if the Commission was in such chaos that Herb didn't know about the timeline changes — or if those changes are what's "supposed to happen." Either way, the siblings return to a completely different present day.

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.