Spoilers for The Umbrella Academy seasons 1 and 2, and the comics, follow.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 won’t arrive on Netflix anytime soon, but one thing has been revealed: we know what each of its 10 episodes will be called.
During Netflix Geeked Week (the streamer’s first-ever in-house virtual event), showrunner Steve Blackman revealed season 3’s episode titles, and fans immediately began to speculate about what they could mean.
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With a bit of digging (including re-reading Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s comics), we’ve come up with our own theories on what the titles may tell us, including some potentially major reveals that haven’t been disclosed yet.
We're diving into big spoilers for the comics, plus The Umbrella Academy seasons 1 and 2 from now on. Read on at your own risk.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 1: Meet the Family
Season 3’s opening episode doesn’t require much theorizing. ‘Meet the Family’ is an obvious nod to The Umbrella Academy meeting The Sparrow Academy.
The latter is the alternate reality superhero group introduced in season 2’s final scene. Season 3 episode 1, then, should focus on introducing viewers to these new characters.
What’s interesting about The Sparrow Academy is that comic fans don’t know much about them either. They were only revealed in the final few pages of The Umbrella Academy Volume 3: Hotel Oblivion, so we don’t know anything about their powers, personalities or motives.
We imagine that Way and Ba have told Blackman about where they plan on taking the comics’ story. This being an adaptation, though, Blackman could decide to veer off from the source material (so as not to spoil Volume 4) and alter the Sparrows’ powers or other traits.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 2: World’s Biggest Ball of Twine
This seems like we’ll get an explanation about how time travel works in The Umbrella Academy’s universe.
The Umbrella Academy is a series built on time travel. The Commission uses briefcases to travel through time and space, while Five has the exact same ability (without needing a briefcase).
There are no references to twine in the comics and, given that there isn’t a definitive theory on how time travel works (numerous movies and TV shows have tried to explain it differently), we imagine that The Umbrella Academy will have its own take.
We suspect Five will be the one to reveal all. Sir Reginald should be the obvious candidate but, given how secretive he is, we don’t expect him to shed any light on how time travel works in this universe.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 3: Pocket Full of Lightning
Online speculation (opens in new tab) has suggested that this could relate to one of The Sparrow Academy member’s powers.
In the comics, none of the Sparrows can conjure thunderbolts or produce electricity. We also don’t know if any of this superhero group will have this power in the Netflix show.
The ‘pocket’ part of episode 3’s title could relate to a pocket dimension that Luther and Diego visit in Hotel Oblivion. For now, though, this is one of two episode titles we’re unsure of.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 4: Kugelblitz
The first of two German language episodic titles, Kugelblitz refers to a black hole formed from radiation instead of matter.
There are two potential explanations for this title. First, a Kugelblitz could be the new ‘world ending event’ that the Umbrella and Sparrow academies have to try and prevent. A cataclysmic happening like this should require more than one superhero group to stop, after all.
As for the second, the comics may hold the key. In Hotel Oblivion, Luther and Diego embark on an interstellar mission to a place called the Afterspace – a wild, newborn region of space where basic scientific laws don’t apply. The Afterspace is full of radiation – this ties into what a Kugelblitz is made of, so there may be some connection here.
It would be a huge stretch for Netflix’s adaptation to suddenly send Luther and Diego on a universe-spanning adventure, particularly when the only spacefaring stuff we’ve seen occurred in season 1 episode 1 – and even that was just Luther living on the moon.
If we had to guess, we’d say our first theory here is more likely.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 5: Kindest Cut
This sounds peculiar, but it’s actually an ode to one particular phrase in William Shakespseare’s Julius Caesar.
In this play, the phrase “the unkindest cut of all” references how Julius Caesar stabbed close friend Brutus in the back, and is now used to describe a major betrayal or hugely painful event.
Season 3 episode 5, then, may allude to something similar but with a twist. ‘Kindest Cut’ could relate to something that’s said or done in a cruel but kind way.
There are many instances in the comics and TV show that could be categorized as tough love incidents. However, we suspect it’ll have something to do with Sir Reginald (again). He’s not the most sympathetic father figure and he can be very blunt with his adopted children, so we're guessing ‘Kindest Cut’ will refer to a severe life lesson he gives to the Umbrella or Sparrow academies.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 6: Marigold
Of all of season 3’s titles, this may be the most important. Why? It might tell us how The Umbrella Academy (and the Sparrows) got their superpowers.
During Geeked Week, Blackman said: “For our superfans, Marigold will mean something to them. It’s something we’ve set up through the seasons, and the graphic novels that Gerard and Gabriel have made.”
So, what is ‘marigold’? In chapter five of Hotel Oblivion, we’re given an idea of what this substance is.
During their Afterspace excursion, Luther and Diego encounter a giant, squid-like monster. A large ball of yellow energy sits at the end of one of its tentacles and, as the monster reaches out to Luther, it taps its energy-imbued tentacle against his forehead.
Immediately, four of Luther’s oldest memories are revealed to comic readers (as show above) – a crying baby (the moment Luther is born, perhaps?), a shining light in the sky and, most importantly, a marigold flower and what appears to be an orange substance alongside some virus cells.
What does all of this mean? It’s unclear if the creature is the source of their powers, or if it’s simply showing Luther how they got them. Either way, it appears that this 'marigold' energy is the key to how the children came into possession of their abilities.
We’ve seen something similar to this orange substance in the TV show already. In season 1 episode 10, Sir Reginald is in possession of a jar filled with glowing orange energy – and it’s since been revealed what this jar of energy is.
Speaking to Animation World Network after season 2’s release, VFX supervisor Everett Burrell seemingly let the cat out of the bag. “Hargreeves opens a jar and a marigold flies out into space,” Burrell said. “That’s how the marigold gets into the kids’ bodies.”
If we put these elements together, we can deduce that the Umbrella and Sparrow academies obtain their powers from this energy. If this is the case, season 3 episode 6 could drop some hugely important lore for comic and TV fans alike.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 7: Auf Wiedersehen
The second German language-based title, and one that points towards a Klaus-centric episode.
There are two reasons for this: Klaus is German (his name and tendency to speak the language are giveaways) and he has the word ‘goodbye’ tattooed on his left hand. Coincidentally, auf wiedersehen is German for ‘goodbye’, so it seems obvious to us that Klaus will be central to this particular episode.
Even if Klaus isn’t, episode 7’s title makes for ominous reading. It could relate to the Umbrella and Sparrow academies going their separate ways, a member of either team permanently leaving or, grimly, someone’s funeral.
It would be a major moment if anyone significant dies in season 3. It would be a shock if Netflix did kill one of The Umbrella Academy siblings off but, given the next episode’s title, we don’t see this occurring. You wouldn't follow up a funeral with a wedding after all, right?
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 8: Wedding at the End of the World
Speaking of episode 8, its title may be throwing us a curve ball of sorts.
At first glance, this appears to be a nod to Luther and Allison potentially tying the knot. The duo have a history in the comics and TV show, but we don’t think this is the wedding that this title is referring to.
For one, it’s weird. Luther and Allison are siblings (albeit not blood-related), but it would still be pretty incestuous if they got married. Secondly, fans seemingly don’t want it. In the wake of season 3’s titles being revealed, some fans have expressed (opens in new tab) their dismay (opens in new tab) at Luther and Allison potentially getting hitched.
Who could this be referencing, then? If not Luther and Allison, maybe Diego and Lila. The ex-lovers still have feelings for each other, despite Lily’s constant betrayals in season 2, so the smart money is on them – providing Ritu Arya returns as Lila in season 3, of course.
Regardless of who may tie the knot, it seems that they’ll be doing so during the next apocalyptic event.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 9: Six Bells
“That will mean something to the audience when they have watched the season,” Blackman teased during Netflix Geeked Week.
Unfortunately, there are no references to bells in the comics. Like ‘Pocket Full of Lightning’, then, this is a title that we’re struggling to work out.
The only connection we can make is that Six Bells may symbolize a particular hour that heralds the start of an event in the TV shiw. Historically, six bells were rung on seafaring ships that signal the hours of 3AM, 7AM, 11AM, 3PM, 7PM and 11PM.
Could something happen at one of these times in season 3? Possibly. The only crucial time that’s referenced in the comics, though, is 9:38PM - the moment that the 43 superpowered children are born on October 1, 1989. Unless Netflix’s adaptation has changed the time of their births, we don’t see a link between the two.
Alternatively, one of the hours (listed above) may be the time that the next world-ending event begins. It would certainly give The Umbrella Academy (and the Sparrows) a limited amount of time to prevent it, just like the former had to halt the other two apocalypses in seasons 1 and 2.
That's our best guess, but we'll have to wait on season 3 to find out for sure.
The Umbrella Academy season 3 episode 10: Oblivion
This title is the most important after Marigold. For comic readers, the word ‘Oblivion’ will only mean one thing: Hotel Oblivion.
For the uninitiated, Hotel Oblivion is an Arkham Asylum-style prison – inside a pocket dimension in the Afterspace – where Sir Reginald sends captured supervillains to live out the rest of their days.
So far, The Umbrella Academy seasons 1 and 2 have ended on cliffhangers, and we think season 3 will do likewise.
If it does, the third season may end with a tease of Hotel Oblivion. That could be in the form of Sir Reginald visiting it, a post-credits stinger that simply shows the prison in all its glory, or even a jailbreak where the supervillains escape (as they do in the comics) and set up season 4’s main plot thread.
Oblivion could also point to the fact that the Umbrella and Sparrow academies fail to prevent armageddon, which results in, well, universal destruction. We can’t see that happening, though, so Hotel Oblivion is the logical choice here.