Umbrella Academy Season 3 Theory: Ben Is Alive Because The Rest Of The Academy Died

In only two seasons so far, The Umbrella Academy has left various mysteries that fans are hoping will be solved soon, among those everything related to Ben’s death. The Umbrella Academy season 2 ended with a major cliffhanger that included the reveal of Ben being alive in the new 2019 timeline, and this could be because the rest of the Academy, in this specific timeline, are dead. The superhero genre has seen all types of stories in recent years, some of them darker than others, among those The Umbrella Academy, a series of comic books created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá and which made the jump to the world of streaming in February 2019 thanks to Netflix.

The Umbrella Academy introduced viewers to the Hargreeves, seven adopted siblings who (along with other 36 babies) were born on the same day, at the same time, and to women who weren’t pregnant when the day began. This curious event caught the attention of scientist and billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), who could only adopt seven of those children, and as they developed superpowers, he trained them and formed the team “The Umbrella Academy”. As Reginald wasn’t a good father (and after other traumatic events), the Hargreeves parted ways and didn’t speak to each other for years, and reunited in 2019 for Reginald’s funeral and to stop the apocalypse. Unfortunately, they couldn’t prevent the end of the world, so they jumped to a safer place and point in time, landing in Dallas, Texas, in the 1960s at the beginning of The Umbrella Academy season 2.

Related: Why Reginald Chose Umbrellas For The Academy's Symbol

Although the team is formed by seven superpowered kids, when viewers met the Hargreeves in the first episode of The Umbrella Academy, only six of them were alive, as Number 6 a.k.a. Ben (Justin H. Min), died years before the events of the series. Ben has been part of the series anyway thanks to Klaus (Robert Sheehan), who has the ability to communicate with the dead, and while viewers have gotten to know Ben to an extent, everything about his death remains a mystery. The biggest twist in his story so far came at the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2, where the Hargreeves returned to their present though not their correct timeline and were surprised to see that Reginald is still alive, he created The Sparrow Academy with different kids, and among those is Ben, who is alive but very different from the kinder Ben the Umbrellas and viewers knew – and this could be because, in this timeline, the Umbrella members are dead.

As mentioned above, Ben died before the main events of The Umbrella Academy season 1, and viewers only got brief glimpses at a young Ben in flashbacks, such as when the team was sent to stop a bank robbery and a quick look at how the team prepared to be sent on a mission. Ben was the heart of the team, and his death deeply affected the rest, contributing to the siblings parting ways as time passed by and further fracturing their relationship with Reginald. Their feelings over Ben’s death is one of the few things the Hargreeves can agree on and that can keep them together, and Ben’s role in the team and the family was so important that a statue of him was placed at the Hargreeves’ mansion. However, details about his death were not revealed, and they haven’t been addressed in the comics either.

Because Ben has been dead through most of The Umbrella Academy, little is known about his powers, and what’s known about them is thanks to flashbacks and to Klaus, who mastered the ability to conjure Ben and make him somewhat corporeal to the point where he could use his powers to help the team. Ben’s powers, then, are summoning eldritch tentacles from a portal in his stomach, and The Umbrella Academy season 2 showed a new, interesting power that ghost Ben had: possession. Ben found out he could briefly possess people, which he did with Klaus a couple of times and later entered Vanya's mind when she was in a deep (and dangerous) trance, and it was this interaction with Vanya which helped him cross over to the afterlife.

All this mystery around Ben’s death has made way for a variety of theories on what truly happened to him. The most popular one says Ben killed himself, this mostly based on the inscription on his statue at the mansion: “May the darkness within you find peace in the light”, but after The Umbrella Academy season 2, another theory gained force: one of his siblings is responsible (although unintentionally, of course) for his death. A flashback to Ben’s funeral was included in season 2, and Reginald gave a speech that revealed Ben died during a mission and blamed the team for failing to save Ben, even telling them they are not “good people”. Now, when taking into account the dangerous and volatile powers Ben had and that he was the member of the Umbrella Academy with the kindest heart, there can be a mid-point theory: Ben sacrificed himself to save his family. Reginald might not know all the details about his death and how the mission actually went, so he just interpreted Ben’s demise as the team letting their brother die, when Number 6 actually died as a hero.

Related: What Really Happened To Ben In The Umbrella Academy? Every Theory Explained

If Ben’s death had the impact it had on the Umbrella Academy, the opposite situation would also have obscure consequences on Ben. As mentioned above, when the Umbrella Academy returned to their present (2019) at the end of season 2, they landed on a different timeline where Reginald never killed himself and he formed The Sparrow Academy with six other children from the 43 babies – and Ben. As Reginald had no idea of how Ben looked when he met the Hargreeves in 1963, he adopted him in the new timeline and made him part of the Sparrow Academy. Ben, then, is alive in this 2019 timeline, and even though he appeared briefly right at the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2, he looks very different from the Ben the Hargreeves and viewers knew: this Ben has a scar across his face, a darker appearance, and an arrogant, borderline rude attitude, far from the kind and empathic Ben the Hargreeves grew up with.

Now, The Umbrella Academy season 3 is facing a paradox problem by having the Umbrellas arrive at this new timeline, and one way to fix it would be by having their versions from this timeline to be dead. Ben, then, could have unintentionally contributed to that thanks to the volatility of his powers, which would explain why this Ben is far more brooding – and he didn’t recognize them because they died when they were young (though that would leave a minor problem with Five, who still looks like his teenage self). The current timeline of The Umbrella Academy would then be a dark mirror of their original one, with Ben alive but held responsible for the death of his siblings, which deeply affected him to the point where he’s no longer the kind soul the Hargreeves grew up with, and it would solve the paradox problem of season 3. The Umbrella Academy has a lot of explaining to do in season 3, and the biggest questions are mostly about or related to Ben’s backstory in both timelines.

Next: Umbrella Academy Season 3 Is About The Multiverse - Theory Explained

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