Umbrella Academy: Everything We Know About Reginald Hargreeves' Origins

Warning: SPOILERS for The Umbrella Academy season 2 below.

Reginald Hargreeves' origin story has been one of the ongoing mysteries of Netflix's The Umbrella Academy. He adopted 7 out of the 43 gifted babies born on October 1, 1989, but it turns out there's something special about him as well. Let's dive into everything that's known about him in The Umbrella Academy, why Reginald Hargreeves came to Earth, and whether or not he came from the future. 

Reginald decided to train the children he adopted as superheroes to save the world. As this was his sole mission in life, he acted more as a headmaster than a father to his children. For this reason, most of his children grew up to resent him. Since he never grew close to the Umbrella Academy, there's a high probability that none of them ever knew their dad's actual background.

Related: Umbrella Academy Season 3’s Ben Change Redeems Season 1’s Luther

The Monocle is actually an extraterrestrial being disguised as a wealthy entrepreneur — but why did the alien Reginald Hargreeves leave his home planet and head to Earth? The comics have shared parts of his origin story, but the show is just starting to explore it. Here's a deep dive into Reginald Hargreeves' origin story in The Umbrella Academy and what it could mean for the show in season 3 and beyond.

Reginald Hargreeves' origin story from the Umbrella Academy comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá remained the same for the Netflix adaptation. His home planet was ravaged by nuclear war, so he traveled to Earth for sanctuary in the 20th century. Reginald disguised himself as a human and climbed the ranks in society by becoming a world-famous scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and even an Olympic gold medalist. On top of all those accomplishments, he is also known by the moniker "The Monocle," due to the magical monocle he wears that allows him to view people's true nature. He gained enough clout that, by the time he adopted the children of the Umbrella Academy, he was something of a celebrity.

Reginald founded the Umbrella Academy intending to assemble a team of superheroes who would one day save the world. While the true meaning of his words was a little vague, it can be assumed he was referring to the apocalypse in The Umbrella Academy season 1. There are theories surrounding the answers, but it's never been entirely clear how Reginald knew the babies would be gifted or that an apocalypse would come in their lifetime. But the mystery is a vital part of Reginald's character that carried over into the television adaptation of The Umbrella Academy.

For that reason, only a sliver of Reginald Hargreeves' origin story has been told in The Umbrella Academy. Though, now that it's been revealed he's an alien, season 3 is sure to take a closer look. The audience simply isn't meant to understand everything about him. But The Umbrella Academy has shown Reginald Hargreeves to be a fascinating character meant to propel the storyline forward.

Related: Umbrella Academy: Klaus’ Weird Sparrow Ben Reaction Sets Up Season 3

The Umbrella Academy season 1 is focused on the disbandment and reunion of the Umbrella Academy, and Reginald is the reason for both of those events. Early episodes reveal just how cold and distant he is toward his adopted children. He strictly viewed them as tools to stop the apocalypse, so he never showed the kids an ounce of love. But while he may not have loved them the way a father truly should, the show alludes to the fact that Reginald may have had a hand in creating them.

The Umbrella Academy season 1 finale strongly hints at the fact that comic fans already know: Reginald is an alien. The episode opens with Reginald saying goodbye to his lover on a foreign planet. As they say their final goodbyes, Reginald opens a jar of golden orbs that float away into the sky. The scene cuts to him arriving on Earth in the 1920s as he prepares to purchase an umbrella manufacturing company, which comic fans know is what made him his fortune.

Those golden orbs have spurred a theory about Reginald that continues to circulate since The Umbrella Academy season 1 — that Reginald gave the Umbrella Academy their powers. It would be an interesting twist that would explain Reginald's obsession with those 43 babies. Ultimately, The Umbrella Academy only provided small hints as to Reginald's origins. The show's second season builds on that foundation to begin to put the puzzle pieces in place. The Umbrella Academy seasons 3 and 4 should reveal more about Reginald Hargreeves' origin story.

The Umbrella Academy season 2 takes the Umbrella Academy to the 1960s, where they run into a younger version of Reginald. The Hargreeves siblings learn something surprising about their father when they finally meet him: he is, in fact, capable of love. The Umbrella Academy season 1 introduced the kids' robotic "mom," Grace. It turns out that the robot was based on the likeness of a woman Reginald was very much in love with in the 1960s. Since Reginald was driven to create a robotic copy of her, it's safe to assume that their love story ended in tragedy, likely driving him to shut off his ability to express love.

Related: Why Sparrow Ben Can Be Even More Powerful Than The Umbrella Academy's

But the Umbrella Academy is still not privy to the most important revelation of all. Much of The Umbrella Academy season 2's plot centers on Reginald's involvement in JFK's assassination. He's revealed to be working alongside a top-secret organization known as the Majestic 12. As Reginald did not want to see JFK killed, he attempted to break ties with the organization. They did not take well to that and made the mistake of threatening to expose his secret. With his back turned to the audience, Reginald takes off a mask to unveil his alien form and slaughters the members of Majestic 12.

The Umbrella Academy has a way of revealing information about Reginald that only leads to more questions. It's clear that Reginald is an alien with some kind of power and a potentially heartbreaking past. But the full extent of his origin, and its connection to the Umbrella Academy, is yet to be seen. The season 2 finale set up a heavier focus on Reginald for The Umbrella Academy season 3. When the Hargreeves returned to their rightful place in 2019, they created an alternate timeline. Their home was no longer theirs, and Reginald was not their father. He adopted another group of gifted children instead, dubbing them the Sparrow Academy.

With season 2's revelation regarding Reginald Hargreeves' origin story, there are a couple of places that The Umbrella Academy season 3 could go. For those who haven't read the comics, there are burning questions about why Reginald came to Earth, whether he's a product of time travel, and how his origins will affect the story. So far, The Umbrella Academy has been following the comics closely regarding Reginald. However, the series has been known to deviate from its source, even with the advent of those named in the Sparrow Academy — which is known only in the comics as the Sparrows and serves a very different function. If the show so chooses, then Reginald Hargreeves' origin story will follow the comics. This means that The Umbrella Academy season 3 may focus on why Hargreeves came to Earth, once he reveals his alien identity to his "children." According to the books, Reginald came to Earth when his planet faced nuclear war during the 20th century, and the rest is ancient history.

But why did Reginald Hargreeves come to Earth? The show's approach to this mystery will likely take its lead from the comics. Some people believe that the Monocle is from a future Earth, and he went back in time to stop the apocalypse — which is why he started the Umbrella Academy in the first place. This could be supported by the fact that he started the Sparrow Academy in their place once Five created the Kugelblitz with his time paradox, and, therefore, probably failed in his mission. However, it's doubtful that Reginald came from the future, and The Umbrella Academy TV show will most likely stick to the comic books on this one.

Related: Umbrella Academy's Hotel Obsidian Is A Worse Threat Than The Sparrows

The Umbrella Academy's intervention in the 1960s clearly changed the course of Reginald's life. In order to fill in the gaps, it's safe to assume that The Umbrella Academy season 3 will dive into Reginald's new timeline and the origins of the Sparrow Academy. Along the way, the Hargreeves siblings may finally learn the truth about their father's alien origins.

Next: Hargreeves Is The Reason The Umbrella Academy Can Beat The Sparrows

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The Umbrella Academy Season 3 debuts 06/22/2022 on Netflix

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