The Umbrella Academy Season 3: Who Are the Sparrow Academy? – IGN
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the first two seasons of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and The Umbrella Academy comic book series. Follow the link for our spoiler-free review of The Umbrella Academy Season 3.
The end of The Umbrella Academy Season 2 teased that the main cast is being joined in Season 3 by a (mostly) new group of actors who are playing the Sparrow Academy. This nasty gang are the students of Sir Reginald Hargreeves in the alternate present our heroes find themselves in during Season 3.
The extremely dysfunctional superpowered family has spent the past two seasons trying to stop apocalyptic events of their own making, so the question is what the future — or alt-present — has in store. The comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba that the show is based on likely have some answers, so let’s dig into some possibilities.
New Umbrella Academy Characters
Season 2 ended with the Hargreeves siblings having successfully stopped nuclear war from breaking out in 1963 and time-traveling back to 2019. Unfortunately, their time in the past seems to have significantly affected the future. As Number Five explains in the trailer for the new season, their jump back to the present somehow created a time paradox — which then brought forth “the freaking Kugelblitz.” Basically, all of existence only has a few days before it’s wiped out.
But also, in this new reality the Academy itself is significantly different. Though their adoptive father Sir Reginald Hargreeves had killed himself in 2019 (in Season 1) in a bid to reunite the Umbrella Academy with the hope that they would prevent the end of the world, apparently in this timeline he’s still alive and found a new group of superpowered kids to turn into a superhero team. Also, it seems he’s a pretty horrible father in both timelines.
At the end of Season 2, when the Hargreeves siblings return from 1963 to their home in 2019, they discover it’s now the base of the Sparrow Academy, a group led by their dead sibling Ben (Justin H. Min), who also apparently didn’t die in this new timeline. Posing behind him, with their faces obscured so that the actors and characters could be revealed later, are the members of this entirely different squad. Presumably they’re made up of members of the strange group of 43 children who were born on the same day in 1989, just like the Umbrella Academy gang.
Who Are the Sparrow Academy?
The Sparrow Academy does feature significantly in the third collection of the comics, Hotel Oblivion. Vanya is left seriously injured by her fight with the rest of the Umbrella Academy and spends much of the time after that incident trying to recover physically and mentally. In Hotel Oblivion, her robotic mother, who didn’t die in the comics as she did in the show’s first season, takes her to meet a friend named Deever who once worked with Reginald Hargreeves. It’s likely that he was involved in the same project to locate and train the 43 children.
After Deever grills Vanya, her mother (called Grace in the show but just Mom in the comics) takes her to Paris where she meets a woman wearing a red jacket with a sparrow pin similar to the umbrella logo members of the Umbrella Academy sport. The woman tells Vanya that she’s “coming home” and leads her to a remote facility in Norway where she says Vanya will find family. Later, seven members of the Sparrows bail out the Umbrella Academy during a big fight. Their Number One greets Luther as a brother, further reinforcing the idea that they’re all from the same group of children.
That’s the very last scene in Hotel Oblivion, but more is coming. Gerard Way is currently working on Volume 4 of the main series of comics, called Sparrow Academy. Season 3 of the show is based on this volume of the comic, even though it’s not out yet. It seems the show will start answering the questions posed in Hotel Oblivion even before the comics.
The Sparrow Academy Powers
One big departure in the show is that Ben is alive and part of the Sparrow Academy. But beyond him, the comics don’t provide a ton of info about the Sparrows beyond a hint as to their powers. Vanya is in a wheelchair when she first meets a member of the Sparrow Academy and insists that she can’t walk. When the woman says “I don’t believe you,” Vanya discovers to her surprise that she can actually walk. When she asks how that’s possible, the woman responds “I said so.” That strongly hints that she might have the sort of extremely powerful mind-controlling and reality-warping powers of Allison Hargreeves, who can make something true just by saying “I heard a rumor…”
All of the members of the Sparrow Academy seem to be able to fly in the comics, though it’s unclear if they each individually have that power, if one character gives the others the power, or if they’re using technology. The powers demonstrated by the members of the Sparrow Academy in the comics are:
- Dark energy eye blasts
- Transforming into a flock of birds
- A human voodoo doll who can hurt themselves in order to damage enemies
- Super strength
- The ability to make Vanya walk again
Netflix has revealed what to expect from the Sparrows in the show. They include:
- Marcus, a.k.a. Sparrow No. 1, will be played by Justin Cornwell and is apparently the group’s leader. “Graceful but lethal, calculated but compassionate, he is as smart as he is strong,” says Netflix.
- Justin H. Min returns as Ben, Sparrow No. 2. This alternate Ben is described as “a Machiavellian tactician, wrapped up in a pretty boy body with a rumbling inner-squid.” He’s “vicious, pragmatic, and hyper-vigilant” and wants to become the leader of the group.
- Fei, Sparrow No. 3, will be played by Britne Oldford. She “sees the world in a special way” and “comes across as a misanthrope who would rather be alone than spend even a second with you.”
- Alphonso, Sparrow No. 4, is played by Jake Epstein as a person whose face and body are scarred with “countless visual reminders of his battles” from his years of crime-fighting.
- Sloane, Sparrow No. 5, is played by Genesis Rodriguez and is described as “a romantic and a dreamer who feels a higher cosmic calling leaving her eager to see the world and experience a life beyond her upbringing.”
- Jayme, Sparrow No. 6, is played by Cazzie David and is “a loner hidden under a hoodie.”
- Christopher, Sparrow No. 7, is “a telekinetic cube of unknown origin,” per Netflix. “He can turn the room freezing cold and induce paralyzing fear. He acts as the Sparrows’ consulted oracle who hands out incredible advice and serves as the family mediator.”
Who’s the Real Enemy of Umbrella Academy Season 3?
With the Handler dead, the Temps Commission in friendly hands, and Vanya rehabilitated, the Umbrella Academy is going to need a new villain. Maybe it’ll be the Sparrow Academy and just the Sparrow Academy, or it’s possible that the season’s main antagonist will be Reginald, especially since last season revealed that he’s an alien in disguise — something shown in the comic’s first issue. But Hotel Oblivion also offers plenty of other options too.
The titular location in the Hotel Oblivion comics is a pocket dimension where Hargreeves sent all the supervillains that the Umbrella Academy defeated over the years, kind of like a more disturbing version of the Phantom Zone. How the hotel will figure into Season 3 of the show remains to be seen! And you know what? You can go binge it right now.
Note: This story originally ran on January 12, 2021. It was updated on June 22, 2022, with the latest information.