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The Umbrella Academy cast talks 'overcoming trauma' and a 'soberer' Klaus in Season 2
If there’s anything the first season of Netflix’s adaptation of The Umbrella Academy taught us, it’s that it’s a real pain in the butt to be a Hargreeves sibling. The now-adult brood of adopted, super-powered personalities went through the wringer in Season 1 to try and avoid a global apocalypse spurred by the actions of one of their own, Vanya/The White Violin (Ellen Page).
Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well.
As a potential remedy in the season finale, Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) suggested that he teleport all of them back in time to try and attempt an "apocalypse do-over" together. Thus, the Hargreeves start Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy in 1960s Dallas, Texas, with another apocalypse deadline ticking, and an even more dysfunctional family dynamic confronting each of them.
With the entire second season premiering today on Netflix, SYFY WIRE is here to help set some context, as the cast who comprise the Hargreeves (sans David Castañeda/Diego) filled us in, without spoilers, on what to expect from each of their characters this season.
Number One - Luther Hargreeves (Tom Hopper)
On what Luther brings from the future with him into the past:
"One of the big things for me [this season] is that I wanted to find resolutions for Luther. A lot of stuff that he dealt with in Season 1, he got very mopey and very cry-baby-ish. I was like it'd be great if the '60s hardens him, and he's dealing with it [all] in a slightly different way. There's a dark edge to him when we first find him. And he's embracing his body. He's trimmed up. He's a little more athletic. I really enjoyed that initial side of it.
"And one of the conversations that we had as well was that this thing that happened with Vanya [in Season 1], that he deals with that guilt. He's holding onto a lot of that guilt and he has to deal with it. And I think that's important for him to do. And, in a way, it's quite therapeutic, cathartic for Luther [this season]."
On Luther’s new gig working for Jack Ruby:
"He realizes since he's been living there in the '60s, that he has found a world where he is accepted, and he's OK with that. The pressure is off for him working for Ruby [played by John Kapelos]. Luther just fights for a living. It's very easy for him. He earns his money, and he leads a very simple life, really.
"And in a way, he's kind of found another father figure in Ruby. I think that's the thing with Luther, he never really knew who he was, his own person. He lived his life through his father [Sir Reginald] and what his father wanted of him. And it's the same sort of thing with Ruby. He waits for Ruby to give him the order, and he does it. That's kind of what Luther has been blessed to be; someone that just takes orders and does it. And he even sees that with Five [this season]."
Number Three - Allison Hargreeves (Emmy Raver-Lampman)
On how the blank slate of the past changes Allison forever:
"When we meet Allison in the first season, she’s at a low and dealing with the harsh realities of having spent a life abusing her powers. The abuse from her father and the traumas of that, being recently divorced and losing her child [Claire] in a custody battle, and returning to her childhood home with her tail between her legs. And then Allison’s at an even lower low at the end of Season 1 because of Vanya and losing her powers. She’s got to take this leap of faith with her family in the hopes of saving Claire.
"Not having her powers and being instantly thrust into 1960s Dallas, Texas, which for her, specifically, is the segregated South, forces her to find a community to protect herself. Through that, she starts to find purpose in a way that she’s never had before. It’s completely unrelated to her past and being a superhero and having powers. We’re watching a very raw Alison come into existence."
On how Allison's Civil Rights fight provides her with a new purpose:
"This season provided a new beginning for her in a way that she was maybe hoping for when she returned home for the funeral [in Season 1]. And this is on the next level of finding a community that loves her and supports her and stands behind her. And finding love with a man [Rey] that she doesn’t have to manipulate into existence, and loves her for who she is and the thoughts that she has. And she’s finding this incredible inner strength that I don’t think she ever knew she had. Finding her power without using her powers is big for her. In playing it, it was fun to watch that self-discovery unfold as the episodes move along."
Number Four - Klaus Hargreeves (Robert Sheehan)
On what being a guru does to Klaus:
"I wanted to kind of give Klaus a false wisdom, and a kind of a weight that he carries around with him, mostly because of the adoration that he's found showered upon him for the past three years. Three years is a long time for people to be waiting on your every word. And I think with the kind of ego that Klaus has, he can very, very, very much see himself in that role, no problem. He was only too happy to play it.
"So, when we started off [Season 2], I was given the sense that he's believing in himself as this sort of godhead figure. And it's really only Ben [played by Justin Min] who keeps reminding him of what he really is behind it all. So, as soon as he's away from the cult, I think all the behaviors chip away a little bit. The adage I think works with Klaus is he's a little bit slower, a bit older, a bit soberer, and a bit sadder, 'cause it's just the way it is."
On having such a separate storyline for much of Season 2:
"[Ben and I] were all off doing our own little movie and very rarely crossed paths [with the cast], certainly for the first third to half of the season. It was nice, and so what was nice about watching it before Season 2 started was seeing what all those other movies looked like, seeing where everybody else was while I was at home scratching my a**." [Laughs.]
Number Five (Aidan Gallagher)
On playing a man out of time in the '60s era:
"To see the world that they were building for the second season, the context influences you. The '60s are definitely their own character. His siblings haven't been there for years, and he doesn’t know how much of the timeline has changed as a result of that. There's also a lot more acceptance and a need for forgiveness by his siblings. There are tons of different shades and flavors and colors that I got to play in Season 2 that were really fun, as both an actor and as a fan of the comic books, to see come to fruition."
On how Five changes in Season 2:
"He hasn’t had time to figure out who he is as a person. From the age of 13, his driving motivation is: survive, save the world, get back to your family. And slowly, he got gradually more insane and used Dolores the mannequin as this crutch to support his psyche during those traumatic years. Then he gets rushed around through all of these assassinations, so he's been moving from event to event for decades. He has never had time to figure out who he is as a person or just explore his humanity. And so, a lot of the scenes in the series are Five rushing around trying to wrangle his siblings together and prevent the end of the world.
"But in Season 2, he gets very vulnerable, gets very subtle. Vanya brings out a lot of Five’s humanity. And it was really fun to just see that and see who he is as a person. Five is very guarded. He's stubborn, short with his siblings, oftentimes not inclusive, but he's working on that. He's a very broken person."
Number Six - Ben Hargreeves (Justin Min)
On Ben's continuing adventures with Klaus:
"There's so much comfort and safety and joy that I feel working with Robert [Sheehan] now over the course of two seasons. That first day back on set on Season 2, I was like, 'Ugh, do I even remember how to play this character?' I put on the leather jacket, looked into Robert’s eyes, and the cameras rolled, and it was like riding a bike. It was like we locked right back in. And it's so nice to get to play with him."
On what Ben really wants from Klaus in this new era:
"As much as Ben makes fun of Klaus and bickers with him and can't stand him and wishes he would stop being so dumb, he also understands how much pain his brother is going through. And he ultimately only wants the best for him. So those moments, for me, are some of the most powerful, because they bring the humanity back to the relationship. It's not necessarily all fun and games and jokes all the time. But there are these definitely heartbreaking moments as well."
Number Seven - Vanya Hargreeves (Ellen Page)
On playing the very different Vanya living in the '60s:
"For me, it’s the same show in so many ways. The core of it is this family dynamic, but now it’s in the ‘60s and expanding in terms of setting the story in that period. For Vanya, it was awesome to get to play her after releasing a heck of a lot of repressed trauma [in Season 1]. She’s very different now. There’s a lightness. She can connect with people. She falls in love for the first time. She’s more in control of her powers, and able to relate to her emotions. It was so nice to get to play her further on [her] journey and having more of a sense of self in general."
On the impact of Sissy and Harlan in Vanya's life:
"Marin Ireland [Sissy] is a phenomenal actor and a wonderful person to work with, and Justin Paul Kelly [Harlan] is incredible. For me, telling that storyline in regards to Vanya, was about getting to play her falling in love and accessing the vulnerability that that requires and the emotion that requires. Knowing that before, she was in a place where she didn’t know how to connect to people and had no ability to figure it out because of her abusive and manipulative relationships. For Vanya, this is a massive turning point and I’m really glad about it because it was a beautiful storyline to shoot and I’m glad it’s going out into the world on a show with this reach and magnitude."
Come back for more of SYFY WIRE's The Umbrella Academy Season 2 coverage including spoiler-filled deep-dives on the whole season with showrunner Steve Blackman and the Season 2 finale.