Time to Enroll – THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

It’s that time of year again: early mornings, late nights, last minute papers, and saving the world. Don’t worry if you don’t know what classes you want to take, what major you want to pursue, or even what superpowers you have yet. If you haven’t registered for classes yet, late registration might be open still. With luck, and if you meet the requirements, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY may be the one for you.

There were forty-three extraordinary births to single mothers with no signs of pregnancy at random locations around the world. If you were one of these children, The Umbrella Academy will surely take in your procrastinated enrollment. Recently, it was announced that Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY will be made into a live-action NETFLIX series. We enter the home of Sir Reginald Hargreeves a.k.a The Monocle to explore what may or may not work in this live action setting.

WILL: Unique Cast of Characters and Family Aspect

Overall, they may not be family by blood, but growing up together from birth creates a natural bond. Of course, they would not be considered a normal family. Growing up with code names and a number between 1-7 can cause some mental problems. Your home being more like a boarding school, uniform and all, than the love and care children need, well, the lasting effects on the psyche seem inevitable. Each child also has a unique power and ability of some sort, similar to say the X-MEN. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is more what if Professor X was attempting to be a father, and experimented on his students as well.

Seeing this on the screen can open some of these personal issues that each child is experiencing. They can dive in a bit more to each character. We can get a better understanding of some of the emotional trauma from their experience. Not only growing up trying to impress Daddy Hargreeves but what it’s like to have these powers and separated from other children their age. They have so much to play with here, the stubborn leader proving himself, the rebel, the failed dead father, the secret love connection, the presumed to be useless one. These aspects and character concepts all come out well explained within the book, but the expansion on the screen will give the universe a bigger outlook on each one.

The Umbrella Academy Page One
Image Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

READ: Want more of Gerard Way’s storytelling? Check out DOOM PATROL VOLUME ONE! 

WON’T: Adding Too Much

Comic book fans are known for their anger of altered adaptations. Although it is a great plus on what they can expand storywise, it may also end up hurting the show. With luck, the series will have Gerard Way’s blessing and can be an amazing adaptation with new material, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Taking too much, or cutting too little may distract from the actual storyline. If they drift too far it could wind up focusing on the wrong characters and moments.

WILL: Expansion On Missing Days

The book does do a dramatic jump from them being ten years old to close to thirty. We know that a lot happened during that time, like number one becoming Space Boy, a half monkey half human living on the moon. Their later years growing up, becoming teenagers, and adults are all cut out of the book for the most part. Those missing Jesus years would give new and old fans some great insight on each character.  Seeing some development during those times would help not only fill one-hour episodes but continue to grow the universe.

The Umbrella Academy Page 16
Image Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

WON’T – Damn Dirty Apes

As spectacular and promising as the series seems, there are some live-action aspects that may be hard to capture. One would be the many monkeys running around. #00.01 a.k.a. Space Boy, the team leader (for the most part), seems to be the hardest to capture. After a mission to Mars gone wrong, The Monocle had to transplant #1’s head onto a Martian gorilla. A great concept and look on the page, but on a live-action screen, we have some doubts there. The oversized body would most likely be fully CGI, so let’s hope the budget is looking good.

Another main character in the book is the beloved Alfred Pennyworth-esque, butler and assistant to The Monocle, the talking chimp, Dr. Pogo. He helped watch over the children and has a very strong role throughout both volumes of the series. It will be interesting to see how they will approach both characters to not let down fans. Personally, an animated adaptation seems for fit for the show because of these characters. There is also the flying robots and atomic elbow smashes to consider portraying.

The Umbrella Academy issue 2 Page 11
Image Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

READ: Check out TITANS preview for their Live-Action debut! 

WILL: Potential for Future Seasons

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY only has two volumes released and the third underway as of now. Not only do they have room for a minimum of three seasons from the start, filling in extra character backgrounds and storylines not already written in the comics leaves the series open to plenty of future ongoing seasons. Maybe not big enough for spin-offs, but adventures of the past and future would be a great move for them. With expanding on the character’s background a bit more, they can potentially break each volume into two seasons.

Time For Class

Overall, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY seems very promising as a NETFLIX produced series. With all the success NETFLIX has had already with their shows, we’re sure to get something great. Since there has only been the announcement of it becoming a show and no footage or casting, we can’t put doubt in what it will turn out like yet. For those who haven’t fallen in love with the action-packed, time-traveling, music personified series, there are two volumes out by DARK HORSE right now. It’s a splendid series that gets better with every issue that you’re sure to fall in love with.

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