When Does 'The Umbrella Academy' Take Place? The New Netflix Show's Time Jumps Make It Confusing
"In October 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth," The Umbrella Academy trailer explains. Even more bizarre, none of these new mothers had been pregnant when the day started. The new Netflix show, based on Gerard Way's comics of the same name, follows six of these "miracle babies," all of whom were adopted by a strange man named Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore). And although the show hops around chronologically, we can reasonably assume that The Umbrella Academy takes place in present day.
After Hargreeves adopts these six children (well, seven, but one of them has died), he sequesters them away in a creepy mansion and proceeds to train them as superheroes for the next several years. Luther (Tom Hopper) is super strong (those arms may have tipped you off), while Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) — or, The Rumor — can alter "reality through suggestion," per The Hollywood Reporter. Diego (David Castañeda), aka The Kraken, is great with a knife and can hold his breath "indefinitely," and Number Five can travel through time. Klaus (Robert Sheehan) can speak to the dead and is called The Séance, and though Vanya (Ellen Page) doesn't appear to have any powers, it's hinted that there's more to the story: she's known as the White Violin.
However, an unknown event splits the kids apart when they're teenagers, and the series picks up 17 years later, just after their adopted father has passed away. The now-30-somethings reunite to to grieve their adopted father and figure out how he died. That said, it seems like they weren't too fond of their old man. "He was a monster," Diego comments bitterly in the trailer, as Luther scatters Mr. Hargreeves' ashes onto the ground.
The family's baseline reality appears to take place in present day, but there also seem to be various flashbacks to when they were teenagers. Based on the math, that would have been in the early aughts. Plus, the show also leaps into the not-so-distant future: Number Five comments that when he jumped forward in time, he witnessed the aftermath of an apocalypse, which isn't as far away as they all might like to hope. He reveals that the world is going to end in a mere eight days. So whether or not the series features much of a look at the future, their impending doom is a constant threat — if they're not able to stop it, that is.
Who are the people intent on ending the world? Hazel (Cameron Britton) and Cha Cha (Mary J. Blige) are assassins determined to make sure this mysterious event takes place, which causes the Umbrella Academy to band together to try and save humanity. Furthermore, it seems like these two villains are time travelers, as well, so Number Five may have his work cut out for him.
But while The Umbrella Academy may jump between the past, present, and future, the monkey butler and robot mom should alert viewers that it isn't exactly our version of 2019.