28 facts about The Umbrella Academy that you probably didn't know

11 August 2020, 17:51 | Updated: 15 August 2020, 19:14

By Katie Louise Smith

Aidan Gallagher's age meant that he "wasn’t even allowed in the building if a gun was going off".

For those of us who binge-watched the entire thing in one sitting, The Umbrella Academy season 2 has now been and gone.

Now all that's left for us to do is sit and wait for news of a season 3 so we can finally find out what the hell is gonna happen with the Sparrow Academy – and see if our theories about that mysterious green box are correct.

If you're a fan of the show, you'll probably know everything there is to know about the ins-and-outs of filming, but whether you're an Umbrella Academy expert or just a casual watcher, there's tons of behind-the-scenes facts for you to sink your teeth into.

From the filming secrets to the differences in the comics, here's a whole bunch of facts from both season 1 and season 2 that you might not know about your fave superhero show.

READ MORE: All the hidden Sparrow Academy symbols in Umbrella Academy season 2

Umbrella Academy facts: 26 things you probably didn't know
Umbrella Academy facts: 26 things you probably didn't know. Picture: Netflix

1) Gerard Way was inspired by his time in My Chemical Romance while writing the early comics.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gerard revealed: "There's little bits of me in all the characters, there's bits of some of the guys in some of those characters and the different roles that we would play in the band and how those roles would change sometimes... We were in a big pressure cooker of fame and notoriety and the characters experience that in the comic and the show."

2) The Netflix series was originally meant to be a film.

In the same interview, Gerard revealed that Universal were originally attached to turn it into a film, but it just didn't work out.

3) An entire season of the show takes around 18 months to produce.

Show-runner Steve Blackman revealed just how long it takes to write, film and edit the show takes in an interview with IndieWire. Season 1 was released in February 2019, with season 2 following with a late July 2020 release.

4) The dynamic of the siblings on the show is inspired by Wes Anderson.

Speaking to Alternative Press, Blackman revealed that he was inspired by how Anderson "creates dysfunctional family shows". Way also previously confirmed Anderson's work was an inspiration when it came to the comics too.

5) Tom Hopper was the very first Hargreeves sibling to be cast.

Despite having a ton of screen tests with other actors, he didn't actually meet Emmy Raver-Lampman until after she was cast as Allison.

6) Aidan Gallagher was one of the last people to audition for Five.

Blackman was worried he wasn't going to find the perfect actor for Five, until he saw Aidan Gallagher's audition tape: "I’d seen over 320 kids. And this tape pops on and the kid looks at the camera and goes, 'I will kill for this role.' That was Aidan. And he was great." (via Vulture)

7) Justin H. Min kept his role on the show a secret from his family.

On the day that season 1 was released, Justin revealed that his role was so top secret, that he had to tell his family and friends that he was "taking a semester abroad" in Toronto. When he booked the show, he and his manager still had no idea who he was playing.

8) The role of Ben was so under wraps, Justin had a fake name on his trailer door.

On Instagram, Justin shared a photo of his trailer door with the name "Jake" on it. According to his caption, there were "many, many" codenames used to hide the fact that he was playing Ben, aka Number 6. "Miller, Jerry, Jake, someone was calling me Rebecca at one point."

9) Ellen Page actually learned how to play the violin in order to play Vanya...

While speaking to PopBuzz in 2019, Ellen revealed that she can play a "slightly decent Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" but that's about it. She was lucky enough to have a teacher on set who was, as she says, very patient with her.

10) And for the more complex scenes, she had a 16-year-old stand in.

Ellen's body double for those professional violin scenes was a 16-year-old prodigy, named Imogen Sloss. Imogen is a Canadian violinist who won first-place at the 2017 Ontario Musical Festival Association. (via Classic FM)

Watch Ellen discuss her violin scenes in the video below.

11) There's a reason why the Hargreeves siblings' TV show powers are different to the ones in the comics.

David Castañeda explained to Digital Spy that they skipped over Diego's ability to hold his breath underwater to make him a little more realistic. "[Showrunner Steve Blackman] wanted to ground the comic book even more," he explained. "There's something about seeing someone who has actually no real supernatural powers and only being able to throw things with precision that kind of makes people be like, 'Oh, I can see that, I can put that person in real life and I can see it play out as a human being.'"

12) While season 2 is set in Dallas, the majority of the show was filmed in Canada.

The only scenes that were actually shot in Dallas were the establishing shots of the Grassy Knoll at Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated. Like season 1, most of the season was filmed in Toronto, and other locations in Canada. (via Business Insider)

12) In season 1, the weather in Toronto was -10 degrees while the cast were shooting Hargreeves' funeral scene.

Artificial rain was dumped on them too, so it was absolutely freezing.

13) The snow in the final fight scene of season 2 was real.

While it looked like the snow around the barn was the result of Harlan's outburst of power, and was strategically placed by set production, it actually wasn't. Emmy Raver-Lampman revealed that there was an actual snow storm that passed through while filming and they all had to work around it. (via Collider)

14) The dance scene between Allison and Luther in season 1 was choreographed by Ellen Page's wife Emma.

Emma Portner is a professional choreographer. On The Kelly Clarkson Show, Ellen spoke about Emma's involvement with the show: "She choreographed this beautiful dance scene, in the park with the lights, this very long dance and Tom hadn’t danced that much before and she’s just so fun and she’s just so good at breaking all that down."

15) Aidan Gallagher wasn’t allowed on set when guns were being used.

In an interview with Express.co.uk, Cameron Britton (who plays Hazel) revealed that Aidan (who was 15 at the time) "wasn’t even allowed in the building if a gun was going off" due to child working laws. Most of the scenes featuring Five in the middle of gunfire were actually shot using Aidan's body double.

16) The actor who played Herb in season 2 was the body actor for Pogo in season 1.

Before becoming a member of The Commission, Ken Hall previously donned a motion capture suit to play Pogo in season 1. English actor Adam Godley provided the voice for adult Pogo.

17) In season 2, a human played the role of Baby Pogo.

Speaking to Metro, Jordan Claire Robbins (who plays Grace) revealed that Baby Pogo was played by a female with an athletic background: "She’d done a lot of high level competing in different sports and so she was really great with moving her body in that way."

18) Luther's body is not CGI, it's a real bodysuit that Tom Hopper has to wear throughout filming.

Speaking to Elle, Tom said he did a lot of training to get bigger for the role but eventually, they decided to go with a muscle suit to bring across Luther's size on-screen.

19) Luther's struggles with his body were inspired by Gerard Way's own personal struggles.

Taking to Instagram, Gerard wrote: "One of the things the show tackled more than the comic was body horror, and I think they did a great job with that. Also a feeling that I have had and I know some of us have had where we aren’t comfortable in your own skin, or you are unhappy with your body or how it will be judged, or finding yourself covering up (I spent years doing this)."

20) In season 1, Mary J. Blige learned martial arts and did most of her own stunt scenes.

Blackman revealed in an interview with Vulture that Mary J. Blige only agreed to do the role if she could do her own stunts: "So I got on the phone with Mary and she’s like, 'If you let me punch and shoot and do my stunts, I’m in.' And the rest is history...

21) In season 2, Robert Sheehan and Justin H. Min had to choreograph the scene where Klaus is trying to remove Ben's spirit from his body.

While breaking down the scene shot by shot for Netflix, the duo revealed that they had to figure out how many times they could fight while running the length of the alley way. They also had to mirror each other so that it actually looked like the two were fighting.

22) Robert also studied Justin closely to be able to pull off his mannerisms while Ben possesses him.

Speaking to Polygon, Sheehan revealed that he got Justin to do "videos on repeat". He continued: "Annoyed him. Impersonated him. Followed him around."

23) Aidan Gallagher revealed that he listened to MCR's The Black Parade to get into the zone in season 2.

In an interview with EW, Aidan said that he listened to the album to help him with the time psychosis vibes of Five.

24) Justin H Min had no idea he was coming back as a new character.

In an interview with E! News, Justin revealed that he thought his final scene ever on the show was when Ben was saying goodbye to Vanya. "A couple weeks after we shot that scene, I was legitimately starting to pack my things, get ready to leave Toronto," he explained. "I get this top secret email from Steve Blackman, our showrunner, who just sent out the last three pages of the script just to the cast members, just to the seven family members. Of course I opened it and I read it, I was sort of just screaming and crying in the middle of my Toronto apartment alone." 

25) Justin also knows a bit about how Ben died but he's not allowed to say... obviously.

Speaking to Collider, Justin said that he "know[s] some stuff" but that's all he's able to say. The mystery surrounding Ben's death on the show is very intentional, he says. "If we didn’t at least have hints of how he had died and under what circumstances, it wouldn’t really have made a lot of sense, so we’ve definitely discussed it. I don’t even have all of the clear answers myself. I’m sure Steve, and maybe Gerard [Way] know, but I have crumbs."

26) The comics act as a guideline for the show and day one readers will know that there's a LOT of differences...

As we've already mentioned, the powers that the siblings have are a little different in the comics. But there's also some wild character differences in the comics too. For example, it's revealed that Luther and Five are actually twins, as they were born to the same mother on October 1st 1989. In Dallas, it's revealed that Klaus has a daughter. And most shocking of all, Diego and Vanya have a romantic thing in the comics.

27) The Handler was originally meant to be a man.

Speaking on Live! With Kelly and Ryan, Kate Walsh revealed that her iconic role was originally meant for a "Jon Hamm-type." Kate revealed that Steve Blackman called her personally and asked if she wanted the role, when they decided to take The Handler in a different direction.

28) The Sparrow Academy's uniforms are the opposite colours of the Umbrella Academy's uniforms.

Ugh! This show! Genius!