The virtual CTAM panel for The Umbrella Academy kicked off with the opening battlefield scene from the sophomore season which debuted July 31 on Netflix. The new season finds our favorite dysfunctional family of superheroes in Dallas during the ’60s. After they take down some soldiers with their superpowers, Five (Aidan Gallagher) teleports out of there as the rest of the family looks up at a mushroom cloud — it’s a great way to start a second season.
On Tuesday, after some technical issues, showrunner and Executive Producer Steve Blackman talked about the new season alongside Gallagher as well as his Umbrella Academy siblings Ellen Page (Vanya), Emmy Raver-Lampman (Allison), David Castañeda (Diego) and Justin H. Min (Ben).
For season two, Blackwell said they they had the opportunity to explore new issues about racial identity and sexuality. He added, that the show takes on serious stories even though it takes place in a heightened world.
With the show taking place in the ’60s, the gang finds themselves in the middle of the civil rights movement — something that very much speaks to today. Raver-Lampman’s Allison becomes heavily involved in the movement during the series and the actress points out the impact of having the new season premiere now.
“It is driving home a point that there is still so much work to be done,” Raver-Lampman said of the show’s mirroring of today’s civic unrest and fight for social injustice. She points out that many people may see the struggle of our country as something that happened a long time ago in history. They may also see it as somewhat unrelated to today’s events, but it isn’t.
She continued, “Having Allison be part of the civil rights movement and watching violence play out in front of her eyes — there’s not a lot of difference between that violence and the violence we are watching on our televisions today.”
“We’re dealing with systemic racism in our country, injustice and hate on such a deeply rooted level,” she said. “Yes, there have been strides in the ending of hate and systemic racism but it’s nowhere near done and that is now on our shoulders of this generation and the generation to come. This season, especially in the wake of [the death] of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, is shining a brighter light on the fact that it is still relevant and that fight is still being fought.”
In addition, Vanya begins a romantic relationship in season 2 and gives the series an LGBTQ narrative — something we don’t see often in comic book series and films: a queer story that is a prominent storyline and theme. As a member of the LGBTQ community, Page had the opportunity to give an authentic portrayal of an LGBTQ romance on a mainstream series.
“For me, to have the opportunity to film a season where Vanya falls in love for the first time, to have this experience and have it be with a woman was a really exciting opportunity — especially since it takes place in the ’60s,” said Page. She adds that it was also an opportunity to show the obstacles of being a member of the LGBTQ community during that time when it was illegal and considered a mental illness.
She continued, “To be able to do it in a show that has the reach that it has and to tell a story that shows the beauty and the joy that these women have together and also reflects the realistic obstacles [they faced during that time].”
The cast also discussed the music chosen for the series, which has become one of its signatures — specifically the tune “I Think We’re Alone Now” which became the theme song to season 1 — and about their favorite “needle drops” during the season. One of the most-talked-about songs was the use of Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody” in season two (you’ll have to watch to find out).
Netflix hasn’t renewed The Umbrella Academy for a third season yet, so Blackman hasn’t made any plans — but he does hope that we will see the return of Ritu Arya’s Lila.