It’s no secret that I’m a really big fan of the Netflix show The Umbrella Academy.  This year, we get to look forward to the third season dropping, and what better way to start off the year than to talk about what we know so far?

On December 31st, the official Umbrella Academy social media accounts posted a blank poster, with the mysterious caption: “incoming.”

Two days later they dropped posters for the Sparrow Academy members, one of the first official looks of the upcoming season’s antagonists.

At the end of season 2, we got a look at the new timeline’s Ben, but for the rest of the Sparrows, we only got to see some silhouettes.  Now we’ve got names and powers, which lends itself to some juicy speculation.

First thing first: we have to talk about what we know from the comics.  In the comics, the Sparrows are shown to have the following powers: super strength/resilience, eyeball energy beams à la Cyclops, transforming into a murder of crows, and levitation.  We only get one of their names (Carla) and Carla is missing from the season 3 roster.  So, not all of the powers of the new characters are known and some of this is speculation.  The only thing we’ve gotten from Netflix aside from the official character descriptions on social media is this list of emojis: 💪 🐙 🐦 💥 🌑 😵‍💫 🧊

But I think there’s an ample amount of info (or at least conjecture) we can get from that.  Let’s dive in!

Number 1

Marcus, played by Justin Cromwell, is the super-strong head of the team and a great foil for Luther.  Like Luther, he’s the leader of the team, but unlike Luther, exudes natural confidence, whereas Luther often seems to lack any talent or enthusiasm for leadership.  He’s the team golden boy, as Luther was meant to be before Ben’s death, Luther’s accident, and Reginald’s utter disappointment with the original team.  Incidentally, a lot of people have noticed that Reginald’s decision to adopt different children was likely influenced by Reginald meeting them as adults in the 1960s.  Which explains why he re-adopted the one Umbrella Academy child he didn’t meet…

Number 2

Yay! Ben is back! …sort of!

Ben, played by Justin Min, was originally Number 6 of the Umbrella Academy.  Now he’s Number 2.  He still has the power to summon eldritch tentacle horror monsters from a portal in his abdomen, as far as we know, but now, instead of being a friendly ghost, he’s a sly, ruthless, embittered Number 2 who wants to be the leader.  This reminds me quite a bit of Diego’s own bitterness at being Number 2 to Luther.

Number 3

Fei, played by Britne Oldford, is said to be the smartest member of the team who is willing and able to negotiate, and “sees the world in a special way.”  We’ve also seen her described with a bird emoji on official social media accounts.  From the comics, we know there’s a character who can transform into a flock of birds.  Is that Fei’s power?  Perhaps, because on social media, one picture of Fei was posted with the caption, “she literally hangs with birds.”  Or is her power something sight-related, hence the sunglasses in the poster and the scarring around the face?  Or did birds claw out her eyes??  Does she view the world through the eyes of birds?  We’re not sure what’s going on with Fei, but Fei definitely seems to be a good analogue for Allison, whose power to manipulate people with speech makes her arguably the “negotiator” of the original team.

Number 4

Alphonso, played by Jake Epstein, is”a scarred crime-fighter with a caustic and biting sense of humor who enjoys verbally berating his enemies.”  He also likes beer.  Supposedly, he has the ability of “empathetic masochism,” which is the ability to transfer injury to others by inflicting it on himself, like some kind of living voodoo doll.  You know who else was tortured by his power, enjoys alcohol, and is the queen of sass?  Klaus Hargreeves.

Number 5

Sloane, played by Genesis Rodriguez, is described by Netflix as “a romantic dreamer eager to see the world beyond the academy. Even though she feels tied down to her family, Sloane has plans of her own… and she may just act on them.”  That sounds a lot like the sort of thing that Five experienced when he was 13 and ended up flinging himself forward in time.  We don’t yet know Sloane’s power, though on Twitter, the official account claims Sloane “thinks she’s totally above us,” which indicates levitation and/or gravity manipulation.  If we’re following the trend of each character playing an analogue to their UA counterpart then I believe her power will likely have to do with movement through space, as Five’s does, which means gravity manipulation is certainly a possibility.

Number 6

Jayme, played by Cazzie David, has a “fear-inducing” snarl and “doesn’t say much.”  Ben didn’t say much, either, on account of the whole, um, death thing.  As for the snarl, I don’t know if this indicates a sound-based power (like Black Canary) or just a facial expression that stops people in their tracks.  Or perhaps she can transform into some kind of monster?  Ben’s power is monster-based.  Of course, the Umbrella Academy version of Ben is dead, so it’s a good thing Jayme is described as a “loner,” since her UA buddy won’t be around this upcoming season.

Number 7

Alluringly foxy

Christopher, indisputably the dreamiest member of the Sparrows, is a telekinetic cube with the ability to freeze enemies… either with ice, terror, or devilishly good looks.  In addition to cold inducement and paralyzing fear inducement, the character description names Christopher as the team “oracle,” so his telekinesis powers might be broader than just “freezing.”  In any case, he does seem pretty powerful and a definite “other” compared to the rest (you can’t help but notice how remarkably attractive he is), so I think Christopher will face off with Vanya as the OP heavy-hitter of the team.  Vanya was never accepted by her siblings, but according to the official character description of Christopher, he’s treated as “just another sibling.”

Fans are already speculating on what season 3 holds, but one thing I’m marginally confident of is that we’ll see each of the Umbrella Academy members face off against their numerical counter-parts in the Sparrow Academy.  It’s just good parallel story construction, and very intuitive from a screenwriting standpoint.

If we don’t see that, then I will eat my shoe, Werner Hertzog-style.

All together now!

Here’s my breakdown for the numerical fight pairings:

Luther v. Marcus: I feel like it would be almost impossible not to have the two brawlers end up in a brawl.  Luther is legally obligated to throw a punch every season, and what better target than the man who stole Daddy’s heart and ended up being everything Luther wasn’t?  I predict they get into a huge knock-down fight and Luther loses, much to Reginald’s ongoing disappointment.

Diego v. Ben: Diego’s ability to manipulate the trajectory of thrown objects like knives means he can stand back and avoid Ben’s tentacles long enough to get in a few good hits.  My hope is that in season 3 we also see Diego’s comic book ability: to hold his breath underwater indefinitely.  This would make for a really good “Kraken” scene, with Diego (whose superhero name is The Kraken) facing off against Ben’s tentacle monsters underwater.  I give Ben the edge on this one, with the expectation that Diego will hold back, not wanting to injure “Ben.”

Allison v. Fei: If Fei has some sort of eyeball-based ability, it would be a fun complement to Allison’s verbal ability.  Imagine when negotiations fail, and Fei is running around with her fingers in her ears while trying to stare down Allison, and Allison is running around with her eyes closed while shouting.  Sensory-based abilities always match up well with creative writers so this could be a unique fight scene to witness.  On the other hand, there’s a lot of conjecture that Fei’s actual ability is to turn into a murder of crows.  In which case, I have to ask… does mental manipulation work on birds?  Asking for a friend.  Not knowing Fei’s power for certain, I think Allison will win, but it will be by a surprisingly narrow margin.

Klaus v. Alphonso: These two will face off, crack a few jokes, and then hit the bar, where Klaus will dissolve into a weepy puddle about their shared trauma.  Alphonso wins.

Five v. Sloane: I honestly can’t imagine Five losing a fight.  I think Sloane will pull some gravity shenanigans and Five will poof through them, resulting in a weird portalling scene that looks like something out of a video game.  But Sloane’s surprise at Five’s adaption to her powers (which usually completely stop people) will give him the upper hand, and Five will win.  Later, Sloane will reveal her desire to leave the family, and Five will give a contemplative speech about how he, too, wanted to leave but always regretted it.

Jayme v. Lila: Jayme may be a loner but she’s still going to get her battle, and I predict it will be against Lila, who will make a surprise appearance later in the season.  Jayme will be absolutely kicking ass until Lila shows up, pulls the ol’ Reverse Uno, and wins a flawless victory for Team Umbrella.

Vanya v. Christopher: Vanya is so OP and is 2/2 for ending the world in prior seasons, but Christopher is so devastatingly gorgeous that the fans won’t stand to see him beaten in combat.  So if they battle, it will be a wash, with Christopher stopping Vanya from ever engaging, perhaps by giving her a single red rose and making her fall in love with him.  No, but seriously, I think that, knowing that sound is amplified by cold and sound waves refract toward cold, these two won’t fight but team up, perhaps uniting the two teams at the end in a surprise Vanya-Saves-The-World-This-Time switcheroo.

Based on my completely unfounded fan predictions about the fights and the outcomes, we’re left with a tie, leaving us no closer to knowing which team to root for (although it’s worth noting only one has a heart-stoppingly sexy cube).

As far as plot goes, all we have to go on is the episode title list, which was released during Netflix’s Geeked Week.

That, and the pinned Tweet from the official Netflix page that shows a hotel bell and tells fans to “pack their bags.”  Could it be a teaser for Hotel Oblivion?

I guess we’ll just have to keep waiting for a release date.  None has been announced yet, although it’s worth noting that filming wrapped in September.  Last year, there were 8 months between the film wrapping in November and the release in July, but there were also significant delays due to the pandemic.  So while there’s no release date yet, I will make one final, completely unfounded prediction, which is that we’re likely to see season 3 drop sometime in the early summer months of 2022, or maybe even in spring.