This post contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy season three.
Elliot Page, who came out as transgender in December 2020 has now reflected his real transition on Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. Viewers were first introduced to Viktor Hargreeves in March, when Page confirmed on social media that his character would be transitioning to the show’s third season, which debuted Wednesday.
When season three begins, Page is still playing the cisgender woman Vanya, as his character was known in the first two seasons. It is not until the second episode that he is reintroduced as Viktor. Mourning the loss of ex Sissy Cooper (Marin Ireland) to another timeline, Viktor tells his adoptive sister Allison (Emmy Raver Lampman), “She saw me for who I really am. I’m not ready to give that up.” When Allison calls Viktor a “good sister,” he seems to struggle with that label. At another moment, Viktor stares longingly at a poster of men’s haircuts on a barber window.
After a fight with Sparrow Academy member Marcus, Viktor shows off his shorter haircut to Hargreeves’ siblings. Every family member accepts. “I like the haircut”, Klaus (Robert Sheehan) says, like Five (Aidan Gallagher) smiles and nods. But when Diego (David Castaneda) calls him “Vanya”, he corrects them: “It’s Viktor.”
“Who is Victor?” asks Diego.
“That’s me,” he replies. “It’s who I’ve always been. Is that a problem for anyone?”
“Really happy for you, Viktor,” assures Five. Then it’s back to the matter of fending off the advancing Sparrow Academy.
Towards the end of the second episode, Viktor discusses his transition with Luther (Tom Hopper) and Allison, who blames herself for not realizing who Viktor really was before. ‘You couldn’t have known,’ says Viktor, ‘because, I mean, I didn’t quite know.’ He says that Sissy ‘opened something in me. Showed me that I could never hide from who I really am. And after I lost her, I realized I just can’t live in that box anymore. I will not. You know, I’ve always hated mirrors. I thought everyone felt so weird in their own skin. I don’t think that’s true.” When asked what he sees in his reflection now, Viktor replies: “Me. Only me.”
Page himself came out publicly as trans . just weeks before production The Umbrella Academythe third season was about to begin. As such, most of the season’s scripts were already done, meaning rewrites for his character were needed. Series showrunner Steve Blackman and Page hired a transcriber Thomas Page McBee to lead the storyline with nuance and sensitivity.
“Because Elliot returned to the screen in an established role and with a fully fleshed out character arc that cut across every aspect of the show, his narrative required his transness to exist as a texture, not a defining character trait,” McBee wrote. in a recent essay for Esquire† “The creative obstacles didn’t stop there. The events of season three begin immediately after season two, so Viktor could not have come to this realization about himself in between seasons. Instead, its becoming should take place within the early episodes, and without holding the hand usually offered to cisgender audiences. He, like all transgender people, was always himself — whether his siblings on the show or the viewers watching, knew it or not.”
McBee said he and Blackman “used Elliot’s insights as a starting point to form an economic narrative and lay it neatly over those existing scenes — a story that reverberated where Elliot was in his own transition process at the time of shooting. ” He explained that in the context of: The Umbrella AcademyViktor’s established universe, Viktor’s transition is “a focus, a sharpening of perspective that will only deepen the connection millions of viewers already have with Viktor and his family.”