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What Umbrella Academy Season 2's Most Emotional Moment Means For Season 3 - Exclusive

Contains spoilers for The Umbrella Academy season 2

The Umbrella Academy's second season has finally arrived on Netflix, and for fans who were hoping to get a bit deeper with one of the first season's characters, the new season is something of a revelation. That character is, of course, the ghostly Ben Hargreeves (Justin H. Min) — the deceased member of the clan whose spirit is attached, evidently much to his chagrin, to his adoptive brother Klaus (Robert Sheehan).

Ben's presence played an important part on The Umbrella Academy season 1 and he got a pretty big moment during the climactic finale, but season 2 most definitely ups the ante for both the character and the actor who portrays him. As a ghost, Ben first helps Klaus establish his cult, then engages in some body-hopping shenanigans in an effort to experience human connection. As the season comes to its climax, however, Ben once again steps to the fore — more or less single-handedly staving off the end of the world by intervening with an almost-out-of-control Vanya (Ellen Page) and bravely sacrificing himself to help his siblings.

For some insight into Ben's choice and what it was like bring it to life, we spoke with showrunner Steve Blackman in an exclusive interview.

Ben's season 2 sacrifice was big for the Umbrella Academy team

During season 2's penultimate episode (entitled "743"), Vanya, who has been under interrogation by the FBI, is on the verge of losing control of her powers. As Diego (David Castañeda) learned during his sojourn at the Commission, this scenario playing out is what triggers the chain of events leading to the end of the world, so the Hargreeves kids set out to stop it. Unfortunately, their frail corporeal bodies are subject to the massive waves of energy Vanya is putting out. But that isn't the case for Ben, whose spectral form allows him to approach and metaphysically interface with his sister. Inside her tortured psyche, Ben talks Vanya down, saving the world — but seeing his own spiritual energy dissipate — in the process.

For Blackman, giving Ben a bigger role and a big send-off was a priority going into The Umbrella Academy season 2. 

"What's so ironic about the Ben character is he's this wonderful, sweet guy with so much to say, loved by all the kids, yet he is the worst translator in class," he says. "That's the wonderful irony about the story, and Justin's such a great actor and such a fan favorite. I wanted to let him have a journey this year where he plays a huge role. He basically saves the day, and saves the world, if you think about it, by being able to bring Vanya down in the end."

Shaping Ben's season 2 arc in such a way, punctuating it with a massively emotional moment, sets up an even more exciting storyline for Ben on a potential third season of the series. As Blackman tells us, "I wanted to, if we have a season 3, reboot his character in a different way and not have him [be] a ghost. So, we came up with the concept [that] he dies in episode 9 as a ghost, and whatever energy makes up a ghost is gone."

For Ben actor Justin H. Min, it was also an opportunity — for the first time in almost 20 episodes of television — to interact directly with someone other than Klaus star Robert Sheehan. 

"Oh, yeah. I mean, he was thrilled," laughs Blackman. "I think he and Robert are so close, but I think he wants to interact with more characters, and he hasn't gotten to do that playing this part. Any chance he has to do different things is welcome. So, it really was a sweet scene with him and Ellen, and he was really excited about that. And I think they both handled it beautifully."

Blackman then teases, "But I think there's a lot more fun stories for Ben going forward into a season 3, if we have one."

Bringing Ben back for season 3 of The Umbrella Academy

Of course, Ben's big "going into the light" goodbye isn't the last we see of him during The Umbrella Academy's second season. As the final episode wraps up, the Hargreeves siblings return to what they think is their present — only to encounter a very-much-alive Sir Reginald (Colm Feore), and an even more surprisingly alive Ben heading up something called the Sparrow Academy. Blackman says Min also relished the opportunity to put a new spin on the character in this way.

"As we see, something has changed when they return to the timeline and there's a physical, a real, Ben standing in front of them," he says. "Who he is and what he is for season 3, it will remain a mystery, but he's corporeal now. And it's a lot of fun for Justin to play."

The moment is very brief and sets up a big cliffhanger as the season ends, meaning fans will have to wait for a third season to find out what happens with Ben and the gang next. Speaking of, just how likely is that third season? Blackman says the jury is still out, but he's ready if Netflix makes the call. 

"Well, I don't assume anything," he cautions. "I love Netflix. I hope they give me another season, but I have a good idea of what season 3 will be. I sort of worked it out in my mind. I know where I'm going and where I'm driving to — I know the beginning, middle, end — but I will happily wait for the call when Netflix [gives the] green light."

The Umbrella Academy season 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.