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This Surprising Actor Who Almost Played The Handler In The Umbrella Academy

When "The Umbrella Academy" made its way onto Netflix in the early days of 2019, it almost single-handedly re-contextualized what comic book superhero adaptations could be. And it did so amid a landscape dominated by the Marvel blockbuster machine. Whether it was the series' hyper-violent action scenes, crass-yet-bristling dialogue, or bold deconstruction of superhero mythos, fans simply couldn't get enough of what "The Umbrella Academy" was selling — helping make it one of Netflix's biggest hits to date.

At least part of what has made "The Umbrella Academy" feel so refreshing has, of course, been the colorful cast of characters that the series has presented, most of whom sprung to life from the pages of Gerard Way's and Gabriel Bá's beloved comic book series of the same name. It might surprise you to learn, however, that one of the series' most memorable characters – Kate Walsh's vicious, self-serving bureaucrat The Handler — doesn't actually exist in the pages of "The Umbrella Academy" books. And it'll likely surprise you even more to learn the show's creative team offered the role to another high-profile actor before Walsh came aboard. 

Here's who almost played The Handler on "The Umbrella Academy."

Jon Hamm was reportedly the first pick to portray The Handler on The Umbrella Academy

Seems that when Steve Blackman conjured the character of The Handler for "The Umbrella Academy," he not only wrote the character for a man, but reportedly wrote it specifically for everybody's favorite "Mad Men" player Jon Hamm. 

Kate Walsh spilled that surprising detail when discussing the character on an episode of Spotify's Behind The Scenes podcast, candidly offering, "Steve Blackman called me and said we wrote this part called The Handler originally for Jon Hamm... He's not gonna do it. Do You want to?"

Walsh joked briefly about being the second choice for the role, quipping, "I've never gotten a 'Jon Hamm type' sloppy seconds." But upon reading the script, Walsh thought it was "amazing," and "funny." She was also intrigued by the creative license Blackman was offering to make the character her own, with Walsh claiming she was told to, "do whatever you want" to bring The Handler to life. She did just that, conferring with the show's brilliant costume design team to conjure an outlandishly fashionable look for the character that somehow doesn't feel out of place in the wild world of the series.

In her Walsh's own estimation, The Handler became a "fabulous weirdo" once her wardrobe was set, and most can agree that the actor's equally out-there performance is the very definition of "scene-stealing." As for Hamm, he no doubt would've been great too, but one could easily argue the first two seasons of "The Umbrella Academy" simply wouldn't have worked as well without Walsh's show-stopping performance. And yes, she will be missed in Season 3.