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What You Likely Never Noticed About The Umbrella Academy's Group Shots

Like so many superhero movies and TV shows these days, "The Umbrella Academy" started off as a comic book (via Dark Horse). However, after taking a very convoluted path through project development, it eventually wound up on Netflix as a TV show (via Syfy). The series features popular actors like Elliot Paige, Tom Hopper, and Emmy Raver-Lampman, among others. Business Insider called it one of the most popular shows to hit Netflix since "The Witcher." Indeed, according to Variety, the second season of the series was among the most-watched items on Netflix during its first month of release.

The show is about a group of adopted siblings who are all spontaneously born on the same day and have X-Men-like powers. They get adopted by an eccentric billionaire who trains them to use their abilities to protect the world from evil. But theirs is a very dysfunctional family, and trying to stay on the right side of good doesn't always go according to plan. Regardless of their faults, they still try to protect each other (and the world) from evil in the same way that an umbrella protects dry people from the rain. In fact, those messages of togetherness and protecting one another run so deep through the narrative of the show that it even affects the cinematography.

Ben is there (and not there) at the same time

It all started with a Reddit conversation about Ben (Justin H. Min), the invisible ghost who is always with his siblings even though only Klaus (Robert Sheehan) can see him. In a post on the r/UmbrellaAcademy subreddit, u/piemaster45 wrote, "I love scenes where they are all together because there is always one empty space, it makes it feel like they instinctually leave space for Ben." 

This user also added a screenshot that perfectly demonstrates this phenomenon. With all of the siblings crammed into one elevator, an empty space in front of Diego (David Castañeda) makes it clear that the siblings are leaving space specifically for Ben. A number of Reddit users were wowed by this small detail. One user even shared a personal anecdote tragically reminiscent of this same idea. "My older brother died a few weeks before my younger brother got married and they left an empty chair for him," u/thestralcounter44 said. "It resonates. Love the academy."

Later in the conversation, u/greentangent wrote, "Every scene where Ben was present was filmed twice. Once with him there, one without. This was so the camera could present the shot from Klaus' perspective who is able to see Ben then switch to the others' perspectives who cannot." This revelation made users like u/TheAgenderAlien get emotional, while others noted an eagerness to watch the series again to spot all the times Ben was there-but-not-there.

Notably, this isn't the only thing fans in this Reddit community noticed about group shots in the series.

They often stand in the shape of an umbrella when they're gathered together

Eagle-eyed Reddit users like u/Atlasquinn91 also pointed out that members of the titular club often stand together in a vaguely umbrella-like shape. Usually, this configuration involves five or six actors standing around a central figure in a semi-circle. The person in the center acts as the main handle of the umbrella, and the other actors form the canopy. 

Interestingly, this appears to occur in a variety of scenes throughout the first two seasons. One Reddit user pointed out that this phenomenon is also present in the aforementioned elevator scene. "Luther seems to be the long stick you hold while the others are making up the top part," u/Swordofsatan666 wrote. "They don't have the curve at the end of the handle of the person-umbrella like the other gatherings usually do though."

Notably, you can even spot scenes like this one sprinkled throughout trailers for the series. The trailer for Season 1 (via Netflix) has one shot at the 35-second mark where the actors stand around in an umbrella shape while also standing in the rain and holding umbrellas of their own (it's very meta). At the 12-second mark of the Season 2 trailer (via Netflix), the siblings stare in awe at a giant fireball coming toward them. Once again, the members of the Umbrella Academy assume this unique formation.

After noticing these details, many fans pitching in on the conversation expressed a desire to go back and try to spot all of the different times the series has included umbrella or missing-man formations. U/YoItsMCat wrote, "I definitely want to look for more of these now."