Netflix’s Umbrella Academy has gone some wild places — the moon, the past, an alternate future, a tattoo parlor run by a chimpanzee. The one place it didn’t get to go was Japan.
Showrunner Steve Blackman had hopes that in season 3, The Umbrella Academy show could go to Japan, much like some of the characters did in the graphic novel.
“Obviously COVID shut that down,” Blackman tells Polygon of the attempts to film in Japan.
Ultimately, it became yet another example of how Blackman chose to deviate from the arc of the comic books, forging his own path for Netflix’s version of the Hargreeves.
“We’ve come to accept that the show and the graphic novel can coexist, and they don’t have to be the same,” Blackman tells Polygon. “As much as I always want to take inspiration from the graphic novel, […] there’s things that go places which are almost impossible to translate to TV.”
He’s aware his show’s interpretation of Hotel Oblivion — a rather brief affair, even with the very memorable (and disturbing) bug samurais — isn’t as close as some “purists” would like. But now that the Umbrella Academy books have been lapped by the series (volume 4 will cover the Sparrow Academy, and has yet to be released), he believes there’s room for not only both to exist, but to build off each other.
“[Gerard Way]’s got places he’s gonna go with the next graphic novel — and I know a little bit of that,” Blackman says. “We’ve come to this really sort of wonderful understanding where the two medias are symbiotic. He often finds where he often finds that some of the things we do influence where he’s going the graphic novel, and of course, we’re all inspired by everything he does. So it’s become a very fun collaborative relationship with him.”