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The Umbrella Academy Season 3: When and Why Does Vanya Become Viktor?

Robert Sheehan and Elliot Page in 'The Umbrella Academy'.

In 2020, actor Elliot Page announced that they were transgender via social media, writing “I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey … I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer.” As one of the most high profile trans actors, Elliot’s announcement was met with celebration and support. Fans wondered how Page’s transition would affect his role as Vanya Hargreeves on the Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy Season 3. In March, Page revealed that Vanya would be transitioning in the third season to Viktor Hargreeves.

Why Vanya became Viktor, explained

Page’s coming out inspired showrunner Steve Blackman to incorporate his transition into the series, but the scripts for season 3 were already locked and production was set to begin in two weeks. Page and Blackman brought in trans writer Thomas Page McBee, whom Page had worked with in Tales of the City, to thread Viktor’s transition into the season. In an article with Esquire, McBee writes,

“Elliot and I had a long conversation about when and how Viktor may have come to discover his gender identity, and in what ways he might embody that identity in season 3. Steve and I used Elliot’s insights as a jumping-off point to form and neatly overlay an economical narrative on those existing scenes—one that echoed where Elliot was in his own transition process at the time of shooting.”

The transition occurs in episode 2, after the Hargreeves siblings have returned to an alternate 2019. Vanya picks up a book at Hotel Obsidian and reads about their romantic love interest Sissy (Marin Ireland) who died in 1989. In flashbacks, Sissy’s words echo in their mind, “You don’t even notice the box that you’re in until someone comes along and lets you out.” Vanya goes to a barber, has their hair cut, and re-emerges as Viktor.

Viktor later reunites with Klaus, Diego, and Five, informing them that his name is Viktor, saying, “It’s who I’ve always been. Is that an issue for anyone?” Diego says, “Nah I’m good,” and Klaus adds, “Yeah me too. Cool.” Number Five says, “I’m really happy for you, Viktor.”

Allison says she can’t believe she never realized it before. Viktor responds, “‘You couldn’t have known because I didn’t fully,” adding “Being with Sissy, I don’t know, opened something in me. Showed me I’d never be free hiding from who I really am. After losing her I realized, I just can’t live in that box anymore. I won’t.” Viktor stops to look in a mirror and notes, “You know I always hated mirrors? Thought everybody looked so strange in their skin. I guess that’s not true.”

Allison tells Viktor, “Thank you for trusting me with this. You’re family Viktor, okay? And there’s nothing that would make me love you less.” Luther wants to throw a welcome party for his new brother, but Diego urges him to be cool.

Viktor’s coming out is warmly supported by his siblings. The episode is filled with tender moments that never lose the show’s signature humor. It also offers a template on how to be supportive of your friend or family member who has come out. Well done, Umbrella Academy.

Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy is currently streaming on Netflix.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.