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The Umbrella Academy: What Is Reginald Hargreeves?

Of all the characters in Netflix’s hit adaptation of The Umbrella Academy, none are as universally despised as Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The man in the monocle brought the superheroes together and made them who they are today, mostly for the worse. But, as the series has gone on, more has been revealed about Reginald, forcing fans to wonder what he could be.

The Umbrella Academy is an interesting experiment in blending genres. Its initial premise blends superhero action with dysfunctional family drama, but it gradually adds complicated time travel, alternate universes, and at least one deity to the mix. Reginald Hargreeves may not have the most screen time, but almost every event in the series takes place because of him.

Where did Reginald Hargreeves come from?
The Umbrella Academy Unanswered Questions Season 3 Abigail Hargreeves
Sir Reginald Hargreeves is an alien who arrived on Earth in the early 20th century. His unnamed home planet was devastated in the aftermath of a nuclear war, forcing him to flee elsewhere. His alien origin is one of very few elements he shares with the Reginald Hargreeves of the comic book. Almost nothing is known about his old home, but his life on Earth is fairly well publicized. In 1928, Hargreeves purchased a successful umbrella manufacturing company, which he quickly parlayed into a fortune. In the comics, he went on to invent and patent a variety of world-changing devices and popular brands. Reginald went on to aid mankind in the space race, ensuring that America would beat her enemies to the moon. The old man lived quite a life before his children were born.

From his mysterious beginnings, Reginald became known as a wealthy recluse. His largest involvement in world events occurred in the shadows. Throughout the 50s and 60s, Reginald served as a member of the Majestic 12, a cabal of scientists, bureaucrats, and military personnel who controlled global politics from the shadows. Reginald broke ties with the 12 after they masterminded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, leading him to slaughter the other 11 members. The old man went off the radar for a few decades, but his return was substantial. In 1989, he masterminded the birth of 43 special kids, adopted seven of them, and attempted to turn them into superheroes. Unfortunately, his complete lack of human empathy and basic decency undermined that scheme. What Reginald did is clear, but why did he do it?

What does Reginald want?
The Umbrella Academy Season 3 Klaus and Sir Reginald Hargreeves
From the outset, Reginald’s goals seem deliberately obtuse. The broad trend behind many of his actions ostensibly seemed to be the advancement of human development. He needed Earth as a sanctuary after the death of his home, but he found humanity lacking in several key areas. He helped humans land on the moon, which could be an altruistic act, but it also places him among a species capable of space travel. He assembled the Hargreeves family and founded The Umbrella Academy, theoretically so that they could protect the Earth from harm. However, his cruelty and duplicity are laid bare in the later seasons of the show.

Reginald Hargreeves is a good old-fashioned wife guy. His bride Abigail died sometime before The Monocle made it to Earth, but he refuses to move on. Reginald stowed Abigail’s body on the moon, perfectly preserved as he seeks a cure for whatever ails her. It turns out, almost every action he’s taken since he left his home has been in service of his wife. Early in his time on Earth, he discovered a bizarre glitch in the universe. He found a reset button that would allow the user to shape all time to their whims. He only created the Umbrella Academy and the Sparrow Academy to get him through the door. The final moments of season 3 demonstrate his success. All this, just to save the woman he loved.

What is Reginald capable of?
The-Umbrella-Academy-Reginald Cropped
Reginald’s full alien form has never been revealed. Fans have seen a brief shot of his back, but his full form remains in the dark. It’s clear that he’s a bipedal reptilian creature of some sort. He’s much stronger and faster than any human, easily defeating the superhumans that he trained in combat. More importantly, Reginald thinks hundreds of thousands of steps ahead. His 5D chess strategies make him capable of anything. He gave a bunch of random kids superpowers, abused them for decades, then killed himself just to get them back in action. The second version of the character, the one present in seasons 2 and 3, sees the work of the first and improves upon it. He’s a supervillain with an almost comical intellect, and at the end of season 3, he’s completely victorious.

The Umbrella Academy has only one season to complete its story. As it stands, it seems as if the Hargreeves family will have to face their father as a final boss. Reginald Hargreeves is introduced as a monstrous abusive wretch. The first thing the show thoroughly conveys to the viewer is that most of this man’s kids are ecstatic to see him in an urn. Somehow, the show manages to make him worse with every new reveal.


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