The following post contains minor spoilers for The Umbrella Academy‘s third season.
Art has imitated life in a big way for The Umbrella Academy‘s Elliot Page.
Eighteen months after Page came out as transgender, his Umbrella Academy character did the same when the Netflix drama dropped its complete third season on Wednesday. Not long into Episode 2, Page’s alter ego approaches a barber shop and, after looking at the options for men’s hairstyles advertised on the front window, enters for a haircut. Later, upon returning to the Hotel Obsidian, the character introduces himself as Viktor to his siblings.
“It’s who I’ve always been,” Viktor explains to Klaus, Diego and Five, all of whom are immediately understanding, as are Luther and Allison when they meet Viktor later.
According to series creator Steve Blackman, The Umbrella Academy‘s Season 3 scripts were complete when Page called him to share the news of his transition, and Blackman felt it was “very important” that he and Page collaborated on how to incorporate Viktor’s transition into already-written scripts. Blackman’s first call was to Nick Adams, vice president of the GLAAD Media Institute, who then connected him with transgender writer and boxer Thomas Page McBee. With Page and McBee guiding him through the writing process, Blackman says he “learned a lot more” about how to address Viktor’s gender identity.
“We wanted it to not be the story of the season,” Blackman tells TVLine. “We wanted it to be a story, or a part of the story.” (As McBee elaborated in an Esquire column earlier this month, writing Viktor’s transition presented “an opportunity to show a transition so organic, so fundamental to the character, that it could only work in concert with the existing character arcs, not eclipse them.”)
Equally crucial was the reaction from Viktor’s siblings upon hearing the news. though there’s a learning curve for some of the Hargreeves — Allison feels guilty for not noticing Viktor’s true identity sooner; Luther wonders if he and Diego should formally “welcome [Viktor] as brothers” — the family is wholly supportive from the start, which Blackman felt was essential to the season.
“We wanted to tell a story that was really pro-trans, authentic, sensitive, and show that families Bell accept trans people in their lives, and it does not have to be a negative thing, as it’s often portrayed in the media,” he says. “That was paramount. I talked with Elliot and Thomas through the whole thing, and I’m really proud of how we did it. I thought it came across in a way that we all felt good about.”