Netflix's new superhero series, The Umbrella Academy, is centered around a group of siblings that were adopted by a billionaire industrialist who raised them to save the world. Every one of the siblings leads a complicated supernatural life, but the one common denominator in each of their stories is a mysterious briefcase. It could be used as a weapon for good and evil, but exactly what is in the briefcase on The Umbrella Academy?
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy.
While the exact contents of the briefcase were never shown in detail, its purpose is quite clear. It is a device that transports people through time and space — basically a portable time machine. The Umbrella Academy siblings use briefcases to jump back and forth through time in hopes to save the world from an imminent apocalypse. A company known as the Commission — who is dedicated to correcting altered timelines — also uses the magical briefcases to time travel, and along with their top henchman, Cha-Cha and Hazel, they try to undo all the good The Umbrella Academy squad has done.
It isn’t really until Episodes 4 and 5, that viewers finally get to learn the secrets of the briefcase. Klaus, not knowing what is inside, steals Hazel and Cha-Cha’s briefcase. Upon opening it, a bright blue light flashes, and he is immediately transported to 1968 Vietnam, where the war is in full effect. He joins a regiment in the army, falls in love, and spends ten months there before he comes back to the present and destroys that briefcase.
Time travel is a central element in The Umbrella Academy, and it is Number Five’s jump into the future that allows the team to learn of the upcoming apocalypse in the first place. In the season finale, siblings use time travel to vanish and escape the Earth-ending meteor shower, and where and when they ended up serves as the perfect cliffhanger for Season 2.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Steve Blackman explained how the team’s time-traveling escape could give them another shot at saving the world. “The truth is, we don't know where they are, we don't know what happened to them,” said Blackman. “But yes, the apocalypse is not solved. They did not save the world, which is a slight alteration of the comic. To me, it was the right Netflix cliffhanger. You really want people to go into the off-season saying, ‘I gotta know what happened,’ and that will be revealed when — hopefully — you see season two.”
The series is based on musician and writer Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy comic book series, and when talking to Screen Rant, Way revealed that he has a definitive future planned for the show. “There's eight graphic novels total, we're on series three right now,” Way told the outlet. “And there's an 18-page document that I had written for Steve and the writers of the first season to read, and understand everywhere we're heading, and what happens to all these characters, and what goes on. So they know the roadmap of everything.”
So it’s safe to say that time travel will remain a constant throughout any future Umbrella Academy seasons, and fans will probably see more of these mysterious briefcases. Who knows, maybe in Season 2, viewers will get a detailed peek inside one of them. Or better yet, they may finally get to learn about the briefcases’ origins and find out exactly how they work.
The Umbrella Academy is currently streaming on Netflix.