Netflix's TV adaptation of Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's Dark Horse comic book The Umbrella Academy is in its second season, and showrunner Steve Blackman has moved the story in some surprising directions that don't exactly line up with the comic book source material.
However, according to Blackman, Way and Ba will incorporate some of the new ideas Blackman and his writing team have come up with into future Umbrella Academy comic stories.
"It's challenging. I don't directly adapt. The graphic novel was used as a springboard and inspiration. It helps at the forefront is I'm good friends with Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba. I love talking to them, and I'm very collaborative with them," Blackman tells LRM Online. "In my effort, I pitched them the whole season at the beginning of the year. They're not involved day-to-day, but I wanted them to love where I'm going. I would hate not to be on the same page."
"What makes the graphic novel so great is that it's nonlinear. It's such incredible creative storytelling but wouldn’t translate to a ten-hour TV show. First of all, some of these we could simply not afford and other things that just couldn't work in a 10-hour story. So, I picked and chose the things I like," Blackman continues, explaining part of the thought process that goes into choosing which parts of the Umbrella Academy comic to adapt directly.
"Afterward, I mentally had the freedom to bring my ideas that don't exist in the graphic novel. It's lovely now that some of the things we're doing, Gerard will be writing into the story. These two mediums are now combining and coexisting, which is wonderful."
The latest volume of Umbrella Academy, titled 'Hotel Oblivion', was published in 2018 and 2019. A fourth volume, titled 'Sparrow Academy', has been announced, but with no projected release date.
"['Sparrow Academy'] deals with a very big reveal in the Umbrella Academy universe, something that had been secret for a long time, and our siblings learn a lot about what was happening behind the scenes, as well as discovering the true nature of some characters that have been with them since the beginning," Way previously told Forbes about the upcoming story. "The series finally starts to answer the question: 'What about the other babies born on that day, in that moment?' The Umbrella Academy siblings are not alone in the world anymore."
A spin-off series, titled You Look Like Death: Tales From the Umbrella Academy goes on sale September 16.