The Umbrella Academy: Grandfather Paradox Explained

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The Umbrella Academy Grandfather Paradox Explained
Credit: Netflix

After a long wait, The Umbrella Academy Season 3 has finally landed on our screens and it's fun and quirky as ever. The Hargreeves siblings must, once again, defy time, as they're introduced to a logical problem known as the "grandfather paradox." So, what is the grandfather paradox in The Umbrella Academy?

The Umbrella Academy: Grandfather Paradox Explained

The Umbrella Academy Grandfather Paradox Explained 1
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Credit: Netflix

Some viewers might have just been introduced to the grandfather paradox through watching The Umbrella Academy Season 3 , but the Netflix series didn't make it up. In fact, the grandfather paradox is one of the main logical problems that would potentially occur if time travel was possible.

The Commission in The Umbrella Academy provides its employees with extended instructions on what the grandfather paradox is, as, unlike the rest of us, they might even experience it, though they should do everything in their power to avoid it!

In short, the grandfather paradox refers to a logical contradiction that could potentially occur if someone traveled back in time, to a date prior to their birth, and killed an ancestor of theirs - a grandfather, for instance.

This creates a contradiction; if the time traveler's grandfather was killed before the time traveler's birth, then the time traveler shouldn't exist. But if the time traveler doesn't exist, how can they kill their grandfather?

Unfortunately, we don't have an answer to this problem, given that there are no known time travelers to share their expertise.

This problem, however, is quite often used in science fiction that involves time travel, as it's a fun philosophical idea to contemplate.

How Does The Grandfather Paradox Apply in The Umbrella Academy Season 3?

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Credit: Netflix

In The Umbrella Academy Season 3, the Hargreeves siblings find themselves back in the 21st century. But soon enough they realize this isn't their 21st century.

Not only did their adoptive father, Reginald Hargreeves, go out of his way to adopt different children, known as the Sparrows - having been appalled by the Umbrella Academy members' dysfunctional behavior when they sought him out in the 60s - but in this alternative timeline, our main characters weren't even born at all.

What does the grandfather paradox have to do with this? Well, Reginald's rejection, while not unexpected, apparently wounds Klaus, who resolves to find his birth mother.

To his surprise, he finds out that his mother died under mysterious circumstances on the day he was supposed to have been born - and before even giving birth to him.

The same is true for Luther, Diego, Allison, Victor, and Five; all their birth mother's died on the same day meaning that they were never born in this timeline.

To make matters more complicated, the universe doesn't like this anomaly at all, causing a chaotic phenomenon that results in the disappearance of numerous humans and animals.

The fact that people who could never have been born in the timeline - as their mothers were killed before giving birth to them - is treated as problematic in-universe.

Related: How Did Ben Hargreeves Die in The Umbrella Academy?


While our main characters obviously still exist, the universe seems set on the opinion that they should not - and it takes out much more than six people as a result.

This is a situation that the Commission warned its members they should not encounter under any circumstances, so how will Five and his siblings navigate it? Watch The Umbrella Academy Season 3 on Netflix to find out!

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