Why is Luther so weak in Umbrella Academy? Luther Hargreeves’ power in The Umbrella Academy is super-strength, but he’s actually quite weak, especially when compared to his youth. Based on the comic book series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy debuted on Netflix in February 2019 and was very well-received by critics and viewers. It didn’t take long for The Umbrella Academy to be renewed for a second season, which was released in July 2020. Season 3 then followed in June 2022.
The Umbrella Academy follows the dysfunctional family of adopted siblings, the Hargreeves. On October 1st, 1989, 43 women around the world gave birth at the same time, but none of them were pregnant when the day began. Seven babies were adopted by the eccentric Sir Reginald Hargreeves, an eccentric with mysterious origins. Hargreeves (Colm Feore) trained them as they began to develop unique superpowers and formed the superhero team, the Umbrella Academy. Sadly, Reginald wasn’t a good father figure, and the siblings parted ways, reuniting years later for Reginald’s funeral and to stop the fast-approaching apocalypse. The only one who remained close (though not in distance, as he was on the moon) to Reginald was Luther (Tom Hopper) a.k.a. Number 1.
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Related: Why Reginald Hargreeves Is Alive In Umbrella Academy Season 3
Luther is the only member of the Umbrella Academy who didn’t leave the team, as he took his role as leader/number 1 very seriously, which also brought him some trouble with the rest, mostly Diego (David Castañeda), a.k.a. Number 2. Luther’s extraordinary ability is super-strength, but it has diminished over time. He’s still well above the maximum potential for normal humans, though. Many viewers wonder is Luther the weakest Umbrella Academy sibling, and he’s not, although his super-strength isn’t as reality-warping as Viktor’s (Elliott Page) sound manipulation or Five’s (Aidan Gallagher) time travel powers. However, Luther’s powers aren’t at their peak at the point in his life the show’s set. So why is Luther so weak in Umbrella Academy? And how strong is Luther really?
Luther Was Very Strong As A Teenager
Luther’s strength has reduced over time. The first time the world saw the Umbrella Academy in action was when foiling a bank robbery as kids. It’s in that scene viewers got to see the Hargreeves display their powers and talents, and Luther seemed a lot stronger than he is now. At this point in The Umbrella Academy timeline, Young Luther could easily perform feats like throwing a grown man out of a very high window. As an adult, however, he has been seen struggling to perform actions that should be near-effortless for him due to his strength. Is Luther the weakest Umbrella Academy member? At the show’s outset, absolutely.
A reason for Luther’s increased strength as a teen is that his weakness stems from his emotional state, like all of The Umbrella Academy siblings. Luther was proud to be the team’s leader in his youth, his love for Allison was reciprocated, and he was yet to go through his traumatic accident or spend years in isolation on the moon. He also didn’t yet have the disfigured apelike chest that gives him such hesitation to display his powers. All in all, he was in a much better place mentally during most of the show’s flashbacks than he is during the show’s present-day (whether 2019 or 1962). Fixing Luther’s powers might mean he has to be in a similar emotional state to his former self. Young Luther was confident and relatively happy, which let him unleash his full super-strength potential on the team’s many missions.
Luther May Have Been Weakened By His Accident
Why is Luther so weak in Umbrella Academy, really? It might stem from a traumatic accident prior to season 1. Luther went through a harrowing experience on a mission gone wrong, after which he was sent to the moon. Luther was working alone as his siblings had long since left, and was assigned to stop a biochemical threat. The mishap left Luther severely injured and close to death. To save him, Reginald injected a serum that turned Luther’s upper body into that of an ape. Although this further increased his muscle mass and strength, he seemed weaker than he was before the accident. As he was having trouble adjusting to his new body and life, Reginald sent Luther to the moon to watch out for threats, which Luther took very seriously. None of his siblings were aware of what happened to him until years later when a chandelier fell on him and revealed his ape-like physique.
Related: Umbrella Academy Theory: Season 2 Revealed Luther’s Moon Mission Was Real
Although this gave him more muscle and made him more resilient, as seen with the chandelier and at the beginning of season 2 when he shielded Klaus from a missile without much injury, Luther has been seen struggling to perform some tasks that should be a lot easier for him given his strength. Luther could only slightly lift a farm truck up that trapped Diego’s leg in the final battle in The Umbrella Academy season 2, which should have been easier for someone whose superpower is supposed to be superhuman strength. Luther’s powers, even with the enhancements, were inhibited by Luther’s emotional state because of the accident. Despair at self-perceived failure, trauma, and severe body dysmorphia due to his primate upper body have left him a shell of his former self, and his severely weakened super-strength reflects this.
Luther’s Strength Seems To Be Affected By His Emotions
Luther isn’t the only member of the Umbrella Academy whose powers are affected depending on what the plot needs from them emotionally. Viktor is, perhaps, the best example of this, as he can have full control of his powers and either create major chaos (read: the end of the world) or save his siblings from The Commission. In almost every case, the powers of the Hargreeves seem to be affected by their emotions. Going back to Viktor’s example, he triggered the apocalypse out of anger and resentment, while in season 2 he used his powers against the temps to protect his siblings, Harlan, and Sissy.
The same happens to Luther. Although he doesn’t have anger issues and won’t be seen throwing his weight around, his strength does seem to be affected by his emotions and thus the plot. Shrugging off a falling chandelier without injury was needed to trigger the exposition of what happened on his ill-fated mission and how he got his ape chest. His powers were weakest after Luther’s moon mission, but as he reconnected with his siblings he began to slowly regain his strength, both emotionally and literally. His power recuperation hasn’t been consistent though. He survived a missile as it’s during a sequence showing the Hargreeves (well, most of them) finally working together, but he was beaten by his opponent in a boxing match because he got distracted by his feelings in his search for Allison. Lastly, he couldn’t lift a farm truck because he was in a very stressful situation – and a little more drama needed injecting into the scene.
Will Luther Regain His Strength In Umbrella Academy Season 3?
Although he started off The Umbrella Academy as arguably the least popular character, season 3 can redeem Luther. The show will continue exploring Luther’s powers in season 3, which will add to the character’s growth. Luther was heavily criticized in season 1 but had a more endearing arc in season 2 – one that The Umbrella Academy can work on through exploration of his dormant potential. He started season 1 with his super-strength severely inhibited, even with additional ape-body enhancements. However, as seasons 1 and 2 progressed, Luther went from being one of the weakest Umbrella Academy siblings to lifting a 1000-lb truck and saving Diego. His powers are gradually returning to former levels as he works through his PTSD and low self-esteem.
Related: Is Sparrow Academy More Powerful Than Umbrella Academy
In season 3, the timeline has been altered. Luther and his super-powered siblings have been replaced by The Sparrow Academy, and Reginald Hargreeves is alive. With no Umbrella Academy, Luther is no longer Number 1. He has no expectations to live up to. Plus, with Reginald’s return, Luther has another chance to tell his abusive father how he actually feels. Even if this version of Reginald doesn’t remember, the chance to tell his father just how much PTSD he’s suffering from, and freedom from the responsibility of being Number 1, should allow Luther to unlock more of his full super-strength potential in The Umbrella Academy season 3.
Next: How The Umbrella Academy Redeemed Luther In Season 2
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The Umbrella Academy season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.
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Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided’s BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.
When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.
Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.
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