Emmy Raver-Lampman, David Castaneda, Tom Hopper and Aidan Gallagher talk to ET about Elliot Page's character's season 3 journey.
This story contains spoilers from season 3 of The Umbrella Academy.
In the second episode of season 3, The Umbrella Academy introduced Viktor Hargreeves, whose onscreen transition to his true self loosely mirrored that of the real-life journey for his portrayer, Elliot Page, who came out as transgender in late 2020.
The hour-long episode, titled "World's Biggest Ball of Twine," spent significant time focusing on his journey to becoming Viktor. After learning that his former love, Sissy, would later die, he received the clarity he needed to step out of his box and embrace his true identity as Viktor -- cutting his hair as a literal and symbolic way to mark the start to his new life's chapter.
When Viktor reintroduced himself to his other Hargreeves siblings, they accepted him immediately and without fanfare before they moved on to the next order of business -- figuring out how to save the universe from another apocalyptic event. But much of Viktor's journey was detailed through a particularly vulnerable and touching scene with Allison as he revealed why he chose to take this path now.
"It was really emotional," Emmy Raver-Lampman, who plays Allison, told ET's Will Marfuggi of their emotional scenes. "Ellie and I are really, really close in real life. He's one of my dearest and closest friends. I knew that this was on his mind and this is something that was really important to him and his transition and his journey with that and through that."
"To be there for him in real life, it has been such a blessing and I'm so honored that he trusts me with that and has brought me on that journey with him. Then to also then double down in a way and be able to share that with him onscreen as Viktor and Allison was really, really emotional too in a way," the actress continued. "[To] put a lot of the private moments and private conversations that him and I had behind closed doors, to put that on-camera through these aliases in a way was really, really special."
During their scenes in episode 2, Viktor shared with Allison that he finally felt like himself for the first time in his life. "You're family, Viktor," Allison promised him. "And there's nothing, nothing that would make me love you less." As noted by Netflix, Viktor's transition was carefully crafted by Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman in consultation with GLAAD, Amateur author Thomas Page McBee and Page.
"I think everyone on set and Steve Blackman and all our producers in the writers' room, we really took Elliot's lead on all of it and what he was comfortable with and how much he wanted to dive into and how much we, as the show, would dive into that," Raver-Lampman said. "I think the result is really good. We're not beating anybody over the head with it. At the end of the day, Elliot is proud of it. I think that's all that matters, to be honest."
Raver-Lampman expressed that she and her co-stars, including Page, "we all are [very proud]" of Viktor's storyline, which was reworked after Page publicly shared his transition story in December 2020.
"We were heading off into the unknown. This has never happened before in television. He's forging the frontier for this moment," she said, referring to Page. "Beforehand, when we were getting the scripts, and those changes were being made because the majority of the first couple of episodes had been written before [the writers] decided to incorporate this transition for Viktor into the scripts. [Elliot] just seemed really happy in those moments getting the new scripts and getting the new scenes and getting the new dialogue."
"The end result seeing it onscreen, I cannot speak for him, but I feel like he feels it was done perfectly and in the right way and not over the top and not making a whole episode about it and then diving too far into it," Raver-Lampman credited. "It's just very matter of fact, which is how it was with Elliot."
David Castaneda recalled filming the scene at the Hotel Obsidian when Viktor reveals his new name for the first time to Diego, Number Five and Klaus.
"I remember just making sure I was off-book because it was such a powerful scene," the actor told ET. "I was like, 'I just need to make sure I give it as much effort as I can,' because I felt like it was part of something -- part of history, TV history at least, of being able to do something, give justice a certain theme. And, in the end, I was just really excited, especially how they were handling it. I was so excited to actually be able to be a part of it."
He remembered the mood on set that day "was fun, it was light." "It wasn't until [episode director] Cheryl Dunye said, 'Just so you guys know, you guys are part of a moment in history. Just so you guys know,'" Castaneda said. "And it was like, 'Oh yeah,' because Elliot has been Elliot to us since I met him, so it was kind of we're just going and doing a scene."
Added Aidan Gallagher: "Scenes like that, it's more so a joyous thing rather than it is pressure because so much discussion went into the tone of how it would come across. I thought it was handled beautifully and a joy to watch that very happy moment for all of these characters come out and it's great."
Tom Hopper, who plays Luther, shared that while the cast "knew it was going to happen before [they] read the scripts," he said that the storyline "was handled brilliantly... and exactly as it should be." "I think it's the immediate acceptance of the characters of Viktor that is so well done," he praised. "Initially when I read it, I was like, 'Is that too quick? Do we not give it enough [time]?' And then I was like, 'Actually no, that's what it should be.' It should be complete acceptance off the bat because it's about someone dealing with what they want to be, not about the other characters and what they think it should be."
"There was a crossover between us as actors for Elliot. There is an inevitable crossover there. So I think you do see it, an element of how we feel about it coming through the characters," the actor noted.
The Umbrella Academy is streaming now on Netflix.
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