How Did Ben Die In Umbrella Academy? What Happened to Him, Explained

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Ben, The Umbrella Academy

For a show so full of lore, The Umbrella Academy on Netflix still leaves even the most devoted of fans confused about one major detail — the circumstances of Ben Hargreeves' death.

One of the seven original Hargreeves' children, and the only duplicate Umbrella Academy and Sparrow Academy member, Ben has always stood out among his siblings. This is primarily because the character itself died offscreen, well before Season 1 of the show even began.

Of course, in the show's three seasons, fans have seen Ben - portrayed by actor Justin H. Min - as a ghost, as a spirit possessing Klaus' body, and as an actual, alive member of the Sparrow Academy. 

The other Hargreeves will occasionally ask Klaus (who can speak with the dead) if his ghost is there in a given situation, but otherwise, all mentions of Ben and his death are fairly vague.

How Did Ben Die in The Umbrella Academy

Ben in The Umbrella Academy

Neither the show nor the comics offer a concrete explanation as to how Ben Hargreeves died prior to the events of The Umbrella Academy, but the new Season 4 trailer offers some new insight into this ever-present question.

At the 1:04 timecode in July 9's Umbrella Academy Season 4 trailer, Five asks his siblings if any of them can "actually remember how Ben died."

Allison responds with an answer that seems like one repeated among the siblings ad nauseam, evident by Luther finishing her answer along with his sister: "Ben died because we failed as a team." Pressed for more details, none of the siblings could remember anything more.

The comics do not offer much further insight here. In fact, it is revealed in the first run of The Umbrella Academy comics that the family does not know exactly what happened to him either.

That is not to say this is an oversight by the creators. Way told IGN in 2019 that revealing it would be a spoiler for both mediums. In fact, this secret is so well-kept that as of at least Season 1, showrunner Steve Blackman told IGN he genuinely did not know the answer.

The full trailer can be seen below:

Will We Finally Learn What Happened to Ben in Season 4?

Throughout the trailer, Ben is discussed prominently. He is even called "the key to understanding all the timelines."

With that and the fact that Season 4 is confirmed to be the show's last installment in mind, it feels almost certain that what happened to Ben will finally be revealed by the end of this season.

If the answer is such a big spoiler, and it is not revealed by the end of the series, then it would not have been such a big spoiler in the first place.

If the circumstances surrounding Ben's death do relate to him being "the key to understanding all the timelines," there is reason to believe his death has to do with his own powers.

While his monster-summoning powers (depicted in the show as primarily a tentacle monster appearing from Ben's stomach) have been seen, the show has not gone into them in even close to as much depth as is the case with the other Hargreeves.

Still, in the comics it is confirmed that the monsters he summons come from many different dimensions, making him essentially an inter-dimensional gateway, to some extent. If that is the case in the show, "the key" line makes perfect sense.

But, again, that only matters to the details of how exactly Ben died if those details relate to him being "the key."

The Umbrella Academy Season 4 hits Netflix on August 8.

- About The Author: Gillian Blum

Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.