Season 3 of Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy has one of the best trans coming out storylines in TV history, when Elliot Page’s character comes out as Viktor Hargreeves to his siblings. It’s done so well that it seems almost laughable how bad so much of trans TV has been.
While some viewers assumed the storyline came at the request of Page, series creator and showrunner Steve Blackman clarified that it was all his idea.
"I had already finished the season, the writers were gone, scripts were finished and I got a call from Elliot one day saying, 'I'm transitioning.' I was very happy for him," Blackman told Entertainment Tonight in an interview. "To his credit, he didn't demand that I write it into the story. He said, 'Do what you want. I trust you. Write it in, don't write it in, whatever you want to do.' Elliot is very kind like that."
"Ultimately, I decided to write it in, but to be honest, I did not know a lot about what it is to be transgender and I didn't know how to tell that story," Blackman continued. So, he turned to Nick Adams, the GLAAD Media Institute Vice President, and Thomas Page McBee, a trans writer and journalist, for help.
"[Thomas has] been through the experience and he became my guide," Blackman said. "In collaboration with Elliot, they talked me through what it means to be trans, what it means, how it feels and how to tell a story."
Blackman also emphasized that while he wanted to show Viktor’s transition, he didn’t want to draw too much attention to it.
"I didn't want to hang a lantern on it and make it the sob story of the season. We all agreed that we want it to be something that just happened and let the family react to it. That was the hard balance to find that," he said.
"I'm really proud of what we did, but it was definitely collaborative. I needed both [Page and McBee] to really help guide me. I learned a lot about what it is to be transgender. I'm still learning actually," Blackman continued. "And I love that our family, like real families, can absolutely accept someone being transgender and bring them into their family with love and appreciation."
Season 3 of The Umbrella Academy is now streaming on Netflix.