This Tragic Theory Details How Ben May Have Died on 'The Umbrella Academy'

One of the mysteries The Umbrella Academy Season 1 never solves is what happened to Ben, a member of the dysfunctional superhero family who’s already dead before the show begins. We know something happened to Number Six, (aka, The Horror) between the flashbacks and the present-day events of the Netflix series. Unfortunately, you can’t find the answer in any recent interview or even the original Umbrella Academy comic book series.

For now, all we can do is speculate about the cause of Ben’s death in The Umbrella Academy, but one fan may have cracked the case with a new theory that’s equal parts convincing and tragic.

Spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Season 1 below.

Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven children to form the Umbrella Academy, but only six were still alive when he committed suicide at the start of the show to bring them back together. Ben died at some point before that, though the details of what happened are never revealed.

With his ability to see the dead, Klaus often communicates with Ben and is later able to make him interact with the world around him when he’s needed most. Klaus even makes Ben’s superpowers manifest, using the tentacles of the creatures from other dimensions under his skin to take out Commission agents in The Umbrella Academy Season 1 finale.

Still, that doesn’t answer how he died in the first place. Was Ben’s death as simple as a mission going sideways? And if so, why not reveal that detail? What could have happened to cause the death of the person with, at least to that point, the most violent ability?

It seems more likely that something else is to blame. Redditor u/Hadesman1 has a tragic theory about what that is: Ben committed suicide because of what he could do and had to do.

We only see Ben using his powers once when he’s alive, in a flashback to a hostage situation at a bank. While his siblings seem to enjoy fighting crime he doesn’t. When it’s his turn to take out robbers, he asks if he has to and then says he didn’t sign up for it before entering a room presumably full of bad guys. Through the frosted windows, we see his tentacles attack the robbers, and when he emerges afterwards he’s drenched in blood. He just wants to go home after. Poor Ben.

netflix umbrella academy ben horror
Compare Ben's reaction to his siblings' after they stopped bank robbers in 'The Umbrella Academy' Season 1, Episode 1.

Instead, he and his siblings stand outside the bank to receive credit for what they did. The others enjoy the praise. Ben does not. Considering how violent his powers were, that’s understandable. What if that all took a toll on him?

As redditor u/Hadesman1 points out, Klaus sees the dead as they looked at their time of death on the Netflix series. If Ben died during a mission gone wrong, wouldn’t there be some sign of it? Wouldn’t there be visible injuries?

Furthermore, redditor u/Beebajazz suggests that it’s significant that he’s not wearing an Umbrella Academy uniform, though redditor u/sbatast replies that the kids could have just stopped wearing them at a certain point.

Then again, it is possible that there’s more to Klaus’ powers than we know. We did see them growing throughout the season leading up to what he and Ben were able to do in the finale. What if we just see Ben this way because it’s how Klaus wants to see him? His appearance may hold no clues as to how he died at all.

If this theory is true, it would be quite dark — but The Umbrella Academy is a dark show, so it’s not entirely impossible.

Then again, if Ben didn’t kill himself, what else could have happened? Redditor u/sbatast thinks his powers contributed to his death.

“Making him use his powers when he didn’t want to seems more like the thing that family would do and that is what got him killed,” they write. That would mean something went wrong during a mission.

But it’s may be a theory redditor u/geordiesteve520’s theory, which looks to the comics, that is the most intriguing. It’s possible that Ben isn’t dead but somewhere else that Klaus can also reach with his powers, explaining why Ben is able to interact with the physical world.

“This is linked with how Klaus returns from the dead, which in the comics is accompanied by a comment along the lines of ‘death is complicated for the Hargreeves children,’” they write, suggesting that Ben’s trapped in the same dimension from which he summoned those monsters.

That theory could hold water even if Ben did commit suicide. What if due to his powers, when he died, he went to another dimension?

All we know for certain is that we hope there will be an Umbrella Academy Season 2 so we can find out what happened to Ben once and for all. Netflix has yet to renew the series, but maybe we’ll hear good news soon. And if not, there’s always the comics.

The Umbrella Academy Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

Media via Netflix