Published Feb 13, 2019There's not much out there like The Umbrella Academy, the upcoming Netflix show based on the comic books by former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Though its blend of gritty family drama, zany neo-Gothic style and superhero-driven action may set it apart from other programs, it's not the first show to feature British actor Robert Sheehan as a wise-cracking, responsibility-shirking drifter with the ability to talk to the dead.
If that description sounds familiar, you were probably a fan of Misfits, the British superhero dramedy that ran from 2009 to 2013, producing four seasons. Sheehan starred in the first two seasons as Nathan Young, who, like his Umbrella Academy character Klaus, was a wise-cracking, responsibility-shirking drifter with the ability to talk to the dead.
"The Nathan vibes are there, definitely," said Sheehan about Klaus during an on-set interview while filming the first season of The Umbrella Academy. But Sheehan reassures us that he's not just channelling Nathan on the new show. According to Sheehan, he is, "with the best will in the world, trying not to go back to a similar place. It's just boring, if you try and chart the same territory."
Sheehan noted that he started playing Nathan in 2009, when he was 21 and, in his own words, "a chaotic, crazy young man," and left the show in 2011 at age 23. Meanwhile, he filmed the first season of The Umbrella Academy in 2018, when he was 30, and "a lot more relaxed now, as a human being, than I used to be." It was this disparity in age that made him willing to return to a similar type of character.
"One of the reasons I was okay with coming back to territory that I knew people would think was similar is the fact that it has been nine years," said the actor. "Who doesn't change through their 20s? I changed probably more than the average person who lives in one place and has a job. But everybody changes significantly in maturity, we'd like to think, from 20 to 30. Klaus is 30 and Nathan is 20."
But would he play Nathan again in some hypothetical reunion or continuation? "Yeah," says Sheehan, "but I want to play him as my age now, and his age now.
"I don't know what he'd be doing. Probably [still] be in jail. But absolutely! Why not?"
The first season of The Umbrella Academy will be released on Netflix on February 15.