Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy was a hit series with fans of the comics and people who had never seen it. The reason the show worked as well as it did was due to the source material that went into it, which translates into some of the most interesting characters ever written.
One of the most interesting, yet enigmatic, character of the bunch was Number Five. Though he was only one of the members of the Umbrella Academy, his powers and experiences made him central to the plot of the series, but how much do you really know about him? Here are 10 facts all fans need to know about Number Five.
On the show, most of the siblings called him Number Five, but as far as anyone is truly concerned, he’s just known of as “The Boy.” This is due to the fact that his adoptive father never gave him or any of the children names and only referred to them by a number.
Even when he returned to the present, he still was only referred to as “Number Five” instead of with a name like the others. Their mother had given them a name as they got older, but since Number Five had disappeared prior to that taking place, he remained nameless throughout the entire comic book run and television series.
Number Five was always a popular character from the comics, but since the television series was launched over at Netflix with Aidan Gallagher playing him, his popularity has skyrocketed. Just because the fans love the character doesn’t mean they are satisfied with his lack of name.
To fix the issue, the show’s official Twitter account challenged the fans to come up with a proper name for the character… and they did! The consensus online is to name him “Frank” in honor of one of the members of My Chemical Romance, Frank Lero. Fans even pointed out that Gallagher looks like a younger version of Lero, which works out perfectly.
All of the children adopted by Hargreeves call one another brother or sister, but they are not actually related in any biological sense of the word. That’s true for most of them, and the TV series seems to have taken its cues from the comics, but there’s one aspect about the books that didn’t make it onto the series.
The Boy and Spaceboy are actually twins having been born to the same unfortunate, and surprised woman. This was revealed during the Dallas storyline in the comics and never made it over to the Netflix series… at least not in the first season, but it seems unlikely at this point.
Time travel is a tricky business, especially when it’s difficult to control. When Number Five starts mucking about with his ability to travel through time, it looks as if he’s got a real knack for it. Unfortunately, the reality of his powers makes his abilities far more chaotic than they initially appear.
After transporting himself to the future beyond a point in which all of civilization is destroyed, he immediately tries to return, but can’t. As a result, he spends the next 50 years wandering the apocalypse until he can return, but his time travel shenanigans push him through time as a young boy with the mind of a 60-year-old man.
When The Boy starts working out his time travel skills, he finds it easy to move through time, but only in one direction. He could only naturally travel through time in a forward direction, which is why he ended up getting stuck in the apocalyptic future for five decades.
When he was finally able to return, it required extensive work, and it was far from an easy thing for him to do. The process resulted in his de-aging to the body of a child who still retained the mind of a full-grown adult. While he managed to make the trip back after 50 years, backward time travel still eludes him.
In the comics, The Boy was much as he appeared on screen, but one of the changes made to the show involved having him take part in the team’s first mission. This didn’t occur in the comics, and the very first mission of the team took place in Paris… to stop the rampaging Eiffel Tower from running amok.
He wasn’t there because he had already shot himself into the future. When the work was done and the Eiffel Tower situation was resolved, Sir Reginald remarked that the loss of Number Five was no great detriment to the team or the mission.
Just like the television series, Number Five had one true love in his life, and it was a mannequin. It’s not something you can really blame the guy for. After all, he was alone on a desolate landscape looking for life and a means of returning to his own time for fifty years.
The closest thing to a person was the half-burned torso and head of a mannequin he named Dolores. She became his confidante and only friend whom he carried about for five decades before finally returning to the present. It’s not clear how “deep” the relationship between the two actually went, but Number Five clearly loved Dolores throughout time and space.
In the Umbrella Academy universe, time travel is such a problem, an organization was founded to deal with people who might screw up time itself. The Temps Aeternalis found and captured/recruited Number Five long after he arrived in the future, and he became one of their greatest assets.
They experimented on him with the goal was to turn him into an assassin they could use to correct/alter the timeline. He was hardly their only asset, and once he failed a mission, the group sent Hazel and Cha-Cha into the field to terminate him, which didn’t work out too well for anyone concerned.
To turn Number Five into a usable asset, Temps Aeternalis experimented on his DNA. They combined his own DNA with that of a number of history’s greatest (or worst depending on how you look at it) serial killers. The result was a man who could pop in and out of places and kill with relative ease and impunity.
By the time he had served the organization to prove himself, Number Five had become the deadliest assassin in the history of… well, history. He had a 100% success rate, which meant that sending him to do a job always resulted in the target’s extermination.
The reason the Temps Aeternalis turned on Number Five had to do with the fact that their #1 assassin didn’t assassinate the last target he was sent to kill, one John F. Kennedy. By not going through with the operation to take out President Kennedy, Number Five screwed up the timeline.
This was something the Temps Aeternalis simply couldn’t stand for. When he left his “post” to return to the present, they dispatched two of their best killers to take him out. Hazel and Cha-Cha were more than capable of killing any normal target, but Number Five proved more difficult to exterminate than most.