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The Untold Truth Of Mr. Nobody

In HBO Max's "Doom Patrol" and the comics the show's based on, Mr. Nobody's true identity — or at least his original one — is Mr. Morden. He's a former small-time supervillain wannabe who had an antagonistic relationship with Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton), and who became a legitimately dangerous, angular living shadow after subjecting himself to the strange experiments of a mad scientist. 

Before season 1 of "Doom Patrol" introduced him to a wider audience, Mr. Nobody was mostly known for his stint as arguably the most memorable antagonist in Grant Morrison's legendary run on "Doom Patrol" — which itself is saying something, considering the sheer amount of strangeness Morrison brought in the mix. Even after his highly entertaining tenure as the show's primary villain, the absurdist Nobody can hardly challenge the likes of the Joker and Lex Luthor when it comes to name recognition. This is a little bit unfair, because apart from his utter unpredictability, the character is actually one of the more enticing evil-ish characters in the DC universe, and even the people who have watched the show and read the classic comic book issues might not know all there is to his multi-faceted (in the show) or two-dimensional (in the comics) nature. As such, it's high time we take a look at the untold truth of Mr. Nobody. 

Mr. Nobody may not be as powerful as you think

Though the comics version of Mr. Nobody is creepy and able to execute plans that threaten the fabric of the universe, you might be surprised to find out that the character isn't quite as all-powerful as he might seem. He's essentially just a sentient shadow that's charismatic but completely insane, and while he attests to a number of "nobody"-themed powers, his DC Database profile says his only power that's not related to his strange physical state is to affect other people's sanity. A white-colored version of him, Mr. Somebody, later gains the ability to possess people.

Alan Tudyk's live-action version, on the other hand, is a handful. His treatment turned him into an absurdly powerful reality warper who's fully aware that he's in a TV show, to the point that his powers are ultimately those of the story's narrator. Of course, the fact that he's the guy telling the tale — and an unreliable narrator by default — means that he's not quite as impossible to defeat as you'd expect, especially when you take into account his rather unbalanced mental state. This is evident to anyone who's seen the ending of "Doom Patrol" season 1, and Tudyk himself has told DCComics.com that Mr. Nobody's completely untrustworthy narration is an integral part of the character's power set. "It is what's happening," the actor said. "He's definitely spinning [the narrative] for his benefit as he mocks his enemies, the Doom Patrol. He thinks they're a bunch of morons and he'll say it to them. 'Close your mouth. You have nothing to say.' He's a reliable narrator in that ... ugh, he is unreliable!" 

Mr. Nobody has a daughter and a grandson

Thanks to his peculiar physiology, you wouldn't necessarily expect Mr. Nobody to have children, but worry not — even if the villain disappeared from the various "Doom Patrol" properties for good tomorrow, the franchise would still have generations of his offspring to hurl at the titular team. 

Terry None, Mr. Nobody's daughter, was created by none other than "The Umbrella Academy" scribe Gerard Way, so you know she's more than strange enough to fit right in the ever-so-odd world of "Doom Patrol." If any suspicions linger, there's always her power to affect reality with the power of tap dancing, her anthropomorphic punk rock cat that ends up joining Doom Patrol, and her ultra-dangerous supervillain plot that involves a food called "$#!+."

If two generations of Morden villains wasn't enough, there's also the powerful and excellently named Milkman Man. Thanks to some very complicated plot twists, he manages to be both Mr. Nobody's grandson and a rather literally retconned, milk-themed version of Superman himself. Talk about a convoluted family history.   

Mr. Nobody and the Brotherhood of Dada

It remains to be seen whether the live-action version of Mr. Nobody eventually returns to "Doom Patrol," but several members of his strange team, the Brotherhood of Dada, will feature in "Doom Patrol" season 3 as the Sisterhood of Dada. In the comics, the curious group features people who tend to be conflicted and tormented, rather than outright supervillains. More often than not, they also have powers that are almost as terrifying as those of Nobody himself. For instance, The Quiz (played by Gina Hiraizumi in the show) has pretty much every single superpower that her allies and opponents can't think of, and The Fog (Wynn Everett) is essentially a cloud that steals people's minds.    

In normal circumstances, a group like this could be a threat to any superhero out there, let alone a somewhat struggling squad like the Doom Patrol. However, the Brotherhood's (and presumably Sisterhood's) plans tend to be far more esoteric than your average supervillain team's, and their true nature is hidden in plain sight if you look into the meaning of the name. Per Tate, the art movement known as Dada was indeed deliberately absurd and weird, but at its heart, it was a reaction and protest to the horrors of World War I. By naming his team in this manner — as opposed to, say, the Brotherhood of Evil — and recruiting members that fit the bill, Mr. Nobody indicates that he doesn't see himself as a villain. It must be noted, though, that he most certainly doesn't think of himself as a good guy, either. In fact, his comics version has specifically called both evil and good "outmoded concepts for an antique age," and indeed, the group seems to get its kicks from chaos instead.   

The difficult task of creating a live-action Mr. Nobody

A show like "Doom Patrol" would be tricky even if it wasn't for the fact that their most famous villain is basically a goofy, angular mass of opaque black. Fortunately, the character's design in the show is excellent, and Alan Tudyk's wonderfully dead-eyed performance and vocal talents bring the unique character to life. Still, as the actor told DC Universe Infinite, he had to do plenty of homework to embody Nobody's offbeat persona, and to this end, he ended up drawing inspiration from the comic book version's infatuation with dada.  

" In the comic books, Mr. Nobody creates the Brotherhood of Dada," Tudyk said. "We don't do that. So I just studied the dada art movement, Salvador Dali, and all the people behind him. They were always trying to push the idea of what is possible and what's outside the norm. Even just watching Salvador Dali in interviews, his flamboyance, his eccentricities — I can borrow from that as an actor."

Though that evidently allowed Tudyk to play Mr. Nobody to the great effect that he did, the actor — who, remember, is a grizzled veteran of CGI and animated performances — admitted that he was completely confused when it came to the CGI wizardry that gave Nobody his piecemeal look in the show. "I've done a couple of films where I've played a CGI character and experienced that, and I know a lot about the process that goes into it, because they were big movies," he said. "When I'm Mr. Nobody, I don't know how they do it! When I'm that fragmented version of me...they erase me except for half my face. I don't know how they do that and replace me with this weird, fragmented black-and-white being. It's bizarre."

Doom Patrol season 2 delivers a stealthy reference to Alan Tudyk's real-life activities

Mr. Nobody is as meta as they come, to the point that he doesn't even have to be present for the fourth wall to shatter to tiny pieces. Consider "Dumb Patrol," the season 2 episode of HBO's "Doom Patrol," in which a race of creatures called Scants dumbs down the titular team, and a face-off ensues in the White Space that was used to trap Nobody and a secondary villain, the Beard Hunter (Tommy Snider), in the ending of season 1. The Beard Hunter is still around, but Mr. Nobody is nowhere to be seen. 

When asked where the powerful villain is, the Hunter refers to an animation job that he's gone to work on. This is a cool reference to another DC property, "Harley Quinn," in which Mr. Nobody's actor, Alan Tudyk, does some pretty heavy lifting, as he provides the voices of the Joker, Clayface, and a trio of lesser villains. Here's hoping "Harley Quinn" will eventually add another layer to the reference by, say, having one of Tudyk's characters casually announce Nobody's return to "Doom Patrol."