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The Real Reason Number 5 From The Umbrella Academy Doesn't Have A Name

Among the eclectic band of heroes that make up "The Umbrella Academy," Five (Aidan Gallagher) might easily be the most bitter, and for a totally valid reason. After being sucked into a dimensional portal that had him spend years in a post-apocalyptic future, Number Five returns to the present day only to learn that the world and his own family have carried on without him. It's an experience that puts him apart from the rest of the Hargreeves children, putting an old head on very young shoulders ahead of everyone else. If the rift couldn't be any wider, there's also the fact that, unlike the rest of his brothers and sisters, Five doesn't have a real name, either.

Whereas the rest of the Hargreeves children gave up their involvement in the Umbrella Academy's heroic endeavors and reverted to their civilian names, Five still goes by the call sign he was given by his adoptive father, Professor Hargreeves (Colm Feore). At no point in the series has anyone else called him by any other name so far, but why not? Thankfully, series creator Steve Blackman revealed why that was the case, and why Number Five is happy to keep it that way.

Number Five never got a real name, thanks to a trip to the future

In a 2020 AMA on Reddit, the creator of Netflix's "Umbrella Academy," Steve Blackman, was asked why out of the seven super-powered former students of the coveted establishment, Number Five is the only one who still has a digit for a name. The explanation was pretty simple — that is to say, as simple as an explanation can be, involving time travel.

Blackman revealed, "Grace helped the kids choose names that were popular from their birth places. However, Five couldn't decide on one before getting lost in the apocalypse. Now, he just likes the name 'Five.'" In hindsight, that's very on brand for the sarcastic, time-traveling tearaway, who, after being apart from the group for so long, came back and kept one of the essential things about himself just as it was when we left. Is it a shame he never got to find a real name like the rest of the Hargreeves? A little, but he owns that number brilliantly, which is due to actor Aidan Gallagher's own insightful interpretation of Number Five.

Speaking with Collider about the moniker, Gallagher said, "It's my understanding that he rejected [the name Grace picked for him]. ... It was almost a resentful, spiteful action, in the face of Hargreeves." He added, "Five has always been this brilliant, very cunning, and weird little mind, so a number suited him, in a way, and he grew accustomed to it."

Between the canonical origins and Gallagher's thoughtful performance, this character stands out in a team of other unique world-savers. He might be Five, but he's a Number One hero when needed.