In a 2020 AMA on Reddit, Netflix’s Umbrella Academy creator Steve Blackman was asked why of the seven alumni at the coveted super-powered institution, Number Five is the only one with a digit for a name. The explanation was pretty simple – that is, as simple as an explanation can be, with time travel.
Blackman revealed, “Grace helped the children choose names that were popular in their birthplaces. However, Five couldn’t decide on one before getting lost in the apocalypse. Now he just likes the name ‘Five’.” In hindsight, it’s so fitting for the sarcastic, time-travelling renegade who, after being separated from the group for so long, came back and kept one of the essential things about himself, as we did had left him. Is it a shame that like the rest of the Hargreeves he never found a real name? A little, but he brilliantly owns this number, thanks to actor Aidan Gallagher’s insightful interpretation of number five.
Speaking to Collider about the nickname, Gallagher said: “As far as I know he turned it down [the name Grace picked for him]. … It was almost an angry, spiteful act in the face of Hargreeves.” He added, “Five has always been this brilliant, very clever and weird little mind, so a number kind of suited him and he’s used to it.”
Between the canon origins and Gallagher’s thoughtful performance, this character stands out from a team of other unique world saviors. He may be fifth, but he’s a number one hero when he’s needed.