Number Five may look like the youngest sibling of the Hargreeves family, but he’s also the one who’s most dedicated to wearing the traditional Umbrella Academy uniform. Of course, he’s actually far older than his siblings, a middle-aged man trapped inside a teenage body.
Five is played by Aidan Gallagher, the youngest of The Umbrella Academy’s core cast members. His siblings no longer rock the classic look, but he’s still stuck in the same school-boy uniform that his pops, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, had him wear.
That’s because Five spent 45 years in the future, but due to a miscalculation, he returned to the present day as the same 13-year-old boy who zapped ahead, with nothing in his closet but the old threads. He has bigger problems to worry about, like stopping an apocalypse from occurring, so he opts to wear what he has.
The first season of The Umbrella Academy ended with the superhero family travelling to the past, and season 2 picks up with Five appearing in 1960s Dallas. (In typical time-traveller’s dilemma fashion, he crosses paths with a different version of himself, an aged man wearing a suit.) Five has to stop yet another apocalypse from occurring, so he’s once again too preoccupied to change clothes. That’s how it seems, at least, but is there a deeper reason?
Five’s uniform doubles as a costuming illusion
As it turns out, there’s a practical real-world reason to keep Five in the uniform, too. The creative team behind The Umbrella Academy has a unique challenge with the character, as he’s the only member of the Hargreeves family who isn’t ageing.
That means he should look virtually the same all the way through season two as he did during season one. As young ensembles like the cast of Stranger Things have shown, teenage actors have a tendency to age fast — they can look drastically different over the course of a year. The schoolboy uniform is a way to make Five look approximately the same age as Gallagher himself ages from year to year.
On top of the practical considerations both in-universe and out, there’s a psychological metaphor in Five’s look, as Gallagher revealed in an interview with Collider. “I love the costume. I think it’s really cool. But the way I always imagine it in my mind is that Five hasn’t had the time to visit a tailor. He’s thrust around from event to event, for his entire life, and his only goal is to survive, get back to his family, and save the world,” the actor explained. “He’s never had time to figure out who he is as a person, and the costume is a good metaphor for that. It’s the salt in the wound for Five, being in his younger self now. This is the only thing that fits him, and there’s no time to actually get a proper suit or anything. You’ll probably see the costume change, if Five ever gets the chance to slow down.”
In terms of slowing down, the second season concludes with the Hargreeves returning to 2019, only to find their home occupied by a different group of presumed superheroes: the Sparrow Academy. Time (travel) will tell if Number Five is rocking the same iconic attire when we catch up with him in The Umbrella Academy season 3.