‘The Umbrella Academy’: How is Five Different in the TV Series Versus the Graphic Novels?

Based on the comics of the same name, Netflix’s series The Umbrella Academy premiered on the streaming platform in 2019. Since then, the series has become one of Netflix’s most-watched shows, and fans are waiting on the edge of their seats for the season 3 premiere. As with many television series based on written material, Netflix tweaked a few details on each character. Here are some of the most significant differences between The Umbrella Academy character Number Five, played by Aiden Gallagher, in the series versus the graphic novels.

Number Five, played by Aiden Gallagher, wearing his uniform in a production still from 'The Umbrella Academy' Season 2
Aiden Gallagher as Number Five | Cr. Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Umbrella Academy’ softened Number Five’s personality for the series

In The Umbrella Academy graphic novels written by Gabriel Bá and Gerard Way, Number Five’s ruthless demeanor makes him the perfect cold-blooded killer. Both the TV series and the graphic novels show Number Five working as an assassin, but the television version of the character has more of a heart.

In the novels, The Temps Aertenalis (known as The Commission in the Netflix series) inject Five with the DNA of serial killers. This allows him to kill without remorse. However, The Umbrella Academy, which fans watched on their screens, Five has a change of heart in season 2. After murdering a handful of people working for The Commission, he decides to give up killing for good. The written version of Five makes no such change.

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Number Five has a twin in the graphic novels

While all of the members of The Umbrella Academy refer to each other as siblings, they aren’t actually related. Instead, 43 children were spontaneously born on Oct. 1, 1989, and Reginald Hargreeves tried to adopt each one. He only succeeded in adopting seven – Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five, Ben, and Vanya. 

In The Umbrella Academy novels, fans learn that two of those siblings share the same mother. Five and Luther are twins in the graphic novels. Granted, this might become a plot point in future episodes of the TV series, but as of now, it hasn’t been mentioned. In The Umbrella Academy Season 2, fans got a glimpse of what a team-up between Luther and Five would look like when they dealt with a version of Five from the future. This may have been a hint for audiences to expect more of the duo in upcoming episodes.

Five tries to kill Vanya in the ‘The Umbrella Academy’ graphic novels

When viewers watched The Umbrella Academy Season 1 finale, they saw Allison struggle with how to stop Vanya from causing the apocalypse. After years of pent-up frustration, Vanya unleashes her powers in a battle with her siblings. In order to stop Vanya from killing her brothers, Allison points a gun at the back of her head with the intent of shooting her. She fires the weapon beside Vanya’s ear at the last minute, deafening her.

Five holds the gun in the graphic novel but instead fires it into Vanya’s head. However, that’s not the end for Vanya. She survives the gunshot but is now unable to walk. 

The Umbrella Academy Season 3 premieres on June 22, 2022. The first two seasons are currently streaming on Netflix.

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