The Sci-Fi Cult Classic That Inspired The Umbrella Academy's Number 5

"The Umbrella Academy" has its fair share of unusual characters, but Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), a 58-year-old man trapped in the body of a 13-year-old, is especially strange. In an interview with ScreenRant, the co-creator of the source material comic, My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, shared the inspiration behind the youngest and oldest Hargreeves sibling. Apparently, Number Five was inspired by a Terry Gilliam sci-fi cult classic that planted a small seed of an idea into Way's head. And thank goodness, because Number Five is a purely demented delight. 

From 12 Monkeys to The Umbrella Academy

The movie that inspired Way was "12 Monkeys," a time-traveling dystopian thriller about a world where everyone must live underground in order to avoid a deadly plague that was released by an eco-terrorist (Brad Pitt). Bruce Willis plays a prisoner who is chosen for a special mission to go back in time to stop the terrorist from releasing the virus. Willis is eventually killed in front of his younger self, which is pretty wild when you consider the actor went on to travel through time to kill his younger self in "Looper." 

Anyway, the idea of an old man inside of the mind of a child was all it took to get Way's mind going:

"Well, I was really inspired by Terry Gilliam and '12 Monkeys.' And I was also– At the time, I don't think we had ever seen a character like that. We had not seen a 58-year-old man trapped in the body of child. So, that really appealed to me. I didn't want a character that we could play with time, I wanted a character that we could play with violence. There's a real juxtaposition there. You have a child and he's committing some serious violence. So, I felt like there was something to be said in that and a juxtaposition to be shown."

Number Five is definitely a character who can play with violence. He's a nearly 60-year-old man who has seen some things, but he's trapped in his much younger body. He's a foul-mouthed, brutally violent guy who just so happens to look like he should be playing "Fortnite," not mourning the loss of his lover and trying to protect his siblings from the impending apocalypse. The character is fascinating in the comic series, but Gallagher really brings him to life in a way that belies his age. 

"The Umbrella Academy" should return for a third season on Netflix sometime in 2022.