How does the story of The Umbrella Academy change if Number Five never makes that first fateful jump into the future as a kid? Based on the comic series by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy follows the adopted Hargreeves siblings – a family of super-powered and super-dysfunctional former heroes still grappling with their childhood trauma. The plot of The Umbrella Academy begins with the death of the family’s adopted father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves. After years apart, the family are brought together for Reginald’s funeral, but are unexpectedly interrupted when their lost sibling, Number Five, emerges from a time vortex.
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An intelligent and precocious youngster, Five was blessed with the power of traversing time and space, but struggled to control the ability and would only ever make short hops from one side of a room to the other. Alas, the ambitious Five was determined to make a big multi-year jump, despite Reginald constantly advising against it. Five ignored his father, but immediately regretted that decision, landing in a post-apocalyptic future and unable to return to his own timeline.
The reunion between Five and his siblings provides the impetus for The Umbrella Academy‘s story to begin, as the group desperately try to uncover the cause of the apocalypse and save the world from certain doom. But what happens to the lives of the Hargreeves family if Number Five follows Reginald’s orders and stays with his family instead of accidentally jumping headfirst into an apocalypse?
Five Is A Completely Different Character In The Umbrella Academy Season 1
The biggest consequence if Five never jumps happens to The Umbrella Academy‘s uniformed time-traveler himself. There are three different iterations of Number Five in The Umbrella Academy – the young character shown in flashbacks played by Aidan Gallagher, the “older man in a child’s body” also played by Gallagher, and the adult Five working for The Commission played by Sean Sullivan. If Five was never displaced in time at 13 years of age, he’d be a very different character in The Umbrella Academy‘s present timeline, where the Hargreeves siblings are all nearing 30-years-old. Just like the others, an adult Five would be very different to his younger self – perhaps finding a career as a frustrated high school science teacher or working in a mannequin factory. Five would probably harbor more bitterness about Reginald too, having spent more time in the abusive Academy. Five would surely follow Allison, Diego, Klaus and Vanya out of the door, rather than sticking around with Luther.
Five would bear very little resemblance to his older assassin self. The coffee-swigging, jaded old-timer spent a lifetime working for The Commission, and this shady background shapes his character throughout The Umbrella Academy. Being technically older than his siblings also enhances Five’s natural air of superiority. But if Five had aged normally like his brothers and sisters, he would’ve grown into a completely different man. His patronizing sarcasm and lust for caffeine would undoubtedly remain, but Five wouldn’t be the same deadly, cold killer, or have as much experience in time travel, because he never worked for The Commission.
Ben’s Death Is (Possibly) Averted
Number Five disappeared into the ether at 13-years-old, somewhere around 2002, while Ben’s death came a few years later, depriving the Umbrella Academy of yet another member. Blaming his young superheroes, Reginald Hargreeves strongly suggests that Ben died as the result of a mission gone wrong, but the exact circumstances remain a mystery as of The Umbrella Academy season 2. Given Reginald’s habit of manipulating the truth, it’s still possible that Ben took his own life, or died in a completely different way. Taking Reginald’s comments at face value, however, Five’s powers might’ve been the difference between life and death for Ben. The ability to make short jumps through space makes Number Five invaluable in tricky situations, and if Ben died during a mission, Five could’ve saved him… if he hadn’t foolishly jumped into the future several years prior.
The Season 1 Apocalypse Still Happens… But Differently
While it’s Number Five who travels back and warns his siblings that the end of the world is very, very nigh, the main ingredients of the apocalypse are still in place, even without his time travelling. Reginald Hargreeves keeps Vanya’s powers hidden, instilling a feeling in inadequacy within his Number Seven. Meanwhile, Leonard Peabody becomes the Umbrella Academy’s biggest fan and is humiliated by Reginald after trying to join them, setting a wicked plan for revenge into motion. In 2019, Leonard manipulates Vanya into triggering her latent abilities, and the resulting tidal wave of power destroys the world – an event The Commission have decided must go ahead. All of these events building up to The Umbrella Academy‘s season 1 apocalypse still occur, irrespective of what Five does.
However, Five’s attempt to prevent the end of the world seems to alter how the apocalypse happens. In The Umbrella Academy‘s season 1 finale, Vanya blasts the moon, raining down a cascade of fire and rock upon the Earth. Having lived in the future for years, Number Five surely would’ve noticed the damaged moon, and made a bigger deal of the satellite’s importance when explaining the apocalypse to his siblings. Instead, Five only says “the moon is still shining” when convincing the others that the end of the world hasn’t been averted in season 1’s finale. This could prove the moon was destroyed in Five’s future, or be foreshadowing the events to come. Other inconsistencies, such as Luther holding Leonard’s eye, suggest the cataclysm would’ve played out differently if Five didn’t already know what was coming.
Eudora Patch Survives
When Five absconds from The Commission to prevent the apocalypse, his former employers send two agents to stop him – Hazel and Cha-Cha. But if Five never travels to the future as a child, he doesn’t join The Commission, doesn’t find out about the apocalypse, and doesn’t try to stop it. Therefore, Hazel and Cha-Cha wouldn’t appear in The Umbrella Academy season 1. All of the damage The Commission cause in 2019 can be wiped from the slate, including the tragic death of Eudora Patch. Diego’s on-off detective girlfriend, Eudora is killed by Cha-Cha after tracking the assassins down to their motel room. If Cha-Cha isn’t sent to catch Five, however, Eudora never dies, and her complicated relationship with Diego continues into season 2.
Klaus Never Meets Dave, Or Learns To Control His Power
The disappearance of Hazel and Cha-Cha from The Umbrella Academy season 1 has a profound effect on Klaus’ story. During their hunt for Five, the two Commission goons take his brother Klaus hostage. Tied up and helpless, Klaus manages to escape with his kidnappers’ time-traveling briefcase and accidentally jumps to the Vietnam war, where he meets Dave and falls in love. But if Five never foresees the apocalypse, and Hazel and Cha-Cha aren’t sent to stop him, then Klaus is never abducted and the whole Vietnam sub-plot dissolves. Dave caused a deep emotional change in Klaus, which wouldn’t have happened if Five didn’t jump into the future as a child. Klaus’ time with Hazel and Cha-Cha also forces him to go cold turkey and sober up, beginning Klaus’ journey towards controlling his powers properly and physically manifesting Ben. Without this power, the Academy might’ve been killed by The Commission’s assault team during Vanya’s recital.
The Hargreeves Siblings Go To The 1960s… But Don’t Return
Even if Number Five isn’t forewarned about the apocalypse, the Hargreeves siblings would eventually realize that something was wrong with Vanya’s new boyfriend, and still try to stop their sister ending the world, before inevitably failing. The Academy would once again rely on Five throwing everyone back through time, as he did in The Umbrella Academy‘s season 1 finale. As a result, the entire 1960s story in The Umbrella Academy season 2 only suffers minor alterations. Klaus wouldn’t become a cult leader, because he never unleashed the full potential of his conjuring, and Hazel can’t warn Five about the second apocalypse, since they don’t know each other. Everything else stays more or less in place.
But would the Hargreeves siblings be able to return home? In The Umbrella Academy season 2, Herb lets the Academy use a Commission briefcase to travel back home from the 1960s, but the entire history of The Commission changes if Five’s jump into the future doesn’t happen. Five doesn’t join The Commission, so Hazel isn’t sent to catch him in 2019, and doesn’t meet Agnes the donut lady. Without Agnes, Hazel has no reason to shoot The Handler, so the big season 2 feud between her and Carmichael never happens. This means The Handler doesn’t seize control of The Commission and send the entire fleet of agents to kill the Umbrella Academy on Sissy’s farm. The Commission might still notice Harlan’s power surge and send a couple of agents in response (who are promptly killed), but Five wouldn’t know how to use their dropped briefcases, having never worked for The Commission.
Furthermore, Five would never have killed Lila’s parents, so Diego’s relationship with her is scrapped. Without his stint at Commission HQ in The Umbrella Academy season 2, Diego never befriends Herb, leaving no obvious route home for the Hargreeves siblings.
The Commission Are Totally Fine
By the end of The Umbrella Academy season 2, The Commission is a shadow of its former self. The Handler hired Five to slaughter the organization’s shadowy leadership and assumed control herself, but her desperation to kill the Hargreeves siblings resulted in the deaths of almost every Commission agent, leaving only Herb and a small team of admin workers to steady the ship. Things would’ve played out very differently if Five never found himself stranded in the future and joined The Commission. Carmichael and the other leaders would still be alive, and The Handler would still hold her original role in the company. The layout of The Commission would be exactly as it was when The Umbrella Academy began, proving Five was the thread that unraveled the entire operation.
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