Characters With Numbers for Names: A Video Countdown

Slate's Culture Blog
March 25 2014 8:16 AM

Characters With Numbers for Names: A Video Countdown

In Divergent, the love interest of protagonist Tris (Shailene Woodley) was born Tobias Eaton (Theo James), but he’s better known as Four. This got us here at Brow Beat thinking about the long history of movie and TV characters with numbers for names.

For some characters the number hints at their background or personality traits. Four earned that nickname because he only has four fears: heights, small spaces, killing, and his abusive father. Similarly, in The Matrix, Neo is often referred to as The One because he is prophesied to be the one to end the war between machines and humans. For other characters, their numerical names derive from more practical concerns. The villain of Thunderball, for example, is known as Number Two only because he is SPECTRE’s second in command. (This in turn inspired the Austin Powers villain of the same name, and in the new Muppets movie, Ricky Gervais’ character has earned this same nickname for being the No. 2 most dangerous criminal.)

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There are many more examples, of course—though not enough to count all the way up to 1138 or 24601. So herewith, in the form of a video rundown, our favorites in the single digits.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

Chris Wade is a video and podcast producer for Slate and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.

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