Nathan Petrelli

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Nathan Petrelli
Portrayed by Adrian Pasdar,
Jayson Blair,
Sam Cohen (11 years old)
First appearance Genesis
In-story stats
Known ability Flight (synthetic)
Nicknames Flying Man,
Senator Sky-Boy,
Age Unknown
Date of birth 1967
Home Hyde Park, NY
Residences Mansion in Hyde Park, NY
Occupations Chairman of the Senate Commission,
former Head of Homeland Security,
United States Senator, New York
former leader of Pinehearst Company,
former U.S. Congressman,
former district attorney,
former U.S. Navy officer (served as a pilot)
Significant others formerly Tracy Strauss,
formerly Heidi Petrelli (wife, separated),
formerly Meredith Gordon (deceased),
formerly Kelly Houston (deceased)
Parents Angela Petrelli,
Arthur Petrelli (deceased)
Grandparents Paternal grandparent:
Mrs. Petrelli
Maternal grandparents:
Mr. Shaw (deceased),
Mrs. Shaw (deceased)
Children Claire Bennet,
Simon Petrelli,
Monty Petrelli
Grandchildren Tommy Clark,
Sibling Peter Petrelli
Other relatives Paternal uncle:
Tim Petrelli
Maternal aunt:
Alice Shaw

Senator Nathan Petrelli was the son of Arthur and Angela, older brother of Peter and biological father of Claire Bennet. He also had two sons, Simon and Monty by his ex-wife Heidi Petrelli. He had the ability of flight. He was the namesake of one of Claire's children as named by his mother.


Nathan, ambitious, pragmatic and an aspiring politician inspired by his father, sought to one day help the world by occupying a high position in the government. Nathan made many questionable choices and did or supported many bad things during his long and painful struggle for power. In the end, Nathan, upon succeeding in becoming New York State Congressman, realized how much his efforts had cost him when his beloved, yet somewhat estranged, younger brother detonated above the city. Resigning from office, Nathan went through a long period of depression, steadily driving his friends and family away. Though with time, coupled with Peter's return, Nathan resolved to make things right. To this end, he attempted to reveal the existence of evolved humans to the world, only to suffer an assassination attempt. Miraculously recovering, Nathan attributed his healing to an act of God, and believed evolved humans to be God's servants to His will on Earth. To this end, Nathan accepted the position of Junior Senator of New York, with Tracy Strauss as his aide. After discovering that his parents had injected him with the formula at a young age, Nathan eventually pledged his allegiance to his father's plans to synthetically give people abilities, despite his father's previous attempts to kill Nathan. Unfortunately, these plans failed, so Nathan revealed the existence of evolved humans to the President, like he tried to at the press conference before he was shot. They both agreed to have the government capture them and place them in a facility where no harm could be done. Despite having turned against his own kind, he still tried his best to keep his family members safe, even if it meant risking his own secrets coming out. His biological body was killed by Sylar, who had already obtained Nathan's form and memories in order to meet and replace the President. However, at Angela's insistence, Matt Parkman questionably used both abilities against Sylar by transferring Nathan's memories and forcing Sylar to believe that he was Nathan. For months, Sylar was living Nathan's life, unaware of his true identity, but "Nathan's" conscience resurfaced, and it seemed that Nathan wasn't willing to go down without a fight. The two battled for control over the body. After Peter used mental manipulation to help Nathan's conscience regain control one last time, Nathan discovered that Sylar was too powerful for him and tried to throw himself a roof. While hanging onto Peter's arm, he said his goodbyes to Peter before falling, appearing to finally "die", turning back into Sylar just before he crashed into a car below.

Character History

Season One

For an episode-by-episode summary, see Nathan Petrelli: Season One History.

Nathan has an interesting conversation with his brother.

Nathan is busy with his campaign when his brother claims he can fly. Peter resorts to jumping from a building, but Nathan flies, yet fails to catch him. The next day, Nathan is forced to admit that he can fly. He tells the public that Peter is suicidal to keep the reporters away. Mohinder pesters him on the streets, which he gets away from, and he meets with Niki, whom he sleeps with. During his sleep, he is kidnapped by Bennet and the Haitian, whom he escapes from. Landing at a diner, he meets Hiro, and is warned of a dark future, but is told he will win the election.

Back at New York, he has brunch with his family, and buys a painting from Linderman at his brother's request. He brings it to Isaac's loft, and, upon seeing it, splashes it with paint, leaving Simone with the mess. He then gets Peter from jail after the homecoming incident, and witnesses him fall unconscious, after claiming he is the bomb. Nathan stays at his side for two weeks.

He visits Isaac and Simone about the paintings, meeting with Hiro again. They talk, and agree to stop the exploding man. Nathan finds Mohinder, and they unsuccessfully try to calm Peter down in his apartment. Afterwards, he finds out that his daughter, Claire, is still alive from Meredith. He visits her, and gives her money for her to be silent. He resumes his quest to bring Linderman down - only for Peter to appear and tell him Simone is dead. Nathan goes to the Corinthian Casino regardless, and finds Hiro. Helping Hiro get his sword, Nathan forcefully takes Niki's gun, and meets Linderman. Linderman offers Nathan a "life of meaning", which he accepts - a life of meaning being a life in the White House. Nathan discovers that his brother has been killed, and goes to the Petrelli mansion, only to see Claire, who revives Peter.

Nathan, Peter and Claire talk about the explosion, and Claire tells Nathan about Ted. Nathan warns Linderman about Ted, and gets a visit from Thompson, who assures Nathan that Ted is not a problem. Finally, Angela convinces Nathan to take the role of President once the catastrophe has occurred. Linderman also helps, telling him that his father was "one of us". After, he receives a visit from D.L. and Jessica while he wins the election, and tells them where Linderman is. He gives his victory speech. He convinces his mother he is ready for his role, and meets with Peter and Claire - only to take Claire away from Peter. He confirms to Claire that he is involved, and Claire escapes by jumping through the window. Finally, before Peter can explode, Nathan flies in, grabs Peter, and flies away, allowing the explosion to occur above the city having realized that Claire was right.

Season Two

For an episode-by-episode summary, see Nathan Petrelli: Season Two History.

Nathan walks in Peter's apartment and finds Angela looking at a photograph of her sons. She tells Nathan that it's time to accept Peter's death, but Nathan refuses to believe it. Angela realizes that Nathan is drunk and tells him that she is happy his father isn't here to see him like that. At a bar, he catches his reflection and sees a horribly disfigured, scarred visage looking back at him. Nathan's wife left him, taking the children, and he lost his job and Congressman status.

Nathan fights himself in a nightmare.

Nathan is greeted by Matt while waiting to pickup Angela from the police station. Angela is attacked mysteriously in the station, and Matt and Nathan help her. Later, Nathan comes to visit her in hospital, and talks with Matt about the murder of Kaito. Matt tells Nathan that his mother confessed the murder of Kaito Nakamura, but Matt says he knows Angela is innocent. Nathan asks how he knows this, and Matt reveals that he has the ability to read minds, and he also knows that Nathan can fly. Angela is arrested for the murder, and Nathan meets with Matt to give him some information about a familiar photo.

Nathan and Matt travel to Maury's apartment, and question Maury. Soon after, using telepathy, Maury manages to lock Nathan and Matt in their own personal nightmares. Nathan is on top of the Deveaux Building, watching helplessly as New York burns in the aftermath of the explosion. A fight ensues between him and his disfigured self, which ends when Matt inserts a thought in Nathan's head, as they realize they are not having two separate fights but are, in fact, fighting each other. They then find another photo marked with the Symbol, this time of Bob.

What happened after flying away from Kirby Plaza is revealed: Nathan held onto Peter and flew him high into the air, despite the radiation burning him severely. Peter forces Nathan to release him, falls away, and explodes. Nathan is hit by the shockwave and is knocked out, but Peter flies in and saves him and takes him to the hospital. There he is horrified by his new disfigured image and tells Hedi the truth, but Angela covers it up. Later he is healed by Peter and Adam Monroe who inject Adam's blood into him, causing his burns to heal.

Nathan and Matt arrive at the Company's facility to warn Bob that Maury is after him. Bob shows Nathan videos of Peter and tells Nathan they last knew Peter was in Ireland when Niki begins punching holes into the door of Bob's office. Niki breaks in and grabs Nathan, and he and Bob try to bring her to her senses, only to have her inject herself with the virus.

Nathan prepares to go public about his ability.

Angela tells Nathan and Matt that the strain of virus they are seeking is in Odessa, Texas, also where Peter and Adam will most likely be. Nathan flies himself and Matt there, and they spot Hiro at an entryway, excited to see them both. A little time later, they make their way down to where Adam and Peter are and Matt goes in first to try and stop Peter. After some fighting, Nathan sees Peter. He tells Peter that he is glad to see him and also tells him of what Adam almost did with the virus and what he plans to do. After telling Peter that he loves him, Peter runs to the vault and is able to catch the vial of Strain 138 before it shatters on the ground. Nathan, Matt and Peter decide they need to destroy the virus, which Peter does with his ability of Ted's induced radiation. Nathan wants to go public with their abilities, and trusts Matt to arrange this and to allow everyone to believe him. The trio arrives at the Odessa Police Station where the conference is about to go underway. The arrangements have been made and Matt informs Nathan that everyone will listen to what he has to say. Nathan takes the stand and starts telling explaining about his experiences. He braces himself to announce his ability, and as he is about to tell the world what he can do, he is shot twice in the chest by an unknown assailant. Nathan staggers back and is caught by Peter, who tries to keep him conscious.

Season Three

For an episode-by-episode summary, see Nathan Petrelli: Season Three History.

Nathan connects with Tracy.

Nathan is rushed to the hospital after being shot by his brother from the future. He is declared dead but somehow comes back to life while Peter is with him. Nathan visits the Chapel, and gives some inspiring words to the people within it. He believes that he has been saved by god and that he is alive to do God's bidding. Nathan is soon visited by the "ghost" of Linderman and is offered the position of Senator by Tracy Strauss. After some words with Peter, Nathan decides to take up the Senate seat with Tracy at his side. When Tracy resigns, Linderman informs Nathan that it is his destiny to help her. Nathan flies to catch Tracy seconds before she commits suicide. The two spend the night together and Nathan learns that his abilities may not be god given.

He and Tracy go to Angela and learn about his abilities being synthetic. He also learns Peter absorbed Sylar's power and is dangerous. He takes Tracy to visit Mohinder, who drugs them and tries to experiment on them. Tracy uses her power to save Nathan and after Mohinder escapes, the two are visited by Noah and Meredith. Nathan and Tracy learn that Arthur Petrelli is alive and go to visit him. After the meeting, Nathan decides that Arthur must be stopped and goes to Primatech to help his family. He and Peter go to Haiti to find The Haitian but after his powers disappear, Nathan is kidnapped by Baron Samedi. Upon seeing what one person with powers could do, Nathan joins Pinehearst and becomes their leader. Along with Tracy and Mohinder, Nathan gives the marine Scott a synthetic ability. When Peter, Knox and Flint try to bring down Pinehearst, Nathan and Peter are caught in Flint's fire. Peter injects himself with the formula and saves Nathan.

Two months later, Nathan begins a movement to capture evolved humans. When Claire is mistakenly caught, Nathan gives her a free pass, much to Danko's disapproval. Flight 195 goes down and Nathan assists his men at the crash site. When Claire is captured, Nathan and Noah protect her from Danko's wrath and Nathan once again sends his daughter home. Abby Collins soon inspects Nathan's base of operations, Building 26, and attempts to shut it down. Her decision is changed when Tracy kills an analyst to try and escape. Seeing how their targets are dangerous, Danko tries to push for lethal force but Nathan continuously refuses to allow it, even after Peter and Matt try to shut them down. Realizing that something is different about Nathan, Danko manages to get him to reveal his power.

Nathan falls by Sylar's hand.

Now a target of his own operation, Nathan flies Claire to Mexico in an attempt to protect her and connect with her. He fails in both attempts and reveals to Claire how much he was afraid of her hating him. Nathan and his daughter finally connect and the two fly to the Coyote Sands to help Angela. Nathan tries to mend his broken relationship with Peter, who is not willing to accept his apology. Peter eventually does forgive Nathan and the Petrelli family discover that Sylar has taken Nathan's form. Nathan rushes to DC to stop the killer but is captured and held captive by Sylar. Sylar tortures Nathan and uses his clairsentience to learn all about his life. After escaping, Nathan and Peter fight Sylar in a devastating battle. Nathan ends it by flying away with Sylar to try and protect Peter. Upon landing in his suite, Nathan is killed by Sylar. His body is found by Angela and Matt, who go on to use Matt's power to make Sylar believe he is Nathan, body and soul.

Season Four

For an episode-by-episode summary, see Nathan Petrelli: Season Four History.

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Webisode:Dark Matters, Part 5

Quentin Frady creates a board that includes an ad for Nathan's campaign.

June 13th, Part One

After the birth of Claire's children, a future Noah Bennet and Angela name them as Claire died before she could do so. Angela names Claire's son Nathan after her own lost son. Hiro then transports Angela, Nathan and Malina to 1999 so the children can grow up in the past and prepare for their destiny.

Shortly after the bombing of the Odessa Unity Summit, Nathan's grandson is revealed to be young teleporter Tommy Clark who still went by Nathan at that time.

Evolved Human Abilities

Nathan had the ability to fly. It is currently unknown how he propelled himself or what speeds or altitudes he was capable of achieving, but judging by the sound of his flight when escaping from Mr. Bennet and The Haitian (Hiros), he was probably supersonic. His power, according to Angela Petrelli, was synthetic, and created by the same formula that gave abilities to Niki, Tracy, and Barbara (Angels and Monsters). He was capable of carrying people with him over long distances as shown when he flew with Peter to Haiti, Matt to Philadelphia and Texas, and Claire to Mexico.

Heroes Reborn App

Prior to Heroes Reborn starting, an app was released with a video summary of Nathan's history. The summary included:

Memorable Quotes

"Most of what we are is what people expect us to be. I mean, if you take them away, nothing means anything."

- Nathan (to Peter) (.07%)

"Our father always said that we had a responsibility: to use what God gave us, to help people, to make a real difference. Pap always made the hard choices for the greater good; he believed in that. And so do I. Our children deserve that. They deserve a better future, a future where they do not have to face their fears alone, but can look into the darkness and find hope. I challenge everyone inhere to inspire by example, to fight the battle, no matter the cost. Because the world is sick, it's spinning out of control. But we can help. With our help it can heal. With our love, with our compassion and with our strength we can heal. Let's put aside our differences, let's embrace our common goals. Let's do it for our children. Let's show them all exactly what we are capable of."

- Nathan, electoral speech (Landslide)

"You saved the cheerleader, so we could save the world."

- Nathan, to Peter (How to Stop an Exploding Man)

"God is the only one with the message. It's a message of hope and urgency, because he's not gonna wait much longer. His message is a simple one -- We're all connected. Our hopes, our dreams, our children's future, reflecting back in each others eyes. We fight our own personal battles, but we know we're not alone. Because only together can we make our short time on this planet mean something. Only together can we be the stewards of our own destiny. And we hold in our collective hearts one noble goal -- Save ourselves, save the world."

- Nathan, referring to the "Spiritus Mundi" in Yeats's poem (The Second Coming)

"Sooner or later, you're gonna have to choose a side."

- Nathan (to Peter) (Dual)

"I love you Pete, you know that."

"Of course...I love you too, Nathan."

- Nathan, Peter (An Invisible Thread)

"You need to accept that I'm gone."

"I need you... to help me. Now pull yourself up, please."

"You're going to have to carry on for the both of us, Pete. Okay? You tell Mom I love her. You take care of Claire. Fight the good fight. You've always been everything that's good in the world, Pete."


"And I got a feelin' the world ain't seen nothin' yet."

"I can't do this without you."

"You can do anything, Pete. Anything. Remember that. I love you."

"Nathan... I love you, Nathan."

- Nathan, Peter (The Fifth Stage)


  • An ad for Nathan's campaign airs on the television in Isaac's loft. It states that Nathan "served his country" in Bosnia, Serbia, and Rwanda (Genesis). further notes that these tours of duty were as a pilot in the US Navy. This could possibly be a reference to Adrian Pasdar's character "Chipper" in 1986's Top Gun.
  • According to Don't Look Back, Nathan was running to represent New York's 14th congressional district (an actual district in New York City). However, says Nathan was running in the 30th district (an obsolete seat since 2000). The site was then changed again stating that he was stepping down as the Junior Senator from New York, a position that he was never elected for.
  • In reality, the New York's 14th congressional district is held by Carolyn B. Maloney.
  • According to, Nathan served under the district attorney as a prosecutor.
  • Nathan tells Peter that his power will only be useful for rescuing cats from trees (Nothing to Hide). Of course, he's already put it to better use by rescuing a woman from a burning building (Trial by Fire).
  • Nathan took his first steps sometime before November 8, 1968 (War Buddies, Part 2). Children usually take their first steps around their first birthday, so Nathan would have been at least a year old at this time. Though his exact age is unknown, this would mean that as of the election on November 7, 2006, Nathan was roughly 39 years old.
  • Nathan is on the list.
  • Nathan can speak both French (The Eclipse, Part 1) and Spanish (Into Asylum).
  • In a possible future timeline, Nathan blamed Sylar for the explosion to protect Peter. Nathan subsequently became President, and was murdered by Sylar, who used Candice Willmer's power to impersonate him. (Five Years Gone)
  • In a deleted scene in Genesis, Nathan prosecutes D.L. Hawkins's case and wins, continuing a winning streak Nathan appears to have been enjoying.
  • In another possible future timeline, Nathan dies in the first outbreak of the Shanti virus. (Out of Time)
  • In reality, the current Junior Senator from New York is Kirsten Gillibrand.
  • According to Angela, Nathan's ability is the result of receiving the formula rather than a naturally inherited ability. (Angels and Monsters) It is unknown exactly when Nathan was injected. However, it is hinted in Truths that Nathan was injected in his early or mid-20s since Peter (who would have been around his preteen years to acquire a hunting license) had been present during the hunting trip preceding the injection.
  • Nathan died in An Invisible Thread. His last words, which were to Peter, were "I love you Pete, you know that."
  • When Nathan's consciousness in Sylar's body finally died in The Fifth Stage, his last words, which were to Peter, were "You can do anything, Pete. Anything. Remember that. I love you."
  • When Sylar uses clairsentience on Nathan's cuff links, he says that Nathan supposedly graduated "with honors" from Annapolis, but he knows better.
  • Nathan witnessed Kelly Houston's death, but Angela covered it up and had the Haitian erase his memories so he, like everyone else, believed that Kelly simply ran away. Sylar learned this thanks to his ability to see the history of objects.
  • In Unexpected, Nathan tells Simone that he'd like to take all those with powers, and "put them in a lab on some island in the middle of the ocean." He starts to round up the all those with powers in A Clear and Present Danger.
  • According to the Heroes Reborn app, Meredith and Nathan were married.


  • In an interview, Jason La Padura said that Peter and Nathan were originally written to be twins.
  • In the script for the unaired pilot, Nathan's name was originally "Harrison Cambell" and he was 34 years old.
  • According to Peter, Nathan was the "top of his class, valedictorian".
  • Sylar and Nathan never met face to face or even shared a scene in the first 57 episodes of this series, even though Nathan knows him and knows how to kill him (A Clear and Present Danger). However, Sylar would have met Nathan in the explosion future, when he killed him, and likely in the exposed future, when they believed they were brothers.
  • Sylar and Nathan finally meet face to face in I Am Sylar. Sylar takes on Nathan's identity to get close to the President and tries to kill Nathan to get his power but is stopped by Danko. After Sylar kills Nathan, Matt uses his telepathy to force Sylar into thinking that he is Nathan, causing Sylar's clairsentience to fill in the blanks with Nathan's memories and his shape shifting to change his appearance into Nathan's.
  • Nathan has faced death at the end of every volume. In Genesis, he flies away with Peter before he explodes. In Generations, he is shot twice in the chest. In Villains, he is saved by Peter as Pinehearst Headquarters explodes. In Fugitives, his throat is slit by Sylar. While Nathan finally died at the end of the fourth volume, Sylar (as Nathan) committed suicide in Redemption by jumping off a rooftop.
  • Nathan also faces figurative deaths during mid-volume breaks. The break for Genesis features Peter's dream of wiping out Manhattan, with Nathan as the first victim. The break for Redemption has Nathan falling to his "death" while Sylar takes back his body for good.
  • Nathan has ultimately died three times. He was clinically dead after being shot in The Second Coming, his throat was slit in An Invisible Thread, and his consciousness committed suicide in The Fifth Stage.
  • Nathan is right-handed (An Invisible Thread)

See Also

External Links

Fan Theories

Please refer to Theory:Nathan Petrelli for fan-created theories and other speculation.

  Season Four Characters edit

Claire BennetNoah BennetAndo MasahashiHiro NakamuraMatt ParkmanAngela PetrelliNathan PetrelliPeter PetrelliTracy StraussSamuel SullivanMohinder SureshSylar


AllisonCharlie AndrewsGretchen BergChris BowmanEmma CoolidgeDamianEvan DavisEric DoyleEdgarEliEzekielLauren GilmoreNurse HammerLydiaKimiko NakamuraJanice ParkmanMatt Parkman, Jr.Pregnant carnyPsychic carnyRenéReginald StanleyAmanda StrazzullaTiger pants carny

See Also: Minor CharactersSeason One CharactersSeason Two CharactersSeason Three CharactersHeroes Reborn CharactersFuture CharactersAnimalsWebisodes Characters
Graphic Novel CharactersiStory CharactersEvolutions CharactersBook CharactersUnaired CharactersCast