Today, it was reported that actor Mary J. Blige has been cast in Netflix’s adapation of Gerard Way’s and Gabriel Ba’s The Umbrella Academy. Blige, most recently known for her work on the Netflix original move Mudbound in a role which earned her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress, will play the time traveling assassin Cha-Cha in this first season of the Eisner-winning comic series’ adaptation.
Per Shadow and Act, Blige’s role in the series is described as follows:
Cha-Cha is a ruthless and unorthodox hitwoman who travels through time to kill assigned targets. Even though she has a few gripes about the bureaucracy of her employers, this job is her life. She is sadistic, sociopathic, and her reputation precedes her. Her true love is torture, and she thinks of herself as a “pain artist.” She really doesn’t care for people—except for her partner Hazel.
In the comic, Hazel and Cha-Cha did not appear until the second volume of the series, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas. Blige’s casting as Cha-Cha in this first season of the Netflix adaptation indicates that the TV series will likely move at a more rapid clip than the Dark Horse comics, burning through the first (and currently only) two volumes of the series in its first season. Indeed, Shadow and Act’s description of the series and its alternate timeline indicates that the first two volumes of The Umbrella Academy may likely be explored simultaneously, stating that the lead characters “work together to solve their father Reginald Hardgraves’ mysterious death, while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities. [The series] takes place in an alternate universe where the assassination of JFK did not happen.”
In Dallas, Cha-Cha was presented as part of a sadistic time traveling duo of men, with Hazel forming the other half of the pair. They were sent back in time by their employers, a group of beings who live outside time known as the Temps Aeternalis, to murder Umbrella Academy member Number Five, aka The Boy, who has the power to travel through time and was programmed by the Temps at some point as an assassin. Cha-Cha, below, normally wears a cyan animal mask.
Blige joins a roster of previously announced leads including Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, David Castaneda, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher and Ellen Page. The latter will play Violet Hargreeves, the focal point of conflict in the first volume of The Umbrella Academy, subtitled Apocalypse Suite.