Academy Award-nominated and Grammy Award-winning singer/actress Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) is set to play a time-travelling assassin in Netflix‘s adaptation of Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá‘s The Umbrella Academy. With a one-year contract that will have her as a series regular, this marks Blige’s biggest series commitment to date; though she has made guest appearances on shows such as Fox’s Empire, ABC’s Black-ish and NBC’s The Wiz Live!
Blige is set to play ruthless and unorthodox hitwoman Cha-Cha, who travels through time to kill her assigned targets. As described in the release, “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.”
The Umbrella Academy will be a ten-episode series based on the graphic novels of the same name created and written by Way, illustrated by Bá, and published by Dark Horse Comics. Netflix’s adaptation follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes (The Umbrella Academy) — The Monocle, Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, Number Five, The Horror and The White Violin — as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities.
“I am thrilled that The Umbrella Academy has found a home at Netflix. I couldn’t think of a better place for the vision Gabriel Bá and myself had when creating the comic, and cannot wait for people to experience that world as a live action show.”
– Gerard Way
Netflix’s version of The Hargreeves Family includes: Ellen Page (X-Men: Days of Futures Past, Hard Candy) as sister Vanya, who appears to manifest no super powers but has an amazingly strong interest in music. Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones, Black Sails) as Luther/Spaceboy, leader of The Umbrella Academy; Emmy Raver-Lampman (Hair, Wicked) as Allison/The Rumor, who can alter reality with her lies; David Castañeda (Blindspot, Switched at Birth) as Diego/The Kraken, the reckless and rebellious member of the family; Robert Sheehan (Mortal Engines, Mute) as Klaus/The Séance, who can speak with the dead when shoeless; and Aidan Gallagher as Number Five/The Boy, the family’s time-travelling, perpetually young brain.
Universal Cable Productions is set to produce the series, with Steve Blackman (Fargo, Legion) serving as executive producer and showrunner. Way, Bluegrass Television and Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg are set to executive produce a pilot directed by Peter Hoar from a script by Jeremy Slater.