The entire world ended in the finale of The Umbrella Academy’s first season, but that doesn’t mean that every character died. If Netflix renews this wacky superhero drama for a second season, we already know most of the main characters will return, as Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) used his time travel abilities to take Luther (Tom Hopper), Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), Diego (David Castañeda), Ghost Ben (Justin H. Min) and Vanya aka the White Violin (Ellen Page) back in time to try and stop the apocalypse once again. But what happened to Cha-Cha (Mary J. Blige) on Umbrella Academy — the badass time-traveling assassin didn’t escape the apocalypse with everyone else, but is she really gone for good?
With all the questions still left dangling by the end of the first season of The Umbrella Academy, this is the one that’s worrying fans the most because of how little we know about Cha-Cha’s actual fate in the comics. The television adaptation of the comics seemed to kill her off in the final episode, but is it permanent? In the finale, after Diego decided to honor his late girlfriend Patch’s (Ashley Madekwe) memory by not killing Cha-Cha in revenge, she walked away battered and bloody from their fight… but still alive. There was hope that Blige would be able to return to the series in the future to keep on kicking ass.
But that only lasted another minute or so until the moment when she was vaporized by the apocalypse, brought on by the White Violin. It turns out that Hazel (Cameron Britton) was right, and The Commission (the company of time-traveling assassins for which Hazel and Cha-Cha worked) really did terminate their contracts and left them to die when the world ended. Hazel was able to escape the destruction with a stolen time-traveling briefcase, retiring with his girlfriend Agnes (Sheila McCarthy) to an undetermined era far from the apocalypse. But what happened to Cha-Cha, as she burned up in the flames caused by a massive meteor strike from the moon’s explosion, is either really tragic or really amazing, depending on where the probable second season goes.
If Number Five’s time travel with his siblings offsets the timeline and prevents Vanya from becoming the White Violin, rehabilitating her back to the loving and kind sister she was before, the apocalypse will never happen. That means Cha-Cha won’t be killed and Blige can return to the series in some capacity. But how far back did Number Five go, and how will that affect Cha-Cha? Could she return in an earlier incarnation of herself? Will she and Hazel be partners once more, having not gone through their “breakup” storyline from Season 1? Blige was one of the best parts of the stellar first season of The Umbrella Academy, so Netflix would be remiss not to bring her back in some shape or form.
But according to Blige herself, she doesn’t know what Cha-Cha’s future holds. “Meanwhile, both Britton and Blige wonder about whether their characters make it out, in different ways,” Indiewire writes after speaking to the actors about the fates of their characters. “Given the cataclysmic events of the finale, Blige said that she was sad if her character didn’t survive.”
And looking to the source material doesn’t really provide concrete answers either, but it does suggest that Blige’s time on the series has come to an end. In the comics, Cha-Cha does die, but in a much different way. When she and Hazel kidnap Klaus (like they did in the first season of the show) Klaus possesses Cha-Cha with his powers, resulting in her killing Hazel and then herself. But this tragic end from the comics doesn’t automatically mean she’s fated to stay dead on the show, as the first season of Netflix’s addictively weird and wild superhero show deviated a lot from the books upon which it was based. Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s comics were quite different from what viewers saw on-screen, so while we can look to the graphic novels for inspiration and speculation on Cha-Cha’s fate and potential Season 2 clues, a lot has been left up in the air.
“What I really wanted to do was find a really good cliffhanger,” executive producer Steve Blackman told Entertainment Weekly about ending the Umbrella Academy's first season on such a massive question mark. “I also thought it was too easy for this family to come together in eight days and save the world. It has to be trickier than that. I wanted to have an ending where they sort of came together as a family, but they didn’t achieve the greater goal of saving the world. If we get a second season, we’ll see how they’re gonna end up. These guys aren’t dead, but we don’t know what happens.”
Seeing Cha-Cha (and her more optimistic and hopeful counterpart Hazel) in the first season was already a surprise for fans of the comic books, as their storyline was actually moved up from the second volume, Dallas. Whether or not this means they were only going to last for one season of The Umbrella Academy, just sooner than expected, remains to be seen. Hopefully Cha-Cha, at least, returns in Season 2 for either a redemption arc or to get her revenge on The Commission for leaving her to die, and the White Violin for killing her the first time around. Cha-Cha, Blige, and their adoring fans deserve more.