Wednesday is an American coming-of-age supernatural comedy horror television series based upon the character Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, it stars Jenna Ortega as the title character, with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzmán, Isaac Ordonez, Gwendoline Christie, Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Fred Armisen, and Christina Ricci appearing in supporting roles. Four out of the eight episodes are directed by Tim Burton, who also serves as executive producer. It revolves around the titular character, who attempts to solve a monster mystery at her school.
Burton was previously associated with two Addams Family-related projects: the 1991 film, which he passed on, and a cancelled stop-motion animated film. In October 2020, he was reported to be helming a television series, which was later given a series order by Netflix. Filming took place in Romania between September 2021 and March 2022. Wednesday premiered on November 16, 2022, and was released on Netflix on November 23 to generally positive reviews by critics, who praised Ortega’s performance, but criticized it for its similarities to CW dramas.
During pre-production on the 1991 film, Tim Burton was assigned to direct, but ended up passing on it due to scheduling conflicts with Batman Returns, resulting in Barry Sonnenfeld taking the job. In March 2010, it was announced that Illumination Entertainment had acquired the underlying rights to the Addams Family drawings. The film was planned to be a stop-motion animated film based on Charles Addams’s original drawings. Burton was set to co-write, co-produce, and possibly direct the film. In July 2013, it was reported that the film was cancelled, which, according to Burton, was due to the studio favoring a computer-animated approach over the stop-motion technique.
Showrunners Miles Millar and Alfred Gough started developing story ideas in 2019. They subsequently acquired the rights to the intellectual property before writing a pilot script, which they sent to Burton. To their surprise, Burton immediately became interested upon receiving the script. Commenting about his decision to join the project, Burton stated that he could relate to the title character’s worldview and that the script “spoke to me about how I felt in school and how you feel about your parents, how you feel as a person. It gave the Addams Family a different kind of reality. It was an interesting combination.” Millar stated that it was “very important” to the creative team not to emulate the prior films and 1964 television series. Millar and Gough decided to make the juxtaposition of “outsiders” and “normies” as well as criticism of colonial Americans major themes in the series.
In October 2020, Wednesday was initially announced as an unnamed Addams Family project being helmed by Burton. The series’s production would be handled by MGM Television, with Burton as director. Gough and Millar would serve as showrunners; while Gough, Millar, and Burton would also be executive producers alongside Gail Berman, Jon Glickman, and Andrew Mittman. In February 2021, Netflix gave the production a series order, consisting of eight episodes. In August 2021, Kayla Alpert was added as an executive producer and 1.21, Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, and Glickmania were also producing the series. Deemed his “first real foray into television”, Burton directed four out of the eight episodes, with Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall directing the remaining episodes. Burton brought on regular collaborator Colleen Atwood as costume designer.
The creative team sought a Latina to play the role of Wednesday Addams in order to align with character Gomez Addams’s heritage, an aspect of the character that was already worked into the series’s script. In May 2021, Jenna Ortega, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, was cast in the role. Millar stated that, upon their first Zoom call together, the creative team knew that “nobody else on this planet” was better suited to portray the character. Ortega said that she was initially hesitant about joining the project due to her past work in teen-oriented Disney Channel shows. In the beginning of August of that year, Luis Guzmán was cast to guest-star as Gomez Addams, and Catherine Zeta-Jones was cast as Morticia Addams in an undisclosed capacity. Later that month, Thora Birch, Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Hunter Doohan, Georgie Farmer, Moosa Mostafa, Emma Myers, Naomi J. Ogawa, Joy Sunday, and Percy Hynes White were announced to be cast as series regulars. Myers initially auditioned for the title role before she was cast as Wednesday’s roommate Enid.
In September, Gwendoline Christie and Victor Dorobantu were added to the cast in starring roles while Isaac Ordonez, George Burcea, Tommie Earl Jenkins, Iman Marson, William Houston, Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo, Oliver Watson, Calum Ross, and Johnna Dias Watson were cast in recurring roles. In December 2021, Birch left the series, leaving the status of her character, dorm mother Tamara Novak, unclear. In March 2022, it was announced that Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday Addams in the 1991 film and its 1993 sequel, was cast as a series regular, replacing Birch in a similar role. Commenting on her casting, Ricci stated, “I was really flattered to be asked and to be asked by Tim [Burton]”, with whom she had previously collaborated on the 1999 film Sleepy Hollow. Ricci was almost unable to accept the role due to possible scheduling conflicts with Showtime series Yellowjackets. In October of that year, Fred Armisen was revealed to be portraying Uncle Fester in an unknown capacity, and Ricci’s role was confirmed as Marilyn Thornhill.
A first teaser trailer for Wednesday was released on August 17, 2022, followed by a full trailer on October 9 and the unveiling of the series’s opening sequence on November 8. Wednesday premiered on November 16, 2022, at Hollywood Legion Theater in Los Angeles. Its eight episodes were released on Netflix on November 23, 2022.
- S02E01 – “Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe”
- S02E02 – “Woe Is the Loneliest Number”
- S02E03 – “Friend or Woe”
- S02E04 – “Woe What a Night”
- S02E05 – “You Reap What You Woe”
- S02E06 – “Quid Pro Woe”
- S02E07 – “If You Don’t Woe Me by Now”
- S02E08 – “A Murder of Woes”
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