As a revival of the Addams Family franchise, Wednesday has big shoes to fill. The live-action Netflix series allows the titular character (played by Lisa Loring in the 1960s original and Christina Ricci in the 1991 and 1993 films) to take center stage, meaning lead actress Jenna Ortega is getting her big break. Following her performances in Scream and X, it seems certain she will knock this one out of the park. Plus, with Ricci, Tim Burton, and other big names on board, the hopes are high for Wednesday to fit squarely into the Addams Family cannon. Ahead of the show’s premiere of Wednesday, November 23rd, here’s everything else you need to know about the plot, characters, and the star herself.
Who is Jenna Ortega, aka Wednesday?
The 19-year-old, who is from Coachella Valley, California, started her acting career at age nine, first booking cameos on shows like CSI: NY and Days of Our Lives. Then came a role as the Vice President Rodriguez’s daughter in Iron Man 3, which eventually led to portraying a young Jane in Jane the Virgin and acting opposite Penn Badgley in season 2 of You. She’s next set to reprise her role as Tara Carpenter in Scream 6 and may also return in season 4 of You after sitting out on season 3. Ortega’s appearance in Scream, as well as her part in X, has centered her as one of the new emerging scream queens of this generation. Now, her role as one of the creepiest teens in pop culture will likely solidify that title.
Who else is in the fam?
Namely Catherine Zeta-Jones, who stars as Wednesday’s mom, Morticia. In addition, Luis Guzmán will portray her husband, Gomez, and Isaac Ordonez will play Wednesday’s brother Pugsley. The family is rounded out by Uncle Fester, portrayed by a barely-recognizable Fred Armisen.
What about the rest of the cast of Wednesday?
Ricci will be returning to the Addams Family universe as a teacher at the Nevermore Academy, the school Wednesday attends. Gwendoline Christie, meanwhile, will play the headmaster of the institution. Unfortunately, Thora Birch—who memorably starred as Enid Coleslaw in 2001’s Ghost World and was set to play Wednesday’s dorm mother on the show—won’t be making a comeback after all; a “personal matter” caused her to drop out midway through production.
What’s the show actually about?
After Wednesday gets kicked out of her eighth school in five years for dumping piranhas in the pool after the swim team bullied her brother, her parents ship her off to Nevermore Academy, a school for, well, freaks, where they’re convinced she’ll finally fit in. And while the rest of the kids are just as creepy, Wednesday is still a bit hesitant to finally make friends. (When a classmate asks if she wants to take a stab at being social, she replies “I do like stabbing” with a straight face.) From there, things get weird: Wednesday embarks on a mission to “thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town” and solve a 25-year-old mystery involving her parents, all while attempting to master her psychic powers. “Little did I know I would be stepping into a nightmare,” she says in a voiceover. “Full of mayhem, mystery, and murder.” That means it’s right up Wednesday’s alley: “I think I’m going to love it here,” she says with the only smile in the whole trailer.
How closely related is it to The Addams Family?
Co-showrunner Miles Millar has said that Wednesday is “something that lives within the Venn diagram of what happened before, but it’s its own thing. It’s not trying to be the movies or the ’60s TV show. That was very important to us and very important to Tim.” We’ll have to wait until this fall to see if they’ve succeeded in making it feel like “an eight-hour Tim Burton movie.”
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