On November 23, audiences will meet yet another incarnation of the enigmatic Wednesday Addams. The trailer for the miniseries, titled Wednesday and starring Jenna Ortega, promises the darkest version of the character yet, but fans may not know that Wednesday wasn’t always so macabre. Here’s how Wednesday has changed over the years.
The Addams Family Started In ‘The New Yorker’
The world was first introduced to Wednesday Addams and her delightfully odd family in a 1938 edition of The New Yorker. While she didn’t have a name quite yet, she had a distinct style. The character wore a black long-sleeved button-down dress with a white collar, and her hair was styled in two long braids.
In 1964, ahead of the upcoming TV show adaptation, comic creator Charles Addams named the members of his kooky family. Wednesday got her name from the nursery rhyme line, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe,” from “Monday’s Child.” Even so, Wednesday wasn’t quite “full of woe” just yet.
The original Wednesday Addams from the 1964 TV show was probably the youngest incarnation of the character to date. At only 6 years old at the start of the show, the creators didn’t imbue her with her family’s same morbid humor. Instead, she was notably sweet-natured.
She had an eccentric taste in pets: She kept a black widow spider named Homer and a lizard named Lucifer. She also had an affinity for headless dolls, but that was the extent of her morbid fascinations. Otherwise, she was normal, which made her stand out from the rest of her family.
The Character Is Reimagined In 1991
In the early ’90s, Wednesday got a bit of a makeover for Barry Sonnenfeld’s big screen adaptation. Her style stayed the same, but with Christina Ricci cast in the role, the character went from dipping her toes into her family’s dark eccentricities to taking a full-body plunge. In the film, Wednesday embodies the Addams family’s macabre personality, providing intermittent comic relief by putting her dangerous interests on display.
This is the version of Wednesday Addams that audiences seem to most fondly remember. While other adaptations have attempted to recapture the charm Ricci gave the character, they’ve all failed miserably. However, Jenna Ortega’s version offers a promising deviation that both new audiences and lifetime fans should appreciate.
In Wednesday, audiences see this beloved character in a brand new stage of life: teenagehood. “Wednesday is currently a teenager, and we’ve never seen her as a teenager before. Her snarky, snide remarks might not necessarily sound as charming when they’re coming from somebody who should probably know better than a 10-year-old girl. That was a balancing act,” Ortega told Deadline.
The cast and crew have been adamant that Wednesday is not a remake, but rather an exploration of this beloved character. Ortega’s performance has already been praised by Tim Burton—the legendary director at the helm of the series—and Christina Ricci, who will be playing an unknown role in the show. Wednesday Addams has come a long way from her days as a comic character, and we can’t wait to see her in this brand new imagining.