This November, the world will meet a brand new version of Wednesday Addams, the youngest child of the fictional Addams Family. The streaming series stars Jenna Ortega as the titular character and is produced and partially directed by legendary filmmaker Tim Burton. As it turns out, Burton’s Addams family has been decades in the making.
Tim Burton’s Has A Long History With The Fictional Family
Tim Burton’s films have an undeniable style. His most famous flicks combine dark aesthetics with some of the lightest, fluffiest themes. A movie about a young man with scissors for hands who just wants to find love? Check. A stop-motion animation about the King of Halloween’s affection for Christmas? Check. How about another stop-motion animation about a man who accidentally marries a corpse? Check, check, check.
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So, when Netflix announced that Burton would be at the helm of the latest addition to the Addams Family’s extended canon, it immediately seemed like a match made in heaven. However, fans may not realize just how fitting the pairing truly is.
As legend has it, Tim Burton was assigned to direct The Addams Family (1991), a film that ultimately went to Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld. Burton backed out of the film at the time due to scheduling conflicts. However, upon the film’s conception, there didn’t seem to be a doubt that Burton would direct.
Caroline Thompson wrote the screenplay. Her only screenwriting work prior to The Addams Family was for Edward Scissorhands. Before Burton chose her to help bring his story to life, she had only published a single novel. The Addams Family would have been their second collaboration. However, she did go on to write the screenplays for both The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
A Stop-Motion Addams Family Was In The Works
Unfortunately, Burton had to back out of the film due to scheduling conflicts with Batman Returns. Nevertheless, Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family resonated with audiences. It was a box office smash, leading Paramount to greenlight a sequel almost immediately.
Whether it was Thompson’s writing or the fact that the studio envisioned Burton as its director from the start, The Addams Family still had a subtle touch of Burton’s creative vision without him ever having a hand in its production. So, it isn’t surprising that Burton’s name has repeatedly come up in Hollywood when studios have returned to Charles Addam’s beloved characters.
In 2010, Illumination Entertainment possessed the rights to the Addams Family drawings, and it greenlit a stop-motion Addams Family film with Burton set to co-write and co-produce. It’s unknown what exactly transpired, but the film ultimately got the ax. It’s possible that the plans interfered with Burton’s stop-motion animation film Frankenweenie which began filming that very year.
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If you’re keeping count, Wednesday makes the third time Burton has been optioned to work on an Addams Family project. While he never actually began production on the two other projects, it’s reasonable to assume that Burton has imagined over the years what his Addams family would look like. On November 23—the Wednesday before Thanksgiving—audiences will finally get to experience Burton’s take on America’s creepiest and kookiest fictional family.