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NYCC shows trailer for 'Wednesday' and announces Fred Armisen as Fester
“I know the suspense is killing you.”
The daughter of darkness is about to get her own series. Netflix will soon release Wednesday, a show that will depict the boarding school exploits of Wednesday Addams. Yes, that Wednesday Addams... from The Addams Family. The eight-episode series was directed by none other than Tim Burton.
Mysterious, and also, we imagine, ooky, the series will star Jenna Ortega as the titular character. Luis Guzmán will play family patriarch Gomez, and Catherine-Zeta Jones will play Morticia. Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday in both of the Addams Family feature films, will appear in a mystery role.
The show held a panel as part of New York Comic Con 2022 where details about the new series were revealed before it comes out on Nov. 23. SYFY WIRE was there to get the spooky goods.
Burton sent in a message via video before a panel began including actors Ortega, Guzmán, Gwendoline Christie (new character Principal Weems), and showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.
Ortega has never played a character who “has been played before, before” so this was a different experience for her. “It was an interesting balance, we’ve also never seen her as a teenager, which was an interesting endeavor.”
Burton was obviously desired for this from the start, but the show runners did not think that it was a job he would take. Burton is known for films, not television. To their surprise, he read the script and was on a zoom call before they knew it (with large “dinosaur topiaries behind him”) talking about how he wanted to work on it.
“It’s gothic… macabre… everything you love about Tim Burton’s movies,” they said.
Guzmán originally said, “Tim who?” when asked that Burton wanted to talk to him, before saying, “Wait, the guy from the Batman movie? Yeah, I want to talk to him too!” Guzmán said Burton told him, “I would love for you to be my Gomez.” Guzman’s response was, “I would love for you to be my Tim.” He grew up with The Addams Family, and had nothing but praise for his co-stars.
“I’ve wanted to work with Tim Burton my entire life,” Christie said, having watched Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure at a young age. “His work means so much to so many people…” she added, being one of them herself. “I was such a pleasure to go into this with such committed actors.” As nutty as the Addams Family can be, Christie says she finds it more realistic to real life at times. She also said that working with Ortega was an “unadulterated pleasure.”
Ortega then introduced a new trailer for the show, which can be seen below.
That's Uncle Fester, played by Fred Armisen. He came out to join the panel after the trailer was shown.
“Oh, I gotta be Fester,” Armisen said when he heard about the show, going so far as to shave his head once he had the role. “I really wanted it to be a little like the original TV show… it’s a tradition, I think Fester is a tradition in The Addams Family.”
The trailer looks like the show has Tim Burton all over it, as well as twinges of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The Umbrella Academy. Honestly, we’re gonna be there for it.
Ortega called the Wednesaday/Morticia relationship "pivotal" to the series, adding that both Gomez and Morticia are alums of the Nevermore Academy, the school seen in the trailer. The showrunners used several words to describe Wednsday herself, including: iconic, fully-formed, fearless, and unapologetic. "She's unafraid to say what she thinks," they said.
Christie's Weems character was always in the shadow of Morticia, as Christie says, because she was originally at Nevermore with her. She's possibly come into her own, but now has Morticia's daughter in her charge. "You have an older unconventional woman in a position of power greeted with a revolutionary dynamic..." Christie said, adding, "...and all sorts of strange things come from that dynamic. "
They intend to be the next iteration of this story, but to also honor the past. Burton has always looked at it like an 8-hour movie. "I didn't even think if it's episodic or a movie, I'd just rather be in a scene and make the scene work," Armisen said.
"There was such a feeling of play about it," Christie added, echoing everyone's obvious love for both the show and Tim Burton's style.
They went on to show something exclusive for the panel; a clip featuring Wednesday and Uncle Fester. He did not go to Nevermore, as he says, "Your dad got all the brains."
Though they are carrying the story further, Ortega maintains that they are being true to the spirit and tradition of the original stories. Guzmán watched the original series, and when working on the show, he thought, "This is what dreams are made of." It wasn't about slapstick comedy for him, which is something that Guzmán said Burton wanted from him. "Stepping into those clothes, putting on that wig, seeing this young woman here..." he said, gesturing to Ortega. "Her chemistry that she brought to Wednesday, I've never seen it before like that."
"I'm pinching myself sitting up here," Guzmán said. Also, just in case it isn't clear in the trailer, Armisen confirmed that Danny Elfman has composed the music for the series.
"We've never spent so much time with her before," Ortega said of her character and what she hopes people will take from the show. "Putting an emotional arc to someone who has no emotion was really interesting. But... she's a creepy little freak. Her impact... that's just a testament that we need weirdos in the world. They made the world go 'round. Be weird, watch the show."
Wednesday will hit Netflix on Wednesday, Nov. 23. That was not an accident.
Click here for all of SYFY WIRE's continuing coverage of New York Comic Con 2022.
Looking for something horrific to watch? Peacock has lots of horror movies to keep you suitably scared including The Amityville Haunting, The Changeling, Firestarter, and several Saw movies.