Editor’s note: This story contains discussion about the ending of Season 1 of “Wednesday.”
In the world of “The Addams Family,” Wednesday Addams has been a perpetual 10-year-old girl with a deadpan wit and a love for the murderous and macabre. It was something that Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, creators of Netflix’s new series “Wednesday,” wanted to change with their take, separating Wednesday from her family and giving her her own chance to shine.
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“She was never the center of the scene,” Millar told IndieWire via Zoom.
Using the illustrations of Charles Addams, who crafted “The Addams Family” back in 1938, as inspiration, Gough and Millar went back and forth on what type of world Wednesday would inhabit. “Because of the ‘Harry Potter’ of it all [the question was] should she be at a regular school and then be a fish out of water?” Millar said. “But it felt kind of one-note and she’d always have to return home at night to the family that [we] wanted to get away from.”
Because Tim Burton directed four of the series’ eight episodes, his voice also needed to be taken into consideration. “We always say the tone of the show is really the Tim Burton tone,” said Gough, which manifests in Wednesday’s patented dark striped wardrobe, compliments of Burton’s long-time costume designer Colleen Atwood, as well as her dark sense of humor. This is a series that culminates a high school dance by dumping blood red paint on everyone, after all. “It all feels very accessible to a large audience while still feeling kind of anti,” Gough said.
But while Wednesday Addams has a murderous streak to her, there was hesitation as to how dark things could go on the show. The creators already knew the plotline itself would be heavy, with Wednesday solving a murder mystery, but they also knew the character herself would have to be suitably macabre, and it left Netflix with some pause. “Netflix was always very supportive and the executives were huge Addams Family fans,” Gough said.
But, as Millar pointed out, there was a desire to make small changes. “We still did have executives wanting to cut some lines,” he said. The line in question comes when Wednesday’s roommate Enid (Emma Meyers) encourages Wednesday to “take a stab at being social” to which Wednesday responds that she’s fond of stabbings. “That’s the whole point of the character,” Millar said. “To lose that or dilute that is a betrayal of the character.”
Thankfully, the line stayed in the series.
It’s a tad ironic that Netflix would hesitate at a line like that, especially considering the series involves murder, including the death of Nevermore Academy’s principal, Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie). Both creators said they didn’t want this to mimic “Scooby Doo”; the characters’ actions here have consequences. In the case of Weems’ death, the pair knew it needed to have significance, and not just because Christie played another beloved (and incredibly strong) character, Brienne of Tarth in “Game of Thrones” and fans would be sad to see her go.
“Gwendolyn loved it,” Gough said. “She read all eight scripts before she had signed on. You see Gwendolyn in a way you’ve never seen her before. She’s incredibly glamorous and she inhabits that character so well.”
“Wednesday” is streaming now on Netflix.
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