Few performers have become synonymous with the characters they play on television. Christopher Reeve will always be known as Superman, Kevin Conroy will always be known as Batman’s voice, and Christina Ricci will always be known as Wednesday Addams.
So, when Netflix chose to reboot The Addams Family series, which was founded by Charles Addams in 1938 as single-panel cartoons, it seemed only logical to bring Ricci on board in some capacity, according to creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.
originally played Wednesday Addams in 1991’s The Addams Family, which was followed in 1993 by Addams Family Values. Jenna Ortega, 20, is now immortalizing the role of Wednesday on television.
In Wednesday, Ricci, 42, encounters her successor on multiple occasions as she takes on the role of a teacher in Wednesday Addams’ new school, Nevermore Academy. The 15-year-old joins the school for pupils with supernatural gifts after defending her brother from his bullies using nefarious means.
Ricci’s character is named Marilyn Thornhill but, unlike the students and teachers of Nevermore Academy, Ms Thornhill doesn’t have any special abilities or powers. She is a “normie,” a normal human, as headmistress Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie) explains in one episode.
This isn’t the first time Gough and Millar have invited a franchise’s most recognized actor to portray a new character opposite their successor. Smallville, in which Superman actor Christopher Reeve played Dr. Virgil Swann opposite Tom Welling’s Clark Kent, did this.
“It was fantastic to see Jenna and Christina in the same scene, these two legendary characters, actually passing the legacy from one generation to the next,” Millar added.
“But, yeah, [Ricci] was extremely eager and up for anything on set, so it was great, simply the timing worked out brilliantly in terms of her availability, and the role she responded to, […] you hope for these things, and then it happens,” says the director.
“It’s one of those shows when everything we could have wished for came true.” Catherine Zeta-Jones was cast as Morticia. “You couldn’t have better casting than an Oscar-winning actress with such compelling screen presence as Morticia Addams,” Millar remarked.
“We loved the notion of reverting it [to the comics] to be more genuine to the original Addams Family pictures, the cartoons from The New Yorker magazine, and Luis [Guzmán] as Gomez as well.” Gomez’s silhouette resembles Luis’, and seeing the family as a whole is breathtaking.
“We had the photoshoot with Catherine and Luis, as well as Isaac [Ordonez], who plays Pugsley, so it’s really just making sure that we stay true to the Charles Addams cartoons.”