‘Wednesday’ Star Canceled, Replaced in Troubled Season 2 of Jenna Ortega Show

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Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, with Thing on her shoulder

Credit: Netflix

If you were hoping to see a familiar face when the long-delayed Wednesday season 2 finally hits Netflix, you’re going to be very disappointed. The troubled production has had yet another sudden casting change, this time just days before season 2 is scheduled to begin filming.

Jenna Ortega glowering in Wednesday
Credit: Netflix

‘Wednesday’: The New ‘Stranger Things’

Wednesday is a reimagined update of the iconic Addams Family created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and produced by Tim Burton, the same team behind the upcoming film Beetlejuice Beetlejuice. The series hit Netflix in November 2022, instantly becoming one of the biggest hits the streaming platform had ever seen. Season 1 broke viewership records for Netflix, rivaling Stranger Things as the platform’s biggest English-language series, and won a slew of awards, including four Primetime Emmys.

It also helped launch Jenna Ortega, who portrays the teenage Wednesday Addams, into global superstardom. The actress was already known for her early work on the Disney Channel and a supporting role in the Netflix series You season 2, but it was Wednesday that transformed her from a budding scream queen into one of Hollywood’s hottest actresses.

Jenna Ortega at a carnival in 'Wednesday'
Credit: Netflix

Related: ‘Stranger Things 5’ and ‘Wednesday’ Season 2 Not Happening, Other Netflix Shows Take Over

Wednesday season 1 saw Jenna Ortega being sent off to Nevermore Academy, a boarding school for supernatural misfit teens, and followed the Addams Family daughter as she investigated a series of grisly murders. The series updated the franchise (originally created as a series of New Yorker cartoons by Charles Addams) as a Riverdale-style young adult series, adding romantic subplots and horror thrills to its dark comedy.

Naturally, Jenna Ortega and her deadpan charisma did not carry Wednesday season 1 alone. The show had a stacked supporting cast of actors, including Emma Myers as her bubbly lycanthropic roommate, Riki Lindholme as a court-ordered therapist, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Addams, Luis Guzman as Gomez Addams, Gwendoline Christie as Nevermore Academy Principal Larissa Weems, Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester Addams, and Christina Ricci (who portrayed Wednesday in the 1990s Addams Family films) as teacher Marilyn Thornhill.

Wednesday Addams, Morticia Addams, Gomez Addams
Credit: Netflix

Netflix Can’t Figure Out When To Release ‘Wednesday’ Season 2

While Wednesday season 1 was a huge hit for Netflix, things have not been going well for season 2. The second season was officially announced in January 2023 with a scheduled 2024 release date, but production was derailed by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) last summer. Jenna Ortega herself caught flak from WGA members after claiming to have re-written dialogue for her character and was widely perceived as dismissing the work of writers on the show.

Bob Iger speaking at a podium against a blue-lit backdrop.
Credit: Disney

Eventually, the strikers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) were able to come to a deal, but Wednesday season 2 (along with innumerable other shows and movies) was delayed for months. That would not be the last of the problems for the second season.

While cast shake-ups on a hit show are not unusual, eyebrows have been raised at the number of Wednesday cast members who have left or been fired before the second season has even begun filming. Percy Hynes White (who portrayed romantic interest Xavier Thorpe on Wednesday) was fired from the production after allegations of off-set misbehavior, which he has since denied. The show lost another actor when Thora Birch joined Wednesday season 2 in an undisclosed role but was unable to finish filming for “personal reasons.” Neither actor has been recast and presumably, their characters were written off.

Now, it is being reported that Gwendoline Christie’s role on the show has been replaced by a new actor.

Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems
Credit: Netflix

Gwendoline Christie (best known to many viewers from Game of Thrones) portrayed the principal of Nevermore Academy in Wednesday season 1, who turned out to have secret connections to the Addams Family. Her character will not continue into the second season, and Variety reports that legendary actor Steve Buscemi has been cast as the new principal of Nevermore.

Related: Netflix in Jeopardy: Jenna Ortega to Leave ‘Wednesday’ Series

Steve Buscemi in Big Fish, pointing his finger
Credit: Sony Pictures

Steve Buscemi is one of the most beloved and prolific actors in Hollywood, having appeared in iconic films like Reservoir Dogs (1992), Fargo (1996), and The Big Lebowski (1998), television series like 30 Rock and The Sopranos, and innumerable other roles in drama and comedy. He has previously teamed up with Tim Burton for the film Big Fish (2003), making this his second major collaboration with the acclaimed filmmaker.

Steve Buscemi looking shocked in the Spy Kids franchise
Credit: Dimension Films

Wednesday season 2 still does not have a new confirmed release date, though it is certain that its 2024 launch has been canceled. Reportedly, it will begin filming in Ireland on April 30, making this new casting of Steve Buscemi a peculiarly last-minute change to the roster. It very well may be that the production troubles of Wednesday are far from over.

Wednesday season 2 will stream on Netflix sometime in 2025. The series stars Jenna Ortega, Gwendoline Christie, Percy Hynes White Riki Lindhome, Jamie McShane, Emma Myers, Joy Sunday, Georgie Farmer, Naomi J. Ogawa, and Christina Ricci. Four episodes of the series were directed by producer Tim Burton.

What actors do you want to see in Wednesday season 2? Tell us your dream castings in the comments below!

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