Mass Cull: Netflix Confirms Exit of ‘Wednesday’ Star, Plus Two Others

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Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, with Thing on her shoulder

Credit: Netflix

It’s been a long time coming, but Netflix has finally confirmed the exit of one controversial Wednesday star (plus two others).

Since its premiere in 2022, Wednesdaythe Netflix supernatural series that follows the eldest child in the iconic Addams Family, Wednesday Addams, as she attends Nevermore Academy – has racked up an avid fanbase, thanks in no small part to the performance of its leading lady, Jenna Ortega.

A woman with dark hair, pale skin, and intense eyes wearing a black ruffled dress stands amidst a dance floor, surrounded by mist and softly lit figures.
Credit: Netflix

However, since the show first aired, Ortega has generated controversy by seemingly criticizing the show’s scripts and characterization of Wednesday. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on Wednesday,” Ortega told Dax Shepard on his podcast, Armchair Expert.

“Everything that [Wednesday] does, everything that I had to play, does not make sense for her character at all,” she added. “Her being in a love triangle made no sense.”

Jenna Ortega filming Wednesday
Credit: Netflix

Related: Netflix’s New ‘Wednesday’ “Replacement” Speaks Out, “I Didn’t Realize People Didn’t Know”

Rumors subsequently swirled about Ortega’s status for the second season of the Netflix series. Today (May 7), as the show officially starts filming its second season, we have official confirmation on who is or isn’t returning for a second year at Nevermore Academy – and the answer may surprise you.

Is Jenna Ortega Leaving ‘Wednesday’?

Netflix has revealed who is (and isn’t) leaving Wednesday for season two. An image shared by the streaming service shows some familiar faces – but the absence of three particular actors.

Wednesday Season 2 is NOW IN PRODUCTION 🖤 Please give a round of double snaps to our cast — now including Christopher Lloyd, Steve Buscemi, Thandiwe Newton, Joanna Lumley, Haley Joel Osment, Heather Matarazzo, and Billie Piper!

On to the important question: is Jenna Ortega one of those familiar faces? Well, duh. Wednesday was unlikely to ever return without Wednesday herself, and considering the rave reviews that Ortega’s perfectly deadpan delivery received the first time around, even the most scathing comments were unlikely to warrant Netflix giving her the boot.

Ortega will be joined once again by Emma Meyers, who portrays her lovable roommate (and burgeoning werewolf) Enid Sinclair.

Which Cast Members of ‘Wednesday’ Have Been Axed?

It seemed obvious that certain characters would not return for the next season of Wednesday, seeing as how they’re, well, dead. For example, did anybody really expect to see Larissa Weems, the principal of Nevermore Academy – portrayed by Star Wars and Game of Thrones alumnus Gwendoline Christie – again after she met her fate at the hands of Marilyn Thornhill (Christina Ricci)?

Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems
Credit: Netflix

However, there are three actors whose characters are alive as of the season one finale but still won’t return as regulars. The first is Percy Hynes White, who played Xavier Thorpe – a psychic student of Nevermore Academy who finds himself in a love triangle with Wednesday and Tyler Galpin, played by Hunter Doohan).

Ortega has previously emphasized that there will be less romance and more horror in season two, which could be the reason for Hynes White’s absence. However, regardless of the path Wednesday decides to take, it’s not particularly surprising that he’s not returning (but more on that in a minute).

Two young adults, a man and a woman, dressed in distinctive blue-striped school uniforms, stand on a street, looking serious and somewhat defiant, in a scene from a Netflix series.
Credit: Netflix

Related: Netflix Loses ‘Stranger Things,’ Detrimental Delay Tanks Finals Season Debut

Jamie McShane is not returning as a regular next season but will have a guest role. He plays Tyler’s father, Sheriff Donovan Galpin, who is tasked with investigating the murders in the town of Jericho (unaware that they’re caused by his own son, Tyler, while in his Hyde form).

The final episode of season one of Wednesday showed Tyler escaping arrest by changing back into a Hyde. Assumedly, McShane’s reappearance will help wrap up his character’s arc, with many theorizing that the Sheriff will be killed off.

A young man and a woman sit indoors facing each other, smiling, under decorative lights in a dimly lit setting that creates a cozy and intimate atmosphere.
Credit: Netflix

And finally, Naomi J Ogawa will not reprise her role as Yoko Tanaka. Yoko was a vampire student at Nevermore Academy who was also a member of the Nightshade Society.

A woman with long dark hair wearing round sunglasses and a blue striped blazer looks back over her shoulder, with a blurred historic building in the background.
Credit: Netflix

Ogawa didn’t play a significant role in the show, so it’s understandable if she left to pursue other opportunities. She had previously praised her time working with Tim Burton, the iconic director who serves as Wednesday‘s executive producer.

Why Has Netflix Removed Percy Hynes White From ‘Wednesday’?

Back to Percy Hynes White.

Doubt was first cast on his return in January 2023 when Hynes White was accused of sexual assault. An X user (then known as Twitter) claimed in a now-deleted post that Hynes White had got her and several other women, as well as an underage girl, drunk and high at his parties before assaulting them.

A young man wearing a blue and black striped school blazer with an emblem speaks to another person in a dark outdoor setting. His expression is earnest and focused.
Credit: Netflix

“He would pursue, have sex with, abuse and get my friend high who was 13/14 at the time,” the user wrote. “Last time I knew they had sex she was 16 and he was 20. He assaulted me at one of those parties awhile I was too drunk, and he had cornered and pressured and assaulted multiple of my friends.”

It was also claimed that Hynes White had sent sexually explicit photos to underaged girls.

In June 2023, Hynes White denied the allegations in an Instagram story where insisted that the “rumors were false.” His full post reads as follows.

Earlier this year, somebody I’ve never met started a campaign of misinformation about me online. Because of this, my family has been doxxed, and my friends have received death threats.

Underage photos of me were used, and examples of me acting in character were presented as hateful. My friend Jane was falsely portrayed as a victim, and her attempts to set the record straight have been ignored. She gave me permission to include her in this message.

The rumors are false. I can’t accept the portrayal of me as someone bigoted, or criminally negligent of people’s safety. These are the kind of baseless, harmful claims that can create mistrust toward victims. It’s very distressing to know that this misinformation has upset people.

I’m really thankful for everyone who’s stood by me and helped share the facts. Harassment of my family, friends and coworkers needs to stop please. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

After Hynes White shared the post, multiple other women accused Hynes White of sexual misconduct. He had also been accused of racist comments in the past.

Ortega herself later faced criticism for seemingly affirming her friendship with Hynes White during a podcast appearance, leading to the actress deactivating her X account. The pair also star as love interests in the upcoming romantic film Winter Spring Summer Or Fall (2024).

Jenna Ortega has deactivated her Twitter after fans attacked her for reaffirming her friendship with Percy Hynes White during a recent podcast.

Percy was recently accused of sexual assault and using racial slurs.

Who’s Joining Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ For Season Two?

Other actors joining the show include Billie Piper, best known for her role as the Doctor’s companion and love interest Rose Tyler in the BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who. She’ll play a new regular character called Capri.

A group of seven young adults dressed in gothic-style school uniforms and casual clothing, inspired by Netflix's "Wednesday," standing in the woods, posing with a solemn expression.
Credit: Netflix

Related: Jenna Ortega Makes Major Netflix Exit, ‘Wednesday’ Facing Dissolvement

Steve Buscemi also joins the Wednesday cast as Barry Dort, while Evie Templeton, Owen Painter, and Noah Taylor all join in undisclosed roles. Meanwhile, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia Addams), Luis Guzmán (Gomez Addams), Isaac Ordonez (Pugsley Addams), and Luyanda Unati Lewis-Nyawo (Deputy Ritchie Santiago) have all been promoted to series regulars.

New guest stars include Joanna Lumley as Grandmama, Thandiwe Newton as Dr. Fairburn, and Frances O’Connor, Haley Joel Osment, Heather Matarazzo, and Joonas Suotamo.

Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) standing in the rain in The Addams Family (1991)
Christopher Lloyd
Credit: Paramount

Most excitingly, not only will Fred Armisen reprise his role as Uncle Fester, but he’ll be joined by Back to the Future legend Christopher Lloyd, who famously played Fester in both The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993).

He follows in the footsteps of fellow original franchise star Christina Ricci, who starred in season one – but obviously did not reprise her role of Wednesday Addams.

Are you excited for season two of Wednesday? Let us know in the comments!

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