For decades, Tim Burton has made films that are creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky. Frankly, they’re all together ooky. But in what looks to be the director’s first major television project, Tim Burton has signed on to make a Netflix series about the character of Wednesday from The Addams Family.
This new series will be live-action and a coming-of-age comedy simply titled Wednesday, and will be a young adult series. It also looks as though Tim Burton will be directing all eight episodes. While the various iterations of Wednesday Addams have shown her to be a gothic child who plays all sorts of morbid games with her brother Pugsley, Wednesday seems to be adding quite a bit to this character. Wednesday will follow the Addams child as a student at the Nevermore Academy, as she tries to manage the relationships of school. But this Wednesday also has “an emerging psychic ability” and is trying to solve a supernatural mystery that involved her parents a quarter-century ago.
This Wednesday project was originally reported last year, and will supposedly take place in the modern-day. Since Wednesday Addams will be at the Nevermore Academy, it’s unclear whether or not the series will include other members from the family. But considering a major part of the series seems to be about Wednesday solving a mystery that surrounds her parents, it seems likely we will at least see Morticia and Gomez Addams at some point. Tim Burton will also be executive producing, and Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar will be the head writers for the series.
While Netflix is marketing Wednesday as Tim Burton’s television directorial debut, that isn’t entirely true. Back when Tim Burton was still a short film creator and artist for Disney, he directed the 1983 television special, Hansel and Gretel, which only aired one time on The Disney Channel. In 1986, Burton also directed episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Faerie Tale Theatre. But Wednesday would be the first series in which Burton directed every episode.
While Tim Burton’s darker sensibility makes perfect sense for a Wednesday series, Burton is also no stranger to adaptation, as the majority of his films have also been based on existing stories and properties. His last film, 2019’s Dumbo, was a live-action retelling of the 1941 animated classic, and his 2016 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is based on the Jane Goldman book of the same name.
The Addams Family is having quite a resurgence in recent years. 2019 saw the release of The Addams Family, an animated film version of the family starring Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and Chloë Grace Moretz as Wednesday. The Addams Family 2 is currently scheduled for an October 1, 2021 release, with Bill Hader joining the cast as a new character named Cyrus, and Javon Walton replacing Finn Wolfhard as the voice of Pugsley.
Considering Tim Burton’s flair for the macabre and his penchant for adapting dark stories, it’s almost surprising that Burton and The Addams Family haven’t crossed paths before. It will be interesting to see how Burton’s aesthetic works within this world, and especially if audiences are interesting in an entire series set around a crime-solving, psychic version of Wednesday Addams.