Netflix’s hit series “Wednesday,” a spin-off from the iconic Addams Family franchise, has encountered a significant hurdle as one of its main cast members, Thora Birch, exits the show before completing her role. The news comes amid ongoing Hollywood strikes, which had previously halted the production of the show in Romania.
“Wednesday,” which centers around the character originally portrayed by Christina Ricci, gained immense popularity upon its release in November 2021. With a second season in the works and Jenna Ortega reprising her role as the psychic teenager, production was well underway in Romania before the Hollywood strikes forced an abrupt shutdown.
The setback intensified with the departure of Thora Birch, who had joined the series in a regular role. Birch, known for her role in “Ghost World,” had to quit the show due to a personal matter, reportedly related to a family illness. Although she had filmed the majority of her scenes, Birch did not complete her role as Wednesday’s dorm mother, Tamara Novak, leaving the production team with a challenging decision.
MGM, the production company behind the series, confirmed Birch’s exit, stating, “Thora has returned to the States to attend to a personal matter and will not be returning to the production.” The fate of Birch’s existing footage remains uncertain, raising questions about whether the character will be recast and scenes reshot or if a new character will be introduced to conclude the storyline.
Meanwhile, the rest of the main cast, including Jenna Ortega, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Luis Guzmán, are expected to return for the highly anticipated second season.
Despite the setback, “Wednesday” continues to enjoy immense popularity, particularly due to Jenna Ortega’s compelling lead performance. The show’s unique blend of Addams Family charm and Gen-Z sensibilities has resonated with audiences worldwide. Within just one week of its release, “Wednesday” managed to surpass streaming records, amassing an impressive 341.2 million hours of viewership, outperforming even established hits like “Stranger Things.”
Developed by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, “Wednesday” has been described as a fresh take on the Addams Family legacy, incorporating elements reminiscent of “Riverdale.” Ortega, who has a string of successful projects to her name, continues to captivate audiences with her portrayal of the titular character.
As the entertainment industry navigates through challenges, the fate of Thora Birch’s character in “Wednesday” remains uncertain. Fans eagerly await updates on how the show’s creators will address this unexpected development as they eagerly anticipate the show’s return, slated for late 2024.