Thora Birch Explains Why She Left Wednesday Series Partway Through Production

Tim Burton’s reimagining of The Addams Family will be hitting Netflix in November, with the new series Wednesday introducing Jenna Ortega as a new incarnation of Wednesday Addams. Someone else featured in the first half of the series is Thora Birch (Hocus Pocus, The Walking Dead) who’d been cast in a key role as Tamara Novak, Wednesday’s dorm mother at Nevermore Academy. In December of last year, it was reported that Birch had abruptly left the series partway through production due to a “personal matter,” the details of which were not revealed.

When Birch’s exit was reported, there were rumors that she had to tend to a “family illness,” but not much else has been stated about what happened. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Birch addresses her sudden Wednesday exit and suggests that there was more to the story than was reported at the time. Birch now explains that her departure had more to do with creative differences as she questioned the ideas the writers had in mind for her character.

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“That became such a fluid, moving situation artistically, creatively from episode to episode. I had filmed a certain amount and there were some questions about how much more to go with that character and there were just some changes and adjustments made. It didn’t work out that I would be able to go back, so they are finding their own solutions.”

Wednesday’s Solution Was to Cast Christina Ricci

Paramount Pictures/Netflix

While Birch had to leave Wednesday, her exit did open the door for bringing in someone new to replace her, and the person they went with has The Addams Family fans excited to see the series. Christina Ricci, who played the live-action Wednesday in a pair of movies in the 1990s, was brought in to play a new character in a role similar to that of Birch’s. For her part, Ricci was just as thrilled to be a part of Wednesday, as she recently told Collider:

“It’s Tim Burton, I was so honored to be asked by him because he is just, you know, a genius. And then also to be a part to be asked to be a part of the new version of this thing that is a huge part of my identity and my history in my life. I mean, I know they didn’t do it out of the goodness of their hearts, but I was really touched by it, and I felt like it was very nice. And it’s such a fun world, and my character is outrageous and fun and different than anything I’ve done, and it was really great. And I just had a really lovely experience on that with Jenna, who is amazing, and I think now people have a taste of her Wednesday, and it’s gonna be fantastic.”

We will see how this all turns out soon enough when Wednesday makes its way to Netflix when it premieres on Nov. 23, 2022.