Is Wednesday a Sequel or Prequel to the Addams Family Films?

Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ tells the story of Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega), the eldest child of Gomez (Luis Guzmán) and Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Smart and morbid, Wednesday is forced to attend the Nevermore Academy, a boarding school where youths with extraordinary abilities receive education, after she has gone through eight regular schools in five years. At Nevermore, she makes friends, becomes interested in certain boys, and finds herself at the center of a mystery involving a murderous monster.

‘Wednesday’ is based on the characters created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. Since their inception in 1938, the characters have been adapted into books, music, theater, films, and television. Five films have been released on the Addams family, two of which are live-action — ‘The Addams Family’ in 1991 and ‘Addams Family Values’ in 1993. If you are wondering whether the Netflix series is a sequel or prequel to these two films, we got you covered.

Is Wednesday a Sequel or a Prequel?

No, ‘Wednesday’ is neither a sequel nor a prequel of the Addams family films but a modern spin-off based on Charles’ Addams’ brilliant work. The series was created by Tim Burton, Alfred Gough, and Miles Millar. Millar and Gough share writing credits with Matt Lambert, April Blair, Kayla Alpert, and Addams. Burton directed four of the eight episodes of the first season, with Gandja Monteiro and James Marshall helming two episodes each.

One of the greatest filmmakers of his generation, Burton is a master of gothic fantasy and horror genres. In 2010, Burton was supposed to develop a stop motion Addams Family film for Universal. Even though Burton was genuinely interested, the studio wanted to create a computer-generated project, and that was that. So, when the opportunity came for him to be involved in the Netflix project, the filmmaker excitedly accepted.

“When I read this [script], it just spoke to me about how I felt in school and how you feel about your parents, how you feel as a person,” Burton told the Empire magazine. “It gave the Addams Family a different kind of reality. It was an interesting combination.”

The project allowed Burton to reflect on his own school days. “In 1976, I went to a high-school prom,” Burton said. “It was the year ‘Carrie’ came out. I felt like a male Carrie at that prom. I felt that feeling of having to be there but not be part of it. They don’t leave you, those feelings, as much as you want them to go.”

Image Credit: Vlad Cioplea/Netflix

Burton’s two co-creators thought collaborating with him was a match made in heaven. “Of course we’re told Tim’s never done television,” Gough explained to Gold Derby. “We said, ‘If you don’t ask, the answer is no.’ So we sent the script to his agent, who read it and liked it and sent it to Tim. We just kept on working, thinking, okay we’ve thrown it out into the universe. Literally four days later the universe answered. Tim read the script. He loved it.”

Christina Ricci, the actress who plays Wednesday in the two films, is part of the Netflix show, portraying a teacher at Neverwhere.  “We all wanted her in the show,” Gough stated. “Tim had worked with her in ‘Sleepy Hollow.’ Miles and I wanted to honor those 90s movies and thought if we could get her in the show that would be really cool. Scheduling-wise it was crazy because of ‘Yellowjackets,’ and again, we’re in Romania in the pandemic. She really loved that this was a chapter that hadn’t been told before. It wasn’t watching a version of what she had done again. When she jumped in it kind of gave the show the stamp of approval that you’re always hoping for.”

Read More: Netflix’s Wednesday Ending, Explained