Thora Birch has exited Tim Burton’s Netflix series Wednesday, Deadline reports. The series stars Jenna Ortega as a teenaged version of spooky child icon Wednesday Addams, navigating peer pressure, psychic powers, and a “monstrous killing spree” as she attends mysterious Nevermore Academy.
Birch was set to star on the series as Tamara Novak, a teacher at Nevermore who also serves as a housemother for young Wednesday. (She’s also described as the only “Normie” among Nevermore’s staff, which we assume means she’s the biggest fan of George Wendt around.)
Per a representative from the show, Birch departed the series, which is currently filming in the Romania, in order to attend to a “personal matter”; Deadline reports on sources who say that a family illness is involved.
Rather than re-cast the part of Tamara, the show’s producers are set to introduce a new character. Birch reportedly filmed a fairly hefty amount of the show’s first season, but it’s unclear at present whether her existing footage (and character) will be used, or whether the show will reshoot and sub in a new character entirely.
Wednesday was originally announced back in October 2020, reuniting Burton with a franchise he nearly directed back in the 1990s. (Barry Sonnenfeld ended up tackling the first two Addams films, instead.) The series sports a pretty packed cast and guest cast, most notably Luis Guzmán as Gomez Addams, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia. (Gwendoline Christie is also set to appear as a character described as Morticia’s “nemesis.”)
The series will see Ortega’s Wednesday dive into the mysteries surrounding her family and the small town they live in, in a premise that sounds so much like Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina (also from Netflix) that it’s actually really hard not to make constant comparisons to it. The series will be directed by Burton, and was created by Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar.