Who plays Wednesday in Wednesday on Netflix? Introducing Jenna Ortega

Everything to know about Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday Addams in Netflix's new spin-off 'Wednesday'

A close up of Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday, at the show's premiere
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The show's huge success has fans wanting to know who plays Wednesday and what has the actress appeared in before?

Netflix's Addams Family spin off Wednesday has broken records since its release, recently overtaking Stranger Things to score the most viewing time in a single week for an English-language series on Netflix. So it's no surprise that viewers have lots of questions about the series, from where is Wednesday filmed to wanting the Wednesday ending explained and details of if there's a Wednesday season 2.

And, of course, everyone want to know about the star of the show who plays Wednesday. If she looks familiar that's because she's already had a handful of roles in some huge series and recent film The Fallout, but you just might not have recognised her. We've done some digging to find out more about Jenna Ortega and where you might have seen her before.

Who is Jenna Ortega - the ‘new’ Wednesday Addams actress? 

Jenna Ortega is a 20-year-old actress from Coachella Valley, California, born on 27 September 2002. Her father is Mexican American and her mother is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. 

Ortega started acting from a young age, appearing in Iron Man 3 and Insidious: Chapter 2 in 2013, but her role as Wednesday Addams is her debut in a title role.

Ortega is perhaps best known for her role as Young Jane in Jane the Virgin, or her portrayal of Ellie Alves in season 2 of Netflix's hugely popular TV series You, and she's also appeared in The Fallout - which has received newfound interest since the release of Wednesday.

Aside from her acting career, Jenna Ortega uses her platform to speak openly about causes she cares about. On her Twitter she has expressed support for the people of Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and more with a thread of resources for those wanting to help, and on Instagram she includes a link to Planned Parenthood in her bio.

Jenna Ortega: Movies and TV shows

  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous - Brooklyn
  • Big City Greens - Gabriella
  • Scream - Tara Carpenter
  • The Fallout - Vada Cavell
  • The Babysitter: Killer Queen - Phoebe
  • Elena of Avalor - Princess Isabel
  • You - Ellie Alves
  • Jane the Virgin - Young Jane
  • Stuck in the Middle - Harley Diaz
  • Richie Rich - Darcy
  • Rake - Zoe Leon
  • Insidious: Chapter 2 - Annie

When was Jenna Ortega cast as Wednesday Addams?

Jenna Ortega was cast as Wednesday Addams in May 2021. The casting was announced by Netflix, and on the same day Ortega posted a photo of herself on Instagram posing with a copy of the Wednesday script.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ortega spoke about the challenges of her new role. "We've never seen [Wednesday] as a teenage girl," she explained. "It's funny and sweet and almost charming to hear this eight-year-old's obsession with murder and blood and guts. As she gets older, that nasty attitude or [those] biting remarks, it's almost kind of hard to not make it sound like every other teenage girl."

She added: "Also, it's an eight-hour series so, for an emotionless character, there has to be some sort of an emotional arc. That's been really interesting to figure out in terms of, okay, well, she's got to be able to push the story forward in some way but how do we keep her true to her deadpan self?"

In the past, the role of Wednesday Addams has been played by a number of different actresses. The character was first created by cartoonist Charles Addams, but Wednesday wasn't given her name until the live action tv series in 1964, when she was played by Lisa Loring.

Perhaps the most well-known portrayal of Wednesday to date was by Christina Ricci in the 1991 move The Addams Family, but the role has also been taken on by Nicole Fugere in The New Addams Family and Chloë Grace Moretz voiced an animated Wednesday Addams.

Christina Ricci has revealed that she will be appearing in the new Wednesday series, though her exact role is being kept a secret.

Wednesday on Netflix - other cast members 

  • Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia 
  • Luis Guzmán as Gomez 
  • Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley
  • George Burcea as Lurch
  • Gwendoline Christie as Larissa Weems
  • Riki Lindhome as Dr. Valerie Kinbott
  • Percy Hynes White as Xavier Thorpe
  • Tommie Earl Jenkins as Mayor Walker
  • William Houston as Joseph Crackstone
  • Murray McArthur as Fabian

Speaking to Vanity Fair, showrunners Miles Millar and Alfred Gough revealed they wanted the characters in the new series to mirror Charles Addams' cartoon rather than the '90s film adaptations. "[Gomez is] also incredibly debonair and romantic, and I think he has all those classic ingredients of the Gomez that we've seen come before, but he brings something also very different," said Millar.

He added: "That's something that was very important to the show—that it didn't feel like a remake or a reboot. It's something that lives within the Venn diagram of what happened before, but it's its own thing. It's not trying to be the movies or the '60s TV show. That was very important to us and very important to Tim [Burton]."

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.