Explaining the Hispanic and Latino History of the Addams Family from Comics to Wednesday

The Addams Family has returned to live-action with Tim Burton’s new Netflix series, Wednesday. The spin-off focuses on the morbidly minded girl of the family, played by Jenna Ortega, and stars the first predominantly Latin Addams Family, with Luis Guzmán as Gomez and Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley. With the latest iteration of the Addams Family here, this question is sure to arise: The Addams Family always supposed to be Latino?

The answer is complicated. For many years The Addams Family has Hispanic and Latin roots, but did not fully embrace them until Wednesday. In order to understand why Wednesday The casting of Latino actors makes sense and perhaps better represents the goofy and spooky family, let’s take a look back in time for the character’s history.

The Addams Family cartoon from The New Yorker

(Image credit: The New Yorker)

The Addams Family Comic

The Addams Family debuted between the pages of the New Yorker in 1938 as Charles Addams cartoons. Addams regularly brought the family together for punchlines for the magazine, but they didn’t even have first names. 58 of the thousands of Addams illustrations for the magazine featured the family and were published in the 1940s and 50s. This original iteration of the Addams Family had no Latino or Hispanic background, just a family of macabre characters with unique gags for readers to laugh between reading news and other articles in the magazine.

Carolyn Jones, John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Blossom Rock, Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax in The Addams Family

(Image credit: MGM Television)

The Original Addams Family TV Series

Then came the iconic ’60s TV series. The dark comedy sitcom began The Addams Family’s Hispanic origins when Charles Addams left the name choice to series actor John Astin, who chose “Gomez.” rather than Addams’ favorite first name, Repelli (a repellent pun), by The Smithsonian magazine. As Astin told the Ocala Star-Banner in 1965, he was given “carte blanche” to inject “Latin-lover’s blood through Gomez’s veins” with his portrayal of the character for the first time outside of his cartoons.

Obviously, the ’60s were a different era and a white man portraying a Castilian Spanish stereotype wouldn’t fly today, but that’s how the Addams Family’s Hispanic roots really began. The Addams Family found mainstream popularity in the 60s and 70s, although the show itself only lasted two seasons. Through syndication, it continued to be part of popular culture, and the family was featured in animation through scooby-doo two to three times. Additionally, in 1977, the original cast returned for a made-for-TV movie, called Halloween with the New Addams Family.

Christopher Lloyd, Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia in The Addams Family

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

The Addams Family Movies of the 90s

The Addams Family then found a resurgence in the 90s with the two Barry Sonnenfeld films, 1991 The Addams Family and 1993 Addams Family Values. In this iteration, Puerto Rican actor Raúl Juliá played Gomez, Anjelica Huston played Morticia, Christina Ricci was Wednesday, and Christopher Lloyd was Uncle Fester Among others The Addams Family cast members. With Raul Juliá’s role as Gomez, the Addams Family has certainly become more true to their Hispanic origins, although the rest of the family is rather culturally ambiguous – Ricci and Huston, for example, have mixed ancestry. Italian and Scottish.

That being said, with Juliá as Gomez, he certainly brought Latino representation to the franchise. teen vogue‘s Ella Cerón recalled that the Hollywood father was the “first time” she saw her own father “reflected” back to her on the big screen and meant something to her, although her legacy was not directly addressed in either movies.

Morticia and Gomez in the 2019 animation The Addams Family

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Addams Family 3D Animated Movies

The Addams Family reunited in 2019 with MGM’s computer-animated version. In This Addams Family, Guatemalan actor Oscar Isaac voiced the role of Gomez, while Charlize Theron voiced Morticia, Chloë Grace Moretz voiced Wednesday, and Finn Wolfhard voiced Pugsley. With this cast, the latest Addams Family retained the same cultural makeup as the previous version, with Gomez remaining Hispanic and the rest of the family being largely white characters. Speaking about his approach to the role, Isaac said this in a Universal images featurette for the 2021 sequel:

Gomez is a character I’ve loved for so long as a fan. Even reading the Charles Addams comic. And Raul Julia being one of my biggest inspirations and seeing what he did with that character. And so on have my chance to put my touch on it.

With Isaac’s portrayal, Gomez kept his Hispanic roots, with Isaac even opting for an accent for the character in his own version. Isaac was also particularly inspired by Raúl Julia’s version of the character. However, the last Addams Family was not necessarily embraced by its audience, receiving mixed reviews and CinemaBlend The Addams Family exam giving it only 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Morticia, Wednesday, Gomez and Pugsley Addams in Netflix's Wednesday

(Image credit: Netflix)

Tim Burton’s Wednesday Netflix Series

This brings us to Wednesdaywhich is available to stream with a Netflix subscription. Jenna Ortega is the first Wednesday Addams to also display a Latino descent like her father, with the actress being Puerto Rican and Mexican and Luis Guzmán being Puerto Rican himself. Zeta-Jones is of Welsh and Irish Catholic descent, which makes the Addams a mixed-race family, as other versions of them have shown, but their children are also shown as Latinos. This seems to be the show’s most respectful representation of the roots.

While Gomez’s Hispanic origins began from a codified location, in 2022, Wednesday finally allows the family to be Latino, instead of culturally ambiguous. In the show’s trailer, the mention of Dia De Los Muertos is there, showing that maybe the show will lean more into its culture for the first time. In a netflix interview, Jenna Ortega had this to say:

Wednesday is technically a Latina character and that has never been depicted. So for me, whenever I have the opportunity to represent my community, I want it to show.

The Addams Family had a long history of portraying Hispanic and Latino actors in a major American franchise, but with Wednesday, this is the first time that the whole family has been involved. Now that we’ve discussed the story, check out how to watch The Addams Family movies and tv online as Wednesday makes its debut.