Wednesday could not have been a bigger success for Netflix, with its Stranger Things-level of streaming success proving that people love the Addams family more than ever. And while Jenna Ortega’s morbid teen grabs the spotlight in the Tim Burton-directed series, pretty much every other iconic member of the ooky, kooky clan shows up in its recently released first season as well — from Wednesday’s parents Gomez and Morticia to her Uncle Fester.
Appearing in every single episode alongside her, however, is Thing, the family’s dutiful handy man — by which I mean he’s a literal living hand. The disembodied appendage first crawled his way onto our screens in the original 1960s Addams Family sitcom, before featuring in a much bigger role in the theatrical films of the 1990s. And now audiences are rediscovering him all over again. But what is Thing and will we ever find out his origins in Wednesday?
Here’s the thing about Thing
As any Addams family fan should know, the gothic group originate from the New Yorker cartoons created by Charles Addams, which were so popular they ended up spawning their own TV series that began in 1965. Most of the brood were authentically translated for the screen, with Addams himself providing their names. However, the character who underwent the biggest change was Thing.
It may surprise you to know that Thing was originally a fully-formed being in the original cartoons, with it being a running gag that Addams would hide him somewhere in his illustrations — often Thing’s eyes would be glimpsed in the shadows or their hand would be seen around a door. When it came to the television adaptation, the decision was made to simplify the character down into a single hand. And the Thing we know and love was born.
What kind of thing is Thing?
In the sitcom, due to the limitations on special effects at the time, Thing was realized as a hand and forearm that emerged from a box. Thanks to the dawn of CGI in the ’90s, though, Thing became a freely moving hand that scurried about the Addams mansion in the movies. That depiction continues in Wednesday, although he’s been given a suitably Burtonian makeover to make him appear more Frankensteinian.
Yet despite these various portrayals, an explanation about what the heck Thing is has never been provided. The closest we’ve ever come is an exchange in Wednesday in which, when Enid inquires about him, Wednesday explains that Thing is an “old Addams family mystery” that’s never been solved. Given our heroine’s knack for investigation, however, it feels like there’s a good chance we could finally get some answers about his backstory in season two.
Is he all that remains of one of Wednesday’s ancestors? Or is Thing the creation of some mad scientist branch of the family tree? Seeing as we learned all about Gomez and Morticia’s hitherto-unknown origins in this debut season, let’s keep our own fingers crossed that Thing’s story is told in Wednesday‘s sophomore batch of episodes.