Why isn't Jenna Ortega in You season 4?

The Wednesday star has addressed her absence as the serial killer drama returns

Jenna Ortega in You
Jenna Ortega is absent from season 4 of You. (Netflix)

With binge-able killer-thriller You returning to Netflix this week, Wednesday star Jenna Ortega has revealed that she was “devastated” to miss out on the drama’s most recent outing.

Based on the novel series by author Caroline Kepnes, You follows Joe (Penn Badgley), a seemingly mild-mannered guy who forges a series of intense, stalker-like relationships with the women that cross his path.

Throughout three series, his habit of cultivating toxic traits sees him use tech and social media to freak out his various female obsessions, with the show’s fourth season finding him living in London under a new identity and ready to do more of the same.

Read more: You S4 Part 2 review: Joe goes off the deep

Part one of the show’s fourth edition made its Netflix debut on 9 February, with the second half airing from 9 March.

However, fans have been wondering why Ortega, who joined the show in series two as the mysterious Ellie, a teen with an unusual friendship with Joe, is nowhere to be seen.

Why isn't Jenna Ortega in You season 4?

Penn Badgley and Jenna Ortega in You. (Netflix)
Penn Badgley and Jenna Ortega in You. (Netflix)

Ortega has cited scheduling clashes with her hit show Wednesday as the reason behind her absence from You season 4.

“I was devastated. Easily one of my favourite sets that I’ve ever, ever been on,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “I miss Ellie, and I’ve been wanting to go back to Ellie for a long time, but I was in Romania shooting Wednesday.

“I couldn’t travel back and forth with the pandemic and everything like that, and when you’re committed to a show there’s just no way that it could've worked out. But that one, that bummed me out. I tried."

Read more: Jenna Ortega in talks to star in Beetlejuice 2

Meanwhile, showrunner Sera Gamble hasn’t ruled back welcoming Ortega back for future seasons, suggesting that anyone who isn’t dead is “fair game” for Joe’s future obsessions.

“It’s been just such a pleasure to see Jenna this year. We have ideas for Ellie if her schedule allows her to visit us again,” Gamble told Indie Wire.

US actress Jenna Ortega arrives for the world premiere of
Jenna Ortega arrives for the world premiere of Scream VI (AFP via Getty Images)

“Any character who's not dead who knows anything about Joe, it’s fair game to try to exert any justice,” she told the outlet, cryptically adding that “any character who is dead, [Joe] has a really active imagination.”

Ortega has had a big year so far. In late 2022, she starred in Tim Burton’s macabre teen-tale Wednesday, a series based on the fan-favourite Addams Family character that featured a dance sequence that set social media alight.

That said, the 20-year-old star recently opened up about the intense demands of perfecting the role.

Wednesday. (L to R) Thing, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in episode 104 of Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in Wednesday. (Netflix)

“It was show up to set two hours early, do that 12- to 14-hour day, then go home and then get on a Zoom and have whatever lesson that I had,” she told Variety.

“Or show up to my apartment, [and] my cello teacher was already waiting for me.

“It was just constantly going, and if you could on a weekend, if we weren’t shooting the sixth day that week, it was: ‘All right, well then, we’ll get your lessons in on that day.’ I did not get any sleep.”

While Netflix recently confirmed that Wednesday will return for a second series, Ortega can next be seen going up against Ghostface for a second time in Scream VI, released 10 March.

You season 4, part 2 is is streaming on Netflix now.