Hello, Ellie? Jenna Ortega may have been absent from the last two seasons of You — but that doesn’t mean viewers will never see her face on the Netflix hit again.
“Any character who’s not dead who knows anything about Joe, it’s fair game to try to exert any justice,” showrunner Sera Gamble told IndieWire in an interview published on Thursday, February 9. “And any character who is dead, [Joe] has a really active imagination.”
Ortega, 20, starred opposite Penn Badgley on season 2 of the psychological thriller, which premiered in December 2019. The Scream actress portrayed Ellie, a friend of Joe’s (Badgley), who miraculously escapes with her life.
While Gamble, 39, told the outlet on Thursday that she initially “wanted to bring Ellie back,” she ultimately heard that Ortega was “doing some show” — fellow Netflix series Wednesday — and wouldn’t be available to film.
Despite not reprising her role for You’s fourth season, Gamble couldn’t be more proud of Ortega’s success.
“It’s been just such a pleasure to see Jenna this year,” the showrunner gushed of the Fallout star. “We have ideas for Ellie if her schedule allows her to visit us again. … These are some busy, in-demand actors.”
Ortega, for her part, previously revealed she would be open to returning to the series — but only under a few conditions.
“I don’t want her to come back and be extremely vulnerable and sad,” she told Teen People in 2019. “We have to remember that even though people still find Joe somewhat charming, he’s evil, he does terrible things and he gets away with them because of his gender and race and his position in society.”
The California native added that she would love to see Ellie become an “even bigger badass” and “take control of her life” after ending the season by moving to Florida. “She has so much potential and so much talent that she shouldn’t waste because of him,” she explained at the time.
For now, Ortega is focused on her portrayal of Wednesday — a performance that earned her a 2023 Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Actress in a Musical/Comedy Series. It’s a role the Yes Day star takes seriously.
“Someone like Wednesday seems very one tone. But there are a lot of different routes that you could take with someone like her,” Ortega told Netflix’s Tudum in November 2022 following the season 1 premiere. “Adding those layers of insecurity or those lived-in qualities that make a teenager a teenager is really interesting.”
She added, “Especially with a character that we’ve never gotten the opportunity to know well enough, because she’s always been the one-liner, off to the side with a funny punchline. To actually have real frustration and uncertainty was really interesting to play and discover.”