Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: Everything To KnowPublished on March 29, 2018. Updated December 11, 2020
With TV reboots and revivals running rampant, Netflix has something up its sleeve for teen drama fans. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch is coming back to TV, but with a twist thanks to the streaming service giant. Since the massive success of Riverdale, which is derived off of the beloved Archie Comics, Netflix is creating the spinoff The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina based on the stories and characters also from the Archie Comics, but it certainly won’t be like the ABC sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart that audiences remember! The new Sabrina is described as being in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, bringing a much different Sabrina experience. Here is everything you need to know about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina:
12. Minds Behind
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is being brought to the small screen by the same people who are behind Riverdale. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who is the Riverdale showrunner and Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics, will be writing the new Sabrina series and will also be serving as producer and director. It has also been confirmed that Lee Toland Krieger who directed Riverdale‘s pilot will be doing the same for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina; meanwhile Riverdale producers Greg Berlanti, Rob Seidenglanz, Jon Goldwater and Sarah Schechter will be also be joining Aguirre-Sacasa to work on the new series as well.
Much like Riverdale isn’t like the Archie town or characters fans know from the comics, audiences shouldn’t expect the sweet family-friendly material they came to know through the original Sabrina, the Teenage Witch series which aired on ABC from 1996-2003. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina “finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit,” according to the show’s description. Meanwhile, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa added that the series is a “dark coming-of-age tale that traffics in horror, the occult, and, of course, witchcraft.”
10. The Star
Netflix is speeding right ahead in production for the show and have much of the cast in place, including Sabrina! Eighteen-year-old actress Kiernan Shipka has been cast as Sabrina Spellman and is best known for her role as Sally Draper on the hit AMC series Mad Men. “We’re all such huge fans of Kiernan’s work that when we started talking about who this new incarnation of Sabrina could be, her name was on everyone’s wish list,” said executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. “This is a darker, more macabre version of Sabrina, and we’re incredibly excited for people to see Kiernan make this iconic character her own.” Meanwhile, Netflix is describing Sabrina as “an empowered young woman, just beginning her dark education as a sorceress, even as she tries to maintain a normal life as a sophomore at Baxter High.”
9. Sabrina’s Backstory
Since the premise is much darker for this Sabrina series, it shouldn’t be surprising that Sabrina’s backstory is also way more twisted than it was in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. In The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, her father Edward Spellman is absent because he was once the high priest of the Church of Night and is vicious, dangerous and cruel. Meanwhile, Sabrina’s mother disappears after her first birthday, leaving her in the care of her two aunts.
8. The Aunts
Along with Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina, actress Miranda Otto has been cast as Aunt Zelda, whose character description in the new series reads: “Proud and devout, Zelda believes there is no greater honor than serving the Dark Lord as a member of the Church of Night. She is the family’s disciplinarian, fiercely protective of Sabrina, and very much Cain to Hilda’s Abel.” Otto is best known for her roles on 24, Homeland, and as Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Alongside Otto will be Lucy Davis as Aunt Hilda, and she will have more similar traits to those originally portrayed by Caroline Rhea in the ’90s sitcom. Hilda’s character description reads: “More nurturing than Zelda, Hilda’s motherly nature and warm sense of humor belie a wicked, ghoulish streak. She is as adept at brewing spite jars against her family’s enemies as she is at concocting love potions for the students at Baxter High.” Davis is best known for her roles as Dawn in the British version of The Office, Dianne in Shaun of the Dead, and more recently, Etta Candy in Wonder Woman.
7. Melissa Joan Hart Approves
Many original stars often get defensive and protective when their show gets a reboot, but in this case many Sabrina, the Teenage Witch stars approve of Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, including Melissa Joan Hart who starred as Sabrina Spellman on the ABC sitcom from 1996-2003. I think they’re doing it in a smart way—change it up, don’t make it the same,” Hart told Entertainment Weekly. “If you’re going to do the same show, it probably would fall on its face, but I think what they’re doing is probably the smartest way to reboot something.” Her words were high praise, especially because as recently as 2016, she was completely against a Sabrina reboot. She later added, “I think our show was about magic and family, and I think the new one — it sounds like, I have no idea — but the new one is going to be more about witchcraft, dark stuff. I think it sounds more Buffy the Vampire Slayer than it does Sabrina, so I think it will appeal to a different kind of audience and be a totally different show.” Meanwhile, Caroline Rhea couldn’t have been happier for Lucy Davis landing the Hilda role. “Congratulations
@RealLucyDavis . You will be a brilliant #AuntHilda2.0 It was the greatest role. This makes us long lost twins? Best Witches,” she tweeted at the actress after the casting announcement.
Of course, Sabrina, Zelda and Hilda aren’t the only Sabrina characters fans want to see, and the series wouldn’t be complete without Sabrina’s love interest Harvey Kinkle! In March 2018 it was confirmed that Ross Lynch had been cast as Harvey Kinkle, and while he is best known as a Disney star thanks to his role on Austin & Ally, Lynch recently took on a much darker role when he starred as Jeffrey Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer which told the story of the serial killer’s younger years. Harvey will be surprisingly similar to the sitcom character who was portrayed by Nate Richert. For the Netflix series, Harvey is described as “The prince charming of this dark fairy tale, Harvey is the son of a coal miner, a dreamboat and a dreamer, completely unaware of the dark forces conspiring to keep him and Sabrina apart.” It has been reported though, that Harvey will be a bit less innocent than in the ’90s show and the comics, and will be somewhat of a player much like the turn Archie’s character took in Riverdale. “Get ready for some sexy witchy stuff,” Cosmopolitan teased about the show and the character.
5. New Characters
Greendale will be getting a shakeup with some new characters as well including Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose, Sabrina’s teacher Mary Wardell, Church of Night high priest Father Blackwood, and Sabrina’s best friend Rosalind Walker. British actor Chance Perdomo has been cast as Ambrose Spellman in his first American screen role and his character is described as “Sabrina’s warlock cousin from England. Placed under house-arrest by the Witches Council, Ambrose is forbidden from leaving the funeral home where he lives with the Spellman women. Witty, puckish and pan-sexual, he is one of Sabrina’s partners in crime, always up for mischief.” Meanwhile, Michelle Gomez, best known for her role on Doctor Who, will be playing Mary Wardell, “Sabrina’s favorite teacher and mentor at Baxter High. When she is possessed by the Devil’s handmaiden, Madam Satan, Ms. Wardwell turns into a sultry, cunning manipulator, always trying to lure Sabrina down the Path of Night.” Actor Richard Coyle has been tapped to play Father Blackwood, “High Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts. Ruthless and ambitious, Blackwood hides a terrifying dark agenda that will put him in direct conflict with Sabrina and other members of the coven.” Jaz Sinclair, best known for her role on The Vampire Diaries, has been cast as Sabrina’s best friend Rosalind Walker. Walker is described as the “brash, empowered and outspoken daughter of Greendale’s minister, alongside being Sabrina Spellman’s friend at Baxter High.”
While Sabrina’s aunts are very important, the show would never be the same without Salem, and he will play a major part in the new series as well. In the ’90s series Salem was more of a pet to Sabrina, portrayed by a puppet but voiced by Nick Bakay, but on February 9, 2018, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa shared the first picture of the new Salem, and this time he is a real cat and will be Sabrina’s familiar, but as sarcastic as ever; however, no actor has been named to voice the character and his storyline hasn’t been confirmed. In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Salem was a warlock who’d been sentenced to live for 100 years as a cat after trying to take over the world. However, in The Chilling Adventures comic his story is quite a bit darker. As shown in a standalone issue of the series, he was a human who was turned into a cat by Salem’s witches after getting a witch pregnant and refusing to marry her.
3. No Crossover Confirmed
Ever since Sabrina’s hometown of Greendale was mentioned in an episode of Riverdale, fans have been on edge waiting for their first glimpse of Sabrina, but a crossover shouldn’t be expected even though it is being marketed as a Riverdale spinoff. Part of the reason why there might not be a Riverdale-Sabrina crossover despite the fact Riverdale has already mentioned the neighboring town of Greendale is because The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is strictly a Netflix original whereas Riverdale is co-produced with CBS TV and airs on The CW. The new Sabrina series was originally developed for The CW, but Netflix took over which could in part be because The CW didn’t want to compete with itself as it is currently producing a reboot of the witch-based series Charmed. Meanwhile, Riverdale star Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper) confirmed there are no plans for a crossover despite existing in the same universe. “I think Betty’s solely in the Riverdale world and it doesn’t make sense for a crossover. That’s why the decision was ultimately made to move to Netflix — to make these Riverdale and Sabrina shows completely separate universes. I don’t really know what [showrunner] Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa]’s plan is for Sabrina or what aspect of the supernatural or magic will be used. I know that doesn’t exist in Riverdale. At least right now. So it wouldn’t make sense for those two worlds to collide. So, I’d say don’t expect Betty to be in that world.” Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa seems less firm on the matter, however, teasing during a Q&A, “TBD. It’s been talked about. Greg [Berlanti] always says, ‘say never say never’ because who knows what’s gonna happen. In success, anything’s possible. It would be fun. Who knows?”
2. The Extras
Although it has been made clear that this Sabrina series is going to be dark, it is hard to tell how closely the show is going to resemble the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics. In the comics, the Spellman family are cannibals, and there is quite a bit of devil worship, sex and zombies, not to mention Sabrina actually flies on a broom that was gifted to her by her aunts and was crafted from the scaffolds that were used to hang her ancestors during the 1692 Salem witch trials. All of that seems particularly heavy for a Netflix teen series akin to Riverdale. “Sabrina takes characters we know and love and pushes them in a new, ghastly direction,” the comic’s artist, Robert Hack, said. “The horror in Sabrina carries so much weight because we’ve cared for these characters for, quite literally, generations. And Roberto’s scripts alternate between tugging at heartstrings and ripping them out.” Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa added: “One day, Sabrina’s going to be the most powerful sorceress who’s ever lived – Archie‘s equivalent of Doctor Strange – but right now, she’s a 16-year-old girl who’s figuring out who she wants to be and if she’s going to prom or not.”
1. Premiere Date
While fans are getting pretty excited about the upcoming series, there will still be a bit of a wait. Right now there is no official title for the series and it is still being credited under the comics’ name of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and there are high expectations for the show as Netflix is going full steam ahead as it has already greenlit two full seasons of 10 episodes each that are being filmed back-to-back. Production began in February 2018 with hopes for a late 2018 release date, and many are assuming Netflix is hoping to release the supernatural show for streaming sometime around Halloween 2018.