Update 07/15/2018: We’ve gotten our first official look at Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina, as the Mad Men star shared a video on her instagram, welcoming fans to her coven. The video also includes Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto who will be playing Sabrina’s aunts Hilda and Zelda, as well as cast members Chance Perdomo and Gavin Leatherwood! Shipka is rocking her character’s signature turtleneck and we cannot wait to see what the team have been up to… it looks like we’ll likely be getting a trailer soon so keep your eyes peeled!
Something wicked this way comes.
— Archie Comics (@ArchieComics) July 10, 2018
With Chilling Adventures of Sabrina in production, photos are popping up online. For example, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been teasing a very sinister goat named Black Narcissus, which is likely a nod to the classic 1947 chiller film about an isolated group of nuns.
— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) April 7, 2018
It’s not just the Riverdale mastermind who has been giving us sneak peeks at the set though, as YVRShoots has also shared images which give us our first glimpse at Jaz Sinclair’s Rosalind Walker and Michelle Gomez’s Evangeline Porter/Madam Satan. The shots are all looking very ’50s except for the movie on the marquee; Night of the Living Dead wasn’t released until 1968. Still, this hints the show will be set closer to the period featured in the comics.
Sabrina, Harvey, Jaz & Madam Satan.
Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of #Sabrina gave us our first good look at its upcoming series about a teen witch — a #Riverdale spinoff.
PHOTOS: https://t.co/g7wVHXKVz4 #DoctorWho pic.twitter.com/ootgPrUFuD
— YVRShoots (@yvrshoots) April 4, 2018
Then there’s this shot from Lee Toland Krieger who’s working on the series. What looks like a local movie theater is in the background.
Fan site SabrinaChilling also shared these pics focused on the crew of youngsters out and about on the town, with Porter in tow. We’re loving the look of the show so far.
— Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (@SabrinaChilling) April 5, 2018
Ever since it was announced that a Riverdale spin-off focused on Sabrina the teenage witch was in pre-production, fans have been waiting with baited breath for any and all news. Since its announcement in 2017, the show has jumped networks, moving from The CW to Netflix and based on Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s Archie Horror comic that reimagined the character as an occult-heavy horror story (complete with cannibalism and human sacrifice).
Confirmed to be called “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” by creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on twitter.
— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) May 2, 2018
The show “imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult, and, of course, witchcraft. Tonally in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, this adaptation 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.” We’re just starting to get a proper vision of just what the show will look like, so keep your eyes peeled for all you need to know about your new favorite teen witch!
Who Is Sabrina?
First introduced in Archie’s Madhouse #22 in October 1962, Sabrina is the titular teenage witch who many of us know from the classic 90’s kids show starring Melissa Jane Heart! A half-human half witch Sabrina was raised by her two aunts in a small town called Greendale, which is neighbors with… You guessed it! Riverdale. There was an animated TV show in 1970, before Sabrina got her own ongoing series in 1971–which lasted 77 issues– she then had another solo series during the peak of the popularity of the live action Sabrina the Teenage Witch show. The comics often focused around the sweet hearted teenager trying to use her powers to help others, as well as learning about the right and wrong way to use them. Aside from her aunts Hilda and Zelda, and her cat Salem–a witch who had been transformed as a punishment–the other main recurring character was Harvey Kinkle, Sabrina’s friend and sometime love interest.
Prior to the Archie Comics relaunch in 2015, Roberto Agguire-Saccassa introduced a line of Archie Horror comics, the flagship being Afterlife with Archie which introduced Sabrina in issue #6, and was quickly followed up by Chilling Tales of Sabrina. The dark vision was miles away from the Sabrina that fans grew up with, but the book quickly gained a fanbase as a dark reinterpretation of the classic character. The first arc of the book finds Sabrina about to turn 16 trapped between choosing to truly become a witch or stay a mortal forever, whilst being hunted down by an old acquaintance of her dead dad. Chilling Tales is straight horror comic so we were really excited when Netflix announced it was taking over, as we know they can push the boundaries of what we can expect from a comic adaptation.
Cast and Crew
Kiernan Shipka is Sabrina
Most well known for her seven season long stint as Sally Draper on Mad Men, Shipka recently starred in Ryan Murphy’s Feud, but she also has some serious horror chops. Her years of character work—alongside her performance in 2015’s gorgeously atmospheric indie chiller The Blackcoat’s Daughter—make her a perfect lead for this new addition to the Archieverse. Netflix describes Sabrina as “an empowered young woman, half-human, half-witch … just beginning her dark education as a sorceress, even as she tries to maintain a normal life as a sophomore at Baxter High. Intelligent, compassionate and brave to the point of recklessness, Sabrina is all that stands between us and the forces of darkness that threaten our world.”
The big question now is whether we’ll be introduced to Shipka’s Sabrina in the already familiar world of Riverdale. This is pretty likely as in Aguirre-Sacasa’s comics Betty, Veronica, and other members of the Archieverse play a large role in Sabrina’s journey.
Fans seem to be pretty excited about the casting with Twitter already exploding at the announcement. The creative team is also clearly passionate about Shipka’s casting. “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. 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,” Chilling Adventures of Sabrina creator and Executive Producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa stated. “I am thrilled that Kiernan is playing Sabrina and have no doubt that she will embody the strength, courage and boldness that has made the character a fan favorite,” Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater added.
Jaz Sinclair is Rosalind Walker
You might recognize Jaz Sinclair from Netflix’s Easy, The Vampire Diaries or the wicked thriller When The Bough Breaks, but soon viewers will know her as Rosalind Walker, Sabrina’s best friend and Kiernan Shipka’s co-lead in the new show. We got a bit more of an idea about Rosalind through a leaked casting call which stated “Rosalind is Sabrina’s human best friend. Brash, empowered, and outspoken like her Black Panther parents, Rosalind is keeping a secret from Sabrina and the rest of her classmates—that she is not-so-slowly losing her eyesight, a fact that will put her immortal soul in jeopardy…” This sounds similar to Netflix, official announcement where they also stated that she was ‘brash’ and ‘outspoken’ but there was no mention of her eyesight and she was described as a minister’s daughter! We love Jaz, so are super stoked to see what she’ll bring to this new incarnation of the story of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Ross Lynch is Harvey Kinkle
TV Line announced that the show has found what is likely the final member of the core cast in My Friend Dahmer star Ross Lynch. He’ll be playing Sabrina’s love interest Harvey Kinkle. Netflix’s official description of Harvey reveals he’s a glimmer of light in the bleak horror of Sabrina’s world 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.” In the comics, Harvey’s storyline is pretty dark after he discovers Sabrina’s witchy secret and *spoiler alert* is murdered, before Sabrina’s own father is resurrected in his body. Okay, dark and weird. Luckily after playing a young Jeffrey Dahmer, we know former Disney Channel star Lynch is not afraid of taking on dark, complex roles.
Lucy Davis Is Aunt Hilda
We have our Aunt Hilda! Deadline announced on Friday British actress Lucy Davis would be taking on the role of one of Sabrina’s aunts. According to Deadline, Davis’ Hilda is “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.” We can assume that the ghoulish streak probably has something to do with the fact that in the comics Hilda and her sister have a penchant for eating human flesh! Lucy is a comedic powerhouse, so hopefully we’ll see her bring some of her talents that she showcased in the OG Office, Shaun of the Dead, and most recently in Wonder Woman to the bleak horror landscape of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Miranda Otto is Aunt Zelda
Only days after announcing Wonder Woman’s Lucy Davis would be playing Sabrina’s Aunt Hilda, Netflix announced via TVLine they had cast their Aunt Zelda, too. Miranda Otto will be taking on the role, and the official description describes Otto’s character as: “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.” Probably best known for her role as Eowyn in the second and third Lord of the Rings movies, Otto is another exciting addition to an eclectic cast.
Chance Perdomo is Ambrose Spellman
Perdomo will be playing Ambrose Spellman, a reimagining of a classic character from the ’70s comics and Chilling Adventures. In this incarnation he will be “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.” We are super happy the show is diversifying their cast, not only with people of color but also with representation of pan-sexuality, and can’t wait to see the kind of hijinx that Ambrose and Sabrina get up to.
Michelle Gomez is Evangeline Porter A.K.A. Madam Satan
As per Variety, the show has picked up Michelle Gomez has joined Chance Perdomo as a recurring cast member. You probably recognize Gomez from Doctor Who where she played Missy (a.k.a. The Master). But for Perdomo’s, this is his first American screen credit, though you may know him if you’re a fan of British dramas like Hetty Feather and Midsomer Murders. These two bits of casting are really exciting as we’re starting to get a feel for the show, and it’s clear they’re sticking to their horror roots. According to Netflix, “Gomez will play Mary Wardell, Sabrina’s (Shipka) favorite teacher and mentor at Baxter High. When she is possessed by the devil’s handmaiden, Madam Satan, Ms. Wardell turns into a sultry, cunning manipulator, always trying to lure Sabrina down the Path of Night.” This is an interesting twist on the character from the comic, a witch who is the ex-flame of Sabrina’s dead father, who comes to wreak havoc on the Spellmans after settling in to the small town as a teacher called Evangeline Porter.
Richard Coyle is Father Blackwood
Netflix’s untitled Sabrina project has found its Father Blackwood. Deadline reports that Richard Coyle has joined the cast as the nefarious Father Blackwood, who Netflix describe as “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 (Shipka) and other members of the coven.” Coyle is a British actor who you probably recognize from The Collection, and Pusher.
Roberto Agguire-Saccasa Is the Showrunner
Roberto Agguire-Saccasa is the multi talented mind behind the entire Archie Horror line that inspired the dark neon hued world of Riverdale. His comics like Afterlife with Archie, and The Chilling Tales of Sabrina are the basis of the entire live action Archie-verse, and the success of Riverdale–which he also the showrunner on–mean that it was a no brainer to have him helm this new Netflix incarnation of Sabrina. Agguire-Saccasa isn’t just a comic book creator and a hit showrunner though, he is also the mind behind a number of off-broadway cult musical’s, including a banned ‘gay Archie’ musical from over a decade ago and American Psycho! He also wrote the script for the much maligned Spider-Man Turn off the Dark, but we don’t have to talk about that! Agguire-Saccasa has proved he’s got the chops to reinterpret the cheery world of Riverdale as a dark, melodramatic, crime ridden world, so we cannot wait to to see what he’s got in store for Sabrina and Greendale.
Are you excited to see the world of Riverdale expand? Just love Sabrina and can’t wait to see a wholly new incarnation? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Archie Comics, Netflix, A24, BBC, Yorkshire Playhouse, Unique Features, Warner Bros., New Line, RLI