How Sabrina almost appeared in Riverdale
Netflix’s anticipated Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is set to debut at the end of the month, but the character almost appeared much earlier and in a much different form, according to show runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
“During season 1 of Riverdale — before Riverdale exploded and found its footing as sort of a noir, crime, pulp show — we had said, ‘Maybe season 2 will be like [the comic] Afterlife With Archie. We’ll do a big genre switch and it will be horror, and it will be Afterlife and Sabrina could come and be the antagonist,’” Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly. “There was even a time when we talked about the season 1 cliffhanger being the arrival of Sabrina.”
Ultimately, those ideas never came to fruition, mainly because Aguirre-Sacasa and his team felt Riverdale worked as a crime show and didn’t need a horror element added to its already dense narrative.
There was even talk of bringing Sabrina to the big screen.
“For a long time I was trying to get Sabrina done as a low-budget horror movie for Jason Blum [of Blumhouse Productions], and even wrote a screenplay with a friend that strangely, though it’s very different from the show, it did center on her 16th birthday,” Aguirre-Sacasa says. “Ultimately, Jason didn’t want to pursue that, and thank goodness because we’re getting to do this as a TV show, which feels right.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is based on the comic book of the same name, which reimagines 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.
Kiernan Shipka stars as Sabrina in the new series and is joined by Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman) as Hilda Spellman, Miranda Otto (Annabelle: Creation) as Zelda Spellman, Chance Perdomo, Michelle Gomez (Doctor Who) as Mary Wardell, Chance Perdomo as Ambrose Spellman, Jaz Sinclair, Richard Coyle as Father Blackwood, Tati Gabrielle as Prudence, Ross Lynch as Harvey Kinkle and Bronson Pinchot in the cast.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale) is writing the adaptation (the comic book basis for which he also wrote) and will executive produce. Lee Toland Krieger will direct and executive produce with Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Jon Goldwater. The drama hails from the Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti Productions.
The series will premiere on Netflix on October 26.