The new trailer for Netflix’s Riverdale spinoff The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina just came out, and we’re getting excited. The new series is set to debut Oct. 26, right in time for Halloween. The trailer makes the series look much more horror-focused than Riverdale, and might just attract a different audience.
It’s also likely to bring in a slightly different audience than those who were fans of the 1996-2003 series Sabrina the Teenage Witch that starred Melissa Joan Hart as a quirky high schooler with magical powers. The new Netflix series is going to be much darker, and we can’t wait.
Here’s everything we know about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina:
What is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?
Like Riverdale, the show it’s (technically) a spin-off of (though how much we are yet to see), The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the adaptation of a comic-book source into a TV teen soap opera. Though if you think of Riverdale as a teen version of Twin Peaks, Sabrina looks like it’ll be closer to Dark Shadows.
But whereas Riverdale hasn’t had any supernatural storyline elements, Sabrina will feature witches (teenage and otherwise), magic, possessions and more. The upcoming Netflix series has been compared to Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, and will also be as much a coming-of-age story as it is horror-based.
The original The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic series
The character of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” was created back in 1962 for an issue of the humor comic Archie’s Madhouse. Though her story was intended to be a one-shot, she became a breakout character and kept appearing in Madhouse stories. In 1971 she was finally given her own comic book, and she’s since gone on to have her own title off and on. And even when her own comic isn’t running, she regularly makes cameos and guest appearance in other Archie titles.
That said, the upcoming Netflix series is based on the specific run of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a comic title launched in 2014. The book was created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack. The comic is itself a spinoff, based on Sabrina’s occasional appearances in Aguirre-Sacasa’s Afterlife With Archie series.
The comic books are set in the 1960s and are a more serious take on the character. As with most versions of her, Sabrina Spellman is a half-witch/half-mortal living in Greendale, a town near Riverdale, with her aunts Hilda and Zelda.
In the upcoming Netflix series, however, Sabrina has a choice: she must decide by her 16th birthday whether or not she wants to become a full witch or fully mortal.
Sabrina also has to deal with Madam Satan — a character created in 1941 — who has returned from Hell and wants revenge on the Spellman family. Sabrina’s dad was dating Madam Satan until he rejected her for Diana Sawyer, the mortal who is Sabrina’s mother.
What’s the connection between Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?
You remember that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa guy who created the comics? He also created Riverdale and the TV adaptation of Sabrina, too. (We go into more detail in this Riverdale feature article, but Aguirre-Sacasa also created the off-Broadway unofficial adaptation Archie’s Weird Fantasy about Archie coming out as gay.)
But even aside from Aguirre-Sacasa, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shares the same producing team as Riverdale. Initially Sabrina was even going to share a network home with Riverdale until Netflix offered a guaranteed two-season commitment.
While there are currently no plans for the Sabrina character to pop up in Riverdale, or vice versa, in the original Sabrina comic the people who freed Madam Satan from Hell were actually Betty and Veronica. (Though it would be amazing to see Lily Rose Cooper and Camila Mendes cameo in the inevitable Madam Satan backstory episode, we won’t hold our breath.)
Who’s starring in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?
Appropriately, the first bit of casting news about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was the Sabrina character herself. She’ll be played by Kiernan Shipka, who despite only being 19 has had an impressive career, playing Sally Draper in Mad Men, B.D. Merrill/Hyman in Ryan Murphy’s Feud and Jinora in The Legend of Korra.
Rounding out Sabrina’s family are Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto as Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda. And Chance Perdomo will play Ambrose Spellman, Sabrina’s pansexual cousin who is forced to stay inside the Spellman house, and an unnamed beautiful black cat as Salem. (It’s not clear yet whether or not Salem will speak in this version, as he did in TV’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch.)
Rosalind Walker, one of Sabrina’s fellow students, is played by Jaz Sinclair from Netflix’s Easy and Slender Man. Two other friends are Susie Putnam, played by Lachlan Watson, and Nicholas Scratch, played by Gavin Leatherwood. Sabrina’s boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, will be played by Ross Lynch, who recently played Jeffrey Dahmer in My Friend Dahmer.
As far as potential antagonists, there’s Richard Coyle as Father Blackwood, the head of Sabrina’s school, Michelle Gomez as Madam Satan and Tati Gabrielle as Prudence, the leader of a mean-girl witch clique called the Weird Sisters. The Weird Sisters are rounded out by Agatha (played by Adeline Rudolph) and Dorcas (played by Abigail Cowen).