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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Netflix's Sabrina the Teenage Witch adaptation taps Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka as lead

Netflix

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Netflix has found its Sabrina Spellman!

Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka has been tapped as the titular heroine in the untitled adaptation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic.

The Untitled Sabrina Project 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.

Described as an empowered young woman, Sabrina is 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.

“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,” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says. “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.”

Executive producer and Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater added: “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.”

The project, which recently scored a two-season pickup at Netflix, had initially been in development at The CW as a possible companion show to Riverdale, as both shows hail from Aguirre-Sacasa and are based on characters from the Archie Comic universe.

The character of Sabrina was rumored to potentially appear on Riverdale. After all, Jason Blossom had traveled to the Greendale side of the river before his untimely death in the premiere, and Greendale is Sabrina’s hometown. That fact was among one of the clues that led fans to believe Riverdale was possibly going to adapt Sacasa’s other Archie comics run, Afterlife with Archie. More on that here.

Sabrina was previously brought to life by Melissa Joan Hart on the sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which ran as part of ABC’s TGIF lineup from 1996-2003. However, this adaptation is said to be a much darker take on the character.

Aguirre-Sacasa, who penned The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics, will write and executive produce the project with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Goldwater, and Lee Toland Krueger, who will also direct.

Best known for playing Sally Draper on Mad Men, Shipka recently starred opposite Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange on FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan.

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