Sabrina Spellman’s journey back to the small screen has been a long time coming. More specifically, before Chilling Adventures of Sabrina landed at Netflix, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who also wrote the comic of the same name, had two other ideas for how the teenage witch could make her comeback. The first plan involved bringing Sabrina to Riverdale, where Aguirre-Sacasa also serves as showrunner.
“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 recalls. “There was even a time when we talked about the season 1 cliffhanger being the arrival of Sabrina.”
Ultimately, Aguirre-Sacasa and his team changed their minds. “For various reasons, and I think partly because Riverdale found its footing as more crime show, that felt less and less like the right fit,” he says. “It felt like if Riverdale is crime and pulp and all that stuff, then Sabrina could be horror. It felt like there was a separation between Greendale and Riverdale — magic should exist in Greendale, but not in Riverdale. That was the thought.”
Before Aguirre-Sacasa started developing Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as what he calls a “companion show to Riverdale,” he also thought about taking the teenage witch 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 hits Netflix on Oct. 26.