“Kiernan was iconic in Mad Men, and I had even thought about her, I was like, ‘Oh I wonder if she’d ever do Betty,'” Riverdale and Sabrina showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells EW.
Obviously Shipka didn’t take on the role, which instead went to Lili Reinhart. But Shipka’s name remained part of a larger conversation. “When [Sabrina] moved from CW to Netflix, our casting director David Rapaport said, ‘By the way this is something Kiernan might be interested in,'” Aguirre-Sacasa says. “There was no script at the time, but from the second he said that, for me it was sort of like, ‘Okay she’s Sabrina. I’m writing this for Kiernan.'”
As for why Shikpa felt like the perfect fit to play the teenage witch in Netflix’s darker version of the familiar story, Aguirre-Sacasa says: “She felt like the right actor at the right age at the right point in her career and someone who was up for the challenge, because it’s grueling. She’s in practically every scene. But for me, Sabrina had to stand up to the Dark Lord, the devil, and these very formidable opponents and someone like Kiernan has the gravitas and the assuredness to be able to do that. I’d say she was my first choice for sure. For sure.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hits Netflix on October 26.