Fate: The Winx Saga star Abigail Cowen previews the fairy franchise's grown-up remake
The Netflix drama’s lead introduces us to Bloom and the magical world she enters.
The Winx Club is back and all grown up!
Based on the cartoon franchise about a tight-knit group of fairies, Netflix's Fate: The Winx Saga (premiering Friday) ages up the fairies and brings them together as students at the magical school Alfea. At the center of the story is Bloom (Abigail Cowen), a young fairy desperate to learn to control her fire abilities after an accident makes her afraid of what she's capable of.
Fate: The Winx Saga will deliver a mix of magical madness and the trappings of teenage life. While the students at Alfea try to learn to hone their skills, the show's relatability comes through in the school romances, the insecurities young people feel, and various elements of life as a teen it incorporates, according to star Cowen.
We spoke to Cowen about Bloom's complicated situation at her magical school, making literal TV magic, saying goodbye to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How familiar were you with the original series?
ABIGAIL COWEN: Yeah, I definitely knew of it. A lot of my friends were humongous fans growing up and I found that out when I actually got the role. I called a couple of my best friends just to update them, but I didn't tell them the role that it was or what show was called. Just by describing what it was about, they immediately knew and just started freaking out.
Bloom heads to Alfea with lots of questions and wanting to control her powers. What can you share about her quest for answers?
[Bloom's] dealing with the age-old issues that teenagers deal with, except adding magical powers that are extremely strong and could destroy a bunch of things. The beauty of Bloom is that she's relatable in the sense that she's trying to figure out who she is and tries to deal with the authority around her. She's also stubborn, hard-headed, and is also going through a really emotional time. Bloom is dealing with the [teenage] struggle while also managing these crazy powers and the information she's getting about her life, [and] who she is.
How would you describe the magical world the viewers are about to be introduced to?
The magical world they're part of is filled with people who have the ability to control different elements, like fire, water, or plants. Then there are specialists who are the best at what they do, which is fighting, and are trained in Alfea. This world contains a bunch of different aspects to it; it's always surprising because you think you know exactly what it is there and then you're shocked in the next moment by what you see. It's unpredictable and there are really no limitations to this magical world.
Let's talk a little about her relationships with the other members of The Winx Club.
Bloom comes in used to being the outsider and used to being alone. She's an only child, very much an introvert and spends her time alone. She comes [to Alfea] and is bombarded by living with four other girls. During the first season, she embraces her journey and the power of female friendship. The ups and downs of it, we don't shy away from the bad; we show the good, the bad, and ugly in friendships. Bloom definitely discovers what it means to actually start to trust people and to be able to lean on people, and to feel betrayed by them.
What other characters are you excited for viewers to meet?
Every character has such unique personalities and I'm excited personally for viewers to meet whoever they identify with. I personally love Terra (Eliot Salt). She's hilarious and so cute, just loving and caring. Eliot does such a phenomenal job portraying her, so do all the others.
Brian just did such a wonderful job honing in on each other, which is hard to do with an ensemble cast.
There's darkness and magical threats, but Fate also has a lot of fun. How do you feel the show finds balance by including those moments?
[Fate: The Winx Saga] does a great job of having that balance and the element of fun is definitely in there. There'll be a really dark moment where there's a scary moment or jump scare and then all of sudden there's something that makes you laugh. It keeps you intrigued and keeps you wanting to watch more, which is so awesome. It's great that they incorporated the silliness of having five girls living together and the college shenanigans that go on while living together. I remember going to summer camp and even having roommates in college and the fun stuff that goes on is definitely portrayed in the show.
What was it like to have visible powers with the special effects and everything? The magic's a bit different from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
In the beginning, we met with movement coaches and we decided how we wanted to portray the magical powers and what we wanted to do with both breathwork and body movement, all of those elements to it. When I did get to set, I made my decision on how I wanted to portray the fire powers. That being said, you're hooked up to these lights because I had to have fire coming out of my hands, so they would basically put these rods on my arms with these lights sticking out attached to them. There'd be someone off-screen when it would be time to press the button and these lights would light up then they would CGI out the lights and add the fire. It's kinds of funny too because you have to be really serious and sometimes the lights will go off or on when they're not supposed to and it would be distracting. Luckily, we have such a great crew.
With Sabrina ending, I wanted to ask what it was like to say goodbye to the show and Dorcas?
In the last scene with The Sisters and me, the tears were real. The truth is it was heartbreaking and bittersweet because we didn't know it was going to be canceled, but in that moment, it kind of felt like it was goodbye. We talked about it and the show in different ways was a pivotal moment in all of our lives and was life-changing. We all become family and when you're on a set like that, often living in such close quarters, you have no other options, but to basically know the ins and outs of everyone. That's exactly what happened to us.
If you had to pick three words to describe Fate: The Winx Saga, what would they be?
I would say empowering, witty, and magical.
Anything else you'd like to add about the series?
We're just excited for it come out because we did put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this. It's our passion, we enjoyed every single moment of it. I really hope that the audience can see the love that we have for one another and the work we put into this. I hope that they enjoy it as much as we enjoyed filming it and being part of it. I hope that it can be a little bit of an escape for people at this crazy time. I hope that it can be that or whatever it needs to be for people watching.