Kiernan Shipka previews Sabrina's time on Riverdale, says 'the door's open' to future stories
So far on Riverdale, the enigmatic town of Rivervale has been nearly impossible to predict. Archie (KJ Apa) is dead! Toni (Vanessa Morgan) is a ghost! Reggie (Charles Melton) is in hell! But if there's one person who can help untangle everything that's going on, it's Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka).
After years of conversations about a potential crossover between Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the teenage witch is finally coming to town. Except the town is Rivervale. And she's not a teenager anymore.
EW spoke with Shipka about reprising the role after Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's ending and what could come next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We finally get the long-awaited crossover! What was it like for you to step back into Sabrina's shoes and play her again?
KIERNAN SHIPKA: There was always the hope of a crossover, so to get to be Sabrina again was a treat. It was a thrill. Also to go over to the set and do it for a few days and really have some fun with it, versus it being my full-time job, was really interesting. I did quite literally, in theme with Rivervale, feel like I was in an alternate universe. [Laughs] It was wonderful. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Did you do anything to get back in Sabrina's headspace, or was it relatively easy to snap back into character after some time away?
It's funny, she just like took over me the second that I started speaking. It was the craziest thing. I felt like no time had passed. Obviously I worked on the character and revisited her and thought about the script and all that kind of stuff, but it was like riding a bike in certain ways — an exciting bike. The best bike ride ever.
CHAOS ended with Sabrina's death, so do we get an explanation as to how she's back?
We get hints, but I think a lot of is left unsaid and a lot of questions are still up in the air as to how Sabrina's back and how it all went down. I have my theories and I think everyone will chime in with theirs, but hopefully down the line we get some explanation.
What's the biggest change in Sabrina? How is she different?
She's older. She's Sabrina the twentysomething witch, which makes for a wiser Sabrina. One of Sabrina's most charming qualities was the fact that she was young and made a lot of mistakes because she was still learning the ropes and learning everything, as you do when you're that age, and obviously you never stop making mistakes, but you do grow and you do become a different person. Bringing a sense of maturity to Sabrina that we hadn't previously seen was something that I was very excited to do. That's the most palpable difference.
Do we mostly see her with Cheryl [Madelaine Petsch] in the crossover, or does she interact with other characters as well?
We really just see Sabrina with Cheryl. The big reveal of Sabrina happens and shortly thereafter she is spellcasting with Cheryl Blossom. It's very fun. It's definitely established as a dynamic duo.
Is she a better witch now that she's older? At this point, Rivervale could use some help.
Things are chaotic. Yes, I do think that Sabrina kind of comes in with an assertive "I got this" energy. She gets to be the hero of the story.
Did anything surprise you about this experience?
It was crazy because I feel like since episode 1 of CHAOS we've been talking about doing a crossover with Riverdale, and finally the stars aligned and I think that it was absolutely the right timing. I was always itching to get over there. But it makes sense that it's after the fact and that it's now, and I'm happy that it's extended the life of Sabrina, so timing really did work out at the end of the day.
Do we see Salem at all?
Not in this episode, but I hope that eventually we do.
So it sounds like there's potential for more Sabrina in the future?
Yeah I think the door's open. I think the door is open, and that's very exciting.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Riverdale airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.