Fans may recall that when ‘Riverdale’ launched on The CW, there was talk that other Archie Comics characters could find their way into the series. That sort of happened during Season Two, when the main villain was referred to as The Black Hood, a name associated with a superhero character that has been published by Archie in various forms, including a very dark, modern vigilante that seemed like the biggest influence. But the character that fans seemed the most curious about was Sabrina Spellman, a.k.a. ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’.
There were, in fact, plans to introduce Sabrina on ‘Riverdale’ and in certain episodes of the second season, the seeds seemed to be planted, with the establishment of Riverdale’s mysterious neighboring town of Greendale, which, in the comics, is where Sabrina lived. But then, The CW hesitated about picking up a proposed spin-off ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, because they had a reboot of ‘Charmed’ in the works and didn’t want to commit to two witch shows. At the same time, Netflix had had great success with ‘Riverdale’ when it offered the first season to stream over the summer. Anxious to repeat that, the streaming service offered to pick up two seasons of ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ right off the bat, no pilot needed– an offer that the creators couldn’t refuse.
Now the creator and showrunner of both shows, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who is also the head of Archie Comics and who wrote the ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ comic, details the original plans to bring Sabrina into the world of ‘Riverdale’… and a surprising alternate plan to bring Sabrina back into the spotlight:
“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. There was even a time when we talked about the Season 1 cliffhanger being the arrival of Sabrina.
“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. 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.
“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. 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.”
If things had turned out very differently, we could have seen ‘Riverdale’ morph into a zombie horror show or ‘Sabrina’ as a low-budget Blumhouse horror movie. But perhaps the new Netflix show will be a better fit.
‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ will arrive on Netflix on October 26.
Source: Entertainment Weekly