Following months of hints from the producers of Riverdale, and speculation from journalists and fans, The CW and Warner Bros. Television have confirmed they’re developing a drama based on the Archie Comics series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Written and executive produced by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the project is planned to debut during the 2018-19 television season as a companion to Riverdale, which returns Oct. 11 for its second season.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is based on the Archie horror title of the same name, launched in 2014 by Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Robert Hack, which reimagines the classic character Sabrina the Teenage Witch (aka Sabrina Spellman) in a dark coming-of-age story that’s drawn tonal comparisons to such horror films as Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist.
The TV drama will find young Sabrina trying to reconcile her dual nature — she’s half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit. The comic is set in the 1960s, but there’s no indication in the announcement whether the adaptation will be a period piece.
Although Sabrina didn’t materialize during the first season of Riverdale, as some fans had hoped, Aguirre-Sacasa has suggested in May there was a possibility the teenage witch might still be introduced in Season 2, as the drama probed the shadowy edges. “We are going to continue exploring the idea of the supernatural being on the fringes of Riverdale,” he said, “and that might be to lead up to Sabrina’s arrival or that might just be to make it more like Twin Peaks and the way they dealt with the supernatural.”
Created by writer George Gladir and artist Dan DeCarlo, the precocious Sabrina debuted in 1962 as the daughter of a mortal and warlock who lives with her witch aunts Hilda and Zelda and pet Salem Saberhagen, a warlock-turned-cat with an eye toward world domination. The property made the leap from comics to animation in 1970 with a CBS series before making the transition to live-action television in 1996 with a popular sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart. The character also appeared in Sabrina: The Animated Series in 1999 and the spinoff Sabrina’s Secret Life in 2003.
An animated revival, described as “Twilight meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” was announced in 2011, with plans surfacing the following year for a live-action movie. Hart teased in 2016 that there had also been talk of another Sabrina live-action series, but we’re assuming she wasn’t referring to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Aguirre-Sacasa will be joined as an executive producer by Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Lee Toland Krieger and Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater.
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