×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Stars on the Netflix Show’s Feminist Themes

If she had to sum up her titular character in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” star Kiernan Shipka would describe Sabrina Spellman as a “woke witch.”

The series, which premieres Oct. 26 on Netflix, is a reimagining of the famous teen witch’s story that has overt feminist themes. On the show, Sabrina is a half-witch half-mortal and becomes the first to question the male figures who rule the witches’ world, which leads to her reluctance to sign a pact to renounce the mortal world and embrace her magical side.

“This is totally the Sabrina for 2018, in so many ways. She’s a woke witch,” Shipka told Variety. “Her entire grappling with signing her name away in the Book of the Beast and questioning a lot of the more patriarchal elements of what she was raised to believe and to go into. I think that in and of itself is very feminist and she’s a strong independent woman and she stands up for herself and she does what she thinks is right.”

Shipka and the rest of the cast and creative team appeared at Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles for the series’ Season 1 premiere on Friday night. Ross Lynch, who plays Sabrina’s boyfriend Harvey Kinkle, said they are currently filming Episode 6 of Season 2.

Lachlan Watson, who portrays Sabrina’s friend Susie, said the show’s feminism takes a step further with its intersectionality, which shows that anyone can be a feminist. Susie is non-binary, like Watson themself, and their experience with bullies at Baxter High is part of their journey to embrace their authentic identity, Watson said.

“Susie provides a side of feminism that really represents that you really don’t have to be female to be a feminist. It really encompasses all minorities and all misunderstood people, or gender inequality as a whole, I think,” they said. “Throughout Susie’s sort of queer journey — specifically a bit of a genderqueer journey — which really speaks to me, it’s having that group of incredible feminists behind their back.”

The show has strived to promote diversity and inclusion on and off the set. Watson said they were “accepted with open arms” by the cast and creative team, and allowed to be unapologetically themself and “a little different and a little weird.” Similarly, Chance Perdomo, who portrays Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose Spellman, said it was refreshing that the show portrayed so many diverse characters. When he auditioned, the role had no race specifications and welcomed any actor to try out, Perdomo said.

One frequently talked about aspect of the show was its much darker look than the lighthearted “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” iteration that ran on ABC and the WB from 1996 to 2003. Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who acts as chief creative officer of Archie Comics, wrote the script for the series and said it is in the vein of “fun horror” like Stephen King and George A. Romero’s dark comedy horror anthology film, “Creepshow.” Aguirre-Sacasa said the series is a “love letter” to the horror films he grew up with, and there are easter eggs referencing movies like “The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Suspiria.”

Shipka said there won’t be any actors from the original TV version of Sabrina appearing in the Netflix adaptation, but she teased that “there might be some other people from some witchy shows coming on.”

With the show set in the same world as “Riverdale,” Aguirre-Sacasa also said there is an easter egg in Episode 7 that “tips its hat to” the the CW show, which he adapted from Archie Comics. Aguirre-Sacasa said he “would love for” a Riverdale-Sabrina crossover to happen, but did not confirm any plans to do so yet. “Sabrina” executive Sarah Schechter put it best: “Never say never, as Justin Bieber says.”

More TV

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Norman Reedus and Ryan Hurst'The Walking

    Norman Reedus on 'The Walking Dead' Without Andrew Lincoln: 'He's With Me Every Day'

    After saying goodbye to most of the original cast on “The Walking Dead,” Norman Reedus still feels his former co-stars with him during each episode. “I’ve seen so many people come and go,” he said during a “Walking Dead” panel on Friday at PaleyFest. “Right now on the show, the ghosts of all those guys [...]

  • Series Mania: De Mensen, Reel One

    Series Mania: First Details on Co-Pro Pitching Project 'Capturing Big Mouth' (EXCLUSIVE)

    LILLE, France — Belgian production company De Mensen, which has just been acquired by France’s Newen, has teamed with Reel One Entertainment on a new cross-continental thriller series, “Capturing Big Mouth. The series will be pitched Monday at this year’s Series Mania Forum Co-pro Pitching section. It chronicles the unlikely rise and eventual fall of [...]

  • Daily Show Viacom

    Viacom, DirecTV Make Progress in Contract Talks, No Blackout After Deadline Passes

    UPDATED: Viacom and DirecTV executives went down to the wire Friday on a combative contract renewal negotiation with high stakes for both sides. The companies stayed in talks past the midnight Eastern contract expiration and the channels stayed up on AT&T’s platforms. Sources indicated early Saturday that the threat of a blackout had been averted. [...]

  • ABBY'S -- "Pilot" Episode 101 --

    TV Review: 'Abby's' Starring Natalie Morales

    “Abby’s,” NBC’s new comedy about a cranky bartender (Natalie Morales) and her inner circle of regulars, is aware of the inevitable “Cheers” comparisons. Created by “New Girl” writer Josh Malmuth and executive produced by uber-producer (and unabashed “Cheers” superfan) Mike Schur, “Abby’s” therefore makes a few key choices in order to differentiate itself as its [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” series, and Kristin Cavallari will host “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.  DATES Reality star Kristin Cavallari will host Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” an unscripted dating show in which a group of singles will check into a tropical resort and compete to check [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content