Is the world ready for a new Sabrina Spellman? Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men, Feud: Bette and Joan) has been cast in the lead role of Netflix original series Untitled Sabrina Project, based on the Archie Comics graphic novel The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Netflix describes the character as “an empowered young woman, half-human, half-witch who is just beginning her dark education as a sorceress, even as she tries to maintain a normal life as a sophomore at Baxter High. Intelligent, compassionate and brave to the point of recklessness, Sabrina is all that stands between us and the forces of darkness that threaten our world.”
“We’re all such huge fans of Kiernan’s work that when we started talking about who this new incarnation of Sabrina could be, her name was on everyone’s wish list,” says executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. “This is a darker, more macabre version of Sabrina, and we’re incredibly excited for people to see Kiernan make this iconic character her own.”
According to the official logline, Untitled Sabrina Project imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft. Tonally in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, this adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit.
The original order is for 20 one-hour episodes. Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. are the show producers. Roberto Aguirre-Sacas is writer and exec producer, and Lee Toland Krieger is the exec producer and writer. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter (Berlanti Productions), Jon Goldwater (Archie Comics) are producers. The Untitled Sabrina project comes on the heels of the success of Riverdale, which is also based on characters from Archie Comics.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch debuted in Archie’s Madhouse #22 in Oct. 1962. Created by writer George Gladir and designed by artist Dan DeCarlo, she first appeared in that humor anthology’s lead story (the logo then spelled “Teen-Age”),and eventually became one of Archie Comics‘ major characters. She starred in her own Filmation animated series (1971-1974), and the DIC produced show Sabrina: The Animated Series (1999) and Sabrina’s Secret Life (2003). The character was also brought to life in the ABC/WB live-action sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart which ran from 1996-2003.