Despite a new cast and creative direction, CW's latest Charmed reboot trailer confirmed there will be a significant connection to the original series: Melinda Warren. Fans of the original series and its stars had expressed mixed feelings about remaking the show with little to no connection to the original. Holly Marie Combs (Piper Halliwell) criticized the network for ageism and implying that unlike the original, the revival would be a "funny, feminist" adaptation. Shannen Doherty (Prue Halliwell) has since endorsed the series for creating a new opportunity to talk about female empowerment.
Melinda Warren was a powerful ancestor to Prue, Piper, and Phoebe Halliwell and Paige Matthews. She possessed all of their powers and passed them down the family line. She appears in the season 1 episode "The Witch is Back," revealing that she was burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials after being betrayed by her warlock lover. She appears again as a baby in season 3's "All Halliwell's Eve," as the Charmed Ones foil a demonic plot to alter history by raising her as an evil witch. Although she doesn't appear as a family matriarch at the wiccaning ceremonies for Piper's children, she's regularly referred to as the beginning of the Charmed line, responsible for the sisters' magical destiny.
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The new trailer from CW shows the sisters receiving their own "Book of Shadows" from their whitelighter (Rupert Evans). Upon opening it, an entry about Melinda is revealed. Check out the full trailer below:
As in the original Book of Shadows, entries appear to be hand drawn and written, and the illustration resembles the Melinda played by Tyler Layton in the previous series. The voiceover emphasizes that family and sisterhood will once again be the central theme of the series. Of the original Charmed, executive producer Brad Kern described the show as "about sisters who happen to be witches, not witches who happen to be sisters."
Whether the Vera sisters are related to Melinda (and therefore the Halliwells), or she acts as an important historical witch is the big question. The new trio are set to come into their magical destiny much the same way the Halliwells did - with a death in the immediate family. In addition to being younger than the Halliwells, with younger sisters Maggie and Mel still in school, the new trio will practice brujería or Latinx witchcraft traditions. Much like Sex and the City, the original Charmed was praised for speaking out about personal and professional freedoms for women, but a decade later, has received some negative feedback for its limited inclusion of women (or witches) of color and queer characters. The Vera sisters are Latina, and Mel will be gay.
While the revival has pledged to honor the original series, Melinda's involvement may end up being part of a larger storyline. By aiming to be a more intersectional show, Charmed has an opportunity to resonate with a wider audience by bringing together and discussing witches from all different traditions. While prior clues hinted at the first major bad guy, the return of any other characters from the original series remains to be seen.