When someone references Sabrina the Teenage Witch, most people think fondly of that goofy, but lovable sitcom from the 1990s that featured Melissa Joan Hart as a teenage witch who spent most of her days trying to fit in, not just in high school, but in a world full of mortals. Along for the ride were her two kooky aunts and their equally as kooky talking cat, Salem.
But there is a lot more to Sabrina Spellman than meets the eye. Her character goes all the way back to the 1960s, when she was first introduced in Archie Comics. That led to her getting her own series of comic books. In addition to the 1990s sitcom, Sabrina also has a series of animated TV shows and movies about her. She has a long comic book and TV history.
However, the past decade has given her a more macabre past. When she got a reboot in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the teenage witch became less funny and a lot more dark and scary. This is the version of the story that Netflix viewers will get when its new series about Sabrina debuts.
Here are 15 Wicked Things You Didn’t Know About Sabrina Spellman, The Teenage Witch.
15 There was a Sabrina movie before the TV show
Before the Sabrina the Teenage Witch sitcom took America by storm, there was a movie based on the exact same story. In the film, Melissa Joan Hart portrays the character that Sabrina fans eventually came to love on TGIF.
The film premiered on Showtime, although the series wound up on ABC. The movie changed Sabrina's last name from Spellman to Swayer. Hart was only one of two actors that made it to the TV series from that movie.
Interestingly enough, Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, portrayed Seth in the TV movie.
The movie also moved Sabrina from Greendale, where she lived in the comic books, to Riverdale, home to Archie Andrews and gang. The movie must have struck a chord with audiences, though, because the series soon followed after it.
14 She started the zombie apocalypse in Riverdale
In Afterlife with Archie, which debuted in 2013, Riverdale got a lot darker than it ever was before. Hot Dog, the pooch adored by Jughead, is struck by a car, which kills him. Jughead, distraught over Hot Dog's death, went to Sabrina and begged her to cast a spell to bring his best friend back to life.
Sabrina did the spell but as they say, all magic comes with a price.
In this case, the price is that Hot Dog became a zombie dog who bit Jughead, turning his master into a zombie, too. Jughead then went on to bite his parents and Mrs. Grundy, beginning the zombie apocalypse.
But things got even worse, because Sabrina's spell did not just start the end of the world. It also awakened Cthulhu.
13 She married an ancient monster
The zombie plague in Afterlife with Archie is bad enough, but that was not the real side effect of Sabrina's spell that brought Hot Dog back to life. In fact, zombies became the least of her worries when she realized that the spell also awakened Cthulhu.
Remember those kooky aunts from the 1990s TV show? Well, in this comic, those aunts have a very different set of morals. They removed Sabrina's mouth and banished their niece to the nether-realm as punishment for casting the spell on Hot Dog.
When Sabrina returned to the mortal world, she ended up in a mental institution under the guidance of Dr. Lovecraft. With a name like that, readers knew that nothing good could come of it. In the end, Sabrina was forced to marry Cthulhu.
12 The new TV show is based on the much darker comics
Sabrina got a reboot in 2014 with a new comic book based on her, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The series served as a fresh start for the character, albeit a darker one.
Set in the 1960s, it reintroduced the world to Sabrina Spellman, a young witch who struggles with being a witch in a world full of mortals. She must choose between being a full witch or being a mortal girl who gets to spend time with her boyfriend, Harvey.
While Sabrina tries to make up her mind, though, she must deal with Madame Satan, a woman who was once in love with Sabrina's father. And Madame Satan wants revenge.
This is the version of Sabrina's story that the new Netflix series based on the character will take inspiration from.
11 Madame Satan is obsessed with Sabrina and her family
In The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was once a witch named Iola who was desperately in love with Sabrina's father, Edward. But Edward eventually broke off their affair because he fell in love with the mortal Diana: together, the two coupled and had Sabrina.
Heartbroken, Iola threw herself into a lion pen in an attempt to end her life. She ended up in Hell, but two witches from Riverdale accidentally released her spirit back to Earth. There, she began to seek revenge on the daughter of the woman who stole her love away. She masqueraded herself as one of Sabrina's teachers to get close to the girl to enact her revenge.
Madame Satan will get her live-action debut in the Netflix series, as portrayed by Michelle Gomez (Doctor Who, Gotham).
10 Sabrina’s aunts trapped her father inside a tree
In The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Edward Spellman was a warlock who fell in love with a mortal woman - Sabrina's mother. Before that, he dated the aforementioned Iona, who was so devastated by losing him that she took her own life, wound up in Hellm and became Madame Satan.
When Madame Satan returned to the mortal realm, she learned that Sabrina's aunts, Heidi and Zelda, had trapped Edward in a tree as punishment for dallying with mortals, which which they took Sabrina into their care. Once Madame Satan learned about that, though, she burned the tree down in revenge.
Then Sabrina's father comes back, in the body of Harvey Kinkle, Sabrina's boyfriend. Yeah, that's not weird at all.
9 Sabrina's mother was institutionalized
Sabrina's aunts weren't so lovable and quirky in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Sure, they were downright adorable on the TV series, but in this comic book, they were scary and mean. They strongly disapproved of Edward falling in love with a mortal and having a daughter. Edward also had his regrets, so after Diana refused to turn Sabrina over to her aunts, he made her insane, landing her in a mental institution.
The two aunts raised Sabrina but told her that her mother was dead. Readers later found out that Sabrina's mother was very much alive and that once Madame Satan had burned the tree that was Edward's prison, Diana was also completely sane. Diana attempted to contact Sabrina through dreams, but Sabrina forgot them soon after.
8 Crossover with Riverdale is unlikely
One huge disappointment with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina landing on Netflix, rather than on The CW, is that the possibility of Sabrina crossing over with Riverdale probably won't happen anytime soon. On an episode of the podcast Archie Digest: A Riverdale Podcast, host Chris Hayner unveiled the details of a conversation he had with CW head Mark Pedowitz.
"Based on what [Pedowitz] said, they're completely focused on getting Sabrina off the ground on Netflix and not thinking about crossovers at all," Hayner said. "But they hope there might be a possibility in the future. But they want to establish Sabrina as its own entity on Netflix before they even start thinking about it, which makes sense."
It's not entirely unfeasible, but if it happens, it won't be for a very long time.
7 She was created by a miscast spell
On the popular Sabrina the Teenage Witch ABC TV show, it became clear that Sabrina was the result of a witch falling in love with a mortal and having a child together, which the Witches Council deemed as wrong. Although that is the most well-known origin story for Sabrina, in reality, that is nothing like the origin story told in comic books.
Originally, Sabrina was not a half-mortal half-witch.
Instead, Sabrina's aunts accidentally created her with a miscast spell. This makes her something not entirely human and not entirely witch. However, the more common origin story became the official story for both the comics and in other media, probably because it is easier to explain. The idea of a more otherworldly Sabrina is interesting, though.
6 The Turkish Sabrina
The tale of Sabrina the Teenage Witch is one that has inspired a lot of other television shows. The idea of teenage witches has caught on and refuses to stop. Take the Turkish comedy, Acemi Cadi, for example.
That series features a character who discovered that she was a witch on her 16th birthday. At the time, she also happened to live with her two aunts, Selda and Melda. Viewers also learned that the family cat was actually once a mortal named Duman, who is a feline as punishment for a crime. The girl owned a book that her father used to communicate with her.
The premise is that this girl had to learn to navigate being a witch in a world full of mortals. Sound familiar? That's because the series used the 1990s sitcom as inspiration.
5 She was friends with Hellboy
Comic book crossovers don't happen as much as they should, especially in this day and age, but when they do, the results are pretty epic. In Archie vs. Predator, genre fans got a real treat. Not only did Archie Andrews go up against Predator, but there was also a one-page additional story in that book "Sabrina meets Hellboy." Because why not? Written by Alex de Campi, the one-page also featured artwork by Robert Hack. It was a small story that showed how a friendship began between everyone's favorite teenage witch and the future king of Hell. That issue also featured other short stories with Archie Comics crossing over with Dark Horse characters, including stories about how Josie and the Pussycats met Finder and how Jughead met Mind MGMT.
4 She was taken out by the Predator
Archie vs. Predator was an epic, yet crazy, crossover comic that brought together Archie Comics and Dark Horse Comics. Written by Alex de Campi, it featured artwork (often bloody and gruesome) by Fernando Ruiz. In that special one-off, the story featured a meeting between Archie Andrews and Predator after the latter arrived on Earth and started stalking the students of Riverdale High School.
Things didn't turn out well for many of Riverdale's finest, including Sabrina, who was killed while Betty and Veronica watched.
Many other Riverdale students met similar fates, but thanks to some fast thinking by Betty and Veronica, the alien finally got defeated. That issue was one of the best-selling comic books that month and received rave reviews from critics.
3 She was not based on Bewitched
One of the first witches to land her first television show was Samantha, the star of the classic TV series, Bewitched. On that series, Samantha meets and falls in love with a mortal man, which forces her to try to live in the mortal world. Eventually, the two have a witch daughter, named Tabitha, who gets in a lot of witch trouble at an early age because she can do magic.
Many people believe that this series actually inspired the character of Sabrina Spellman, but the truth is that Sabrina came first. Bewitched premiered in 1964, but Sabrina first appeared in comic books in 1962. It's likely that Bewitched was more inspired by Sabrina the Teenage Witch than the other way around. There are also many fan theories about the connection between Bewitched and Sabrina.
2 Sabrina first debuted in comics in 1962
Sabrina Spellman first appeared in comic books way back in 1962. She was first introduced in Archie's Mad House #22 in October 1962, which, of course, means that she pre-dates the popular classic TV show Bewitched by several years.
She was created by writer George Gladir and designed by artist Dan DeCarlo. Both thought she would just be a one-off character - one that got a brief mention but that readers would probably forget - but that wasn't the case. Sabrina appeared in Mad magazine until 1969. She went on to get her own comic book and animated television series.
Sabrina never left pop culture, and still remains a favorite comic book character today. She'll get a new iteration on Netflix in its adaptation of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
1 Sabrina got her first TV show in 1970
The idea of a teenage witch was such a hit with comic book readers that Sabrina got her first animated television series, which premiered in 1970. The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show was a spin-off of The Archie Comedy Hour and featured episodes about Sabrina and her life, as well as plots about how she masqueraded as a normal high school student at Riverdale while saving the town from monsters. Sabrina went on to get another animated series in 1977, The New Archie and Sabrina Hour. There was also an animated series in 2011.
Sabrina got the live-action treatment first in a Showtime movie, then ended up as a popular sitcom on ABC. Now, Sabrina will appear on Netflix in its adaptation of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Do you have any other wicked Sabrina the Teenage Witch trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!