The CW has announced that a show centered on one of Archie Comics most popular characters is in development. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is said to be a "dark drama in the horror genre," and will follow Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Sabrina first came to prominence in the late '90s when Melissa Joan Hart took the role in what became an exceptionally popular TV show. Sabrina has continued to enjoy popularity with Archie Comics readers, and since the advent of Riverdale on the CW, many fans have been wondering if we'll see her making an appearance on the show.
It seems as though the CW have gone one better, announcing The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina as a 'companion' show to Riverdale, which will begin its second season on the channel next month. The script is said to be in development with Riverdale showrunner/Archie Comics chief creative officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa writing and Lee Toland Krieger set to direct. If the show makes it through development, it could make its debut on The CW in the 2018-2019 season, so a little more than a year from now. With Riverdale having a huge and dedicated following, it looks likely that it will get a third season as well, so could we see the two shows connecting in any way?
Firstly, it's worth noting that Aguirre-Sacasa has frequently talked about the possible appearance of Sabrina on Riverdale. In fact, he was considering bringing her in during the Riverdale season 1 finale but decided against it (rightly) saying that it would have distracted from the episode itself. A Sabrina appearance is something that is very much wanted by fans, so news of this Sabrina focused season is sure to go over well.
While no casting has been announced yet, we could potentially see Sabrina making her debut on Riverdale before Sabrina premieres. That would give the perfect platform to introduce her to those Riverdale viewers who are not familiar with the comics, and to ensure they watch the companion series. Alternatively, we could see Riverdale characters appearing in the premiere episode of Sabrina. As for any crossover episodes, while nothing has been mentioned, we know it's a tactic that The CW has employed on a regular basis with shows such as Supergirl and The Flash, and later with Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow, as well. In fact, The CW is a channel that firmly embraces fandom, and doesn't take itself too seriously; The Flash/ Supergirl musical crossover episode was evidence of that. Given that they like to deliver what the fans want, a crossover (or several) seems likely, as does Sabrina being introduced alongside Riverdale characters.
Ahead of Riverdale season 2, Aguirre-Sacasa has also teased a far darker, more supernatural turn for the show. This is definitely something that Riverdale has embraced more and more during its time on air, with a zombie Jason Blossom haunting Cheryl's dreams, and Betty showing a darker side to her character, not to mention the suicide of Clifford Blossom and the revelation that he killed his own son. Season 2 will focus on the fear of living with a killer in their midst, and how that affects the inhabitants of the small town. Riverdale might center on a teenage cast, but its themes are fully adult, something that will also be present in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is said to be in the vein of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. The two shows will likely never become linked in terms of sharing storylines and castmembers on a permanent basis, but there is huge potential there for the aforementioned crossovers and, given that this is The CW, the occasional standalone episode could be something completely fun and frivolous.
While Sabrina lives in the same universe as the inhabitants of Riverdale, her powers give her a darker, more supernatural edge than Archie, Betty, Veronica and co. In the Sabrina comics, she lives in Greendale, across the other side of Sweetwater River to Riverdale. Half-witch, half-mortal, Sabrina lives with her 2 aunts, Hilda and Zelda, both of whom are full witches. Sabrina spends most of her time in the comics trying to help others with the secret use of her powers. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is said to reimagine her origins, but it does state that she stands against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world the humans inhabit. So, while this show might be dark, Sabrina herself is good; a perfect occasional addition to the town of Riverdale, where the corruption comes from the world around them, rather than the actual kids themselves.
Aguirre-Sacasa also developed 'Afterlife with Archie,' a comic book series filled with gore, violence, and horror. When Reggie hit Hotdog with a car, Jughead begged Sabrina to bring his beloved dog back to life. She did so, but Hotdog had been turned into a zombie. Hotdog bit Jughead, turning him into a zombie and subsequently spreading it to everyone else. That storyline is extremely unlikely to be recreated on either Riverdale or Sabrina, but the potential is there for a one-off Halloween themed episode, perhaps, which would be the perfect opportunity for some truly dark horror to come to Riverdale.
We're not going to see Sabrina in the first half of Riverdale season 2, at least, but she could well make a debut at the end of the season, or the start of season 3. As for Riverdale characters appearing in Sabrina, or a full crossover episode, it's surely not a case of if it will happen, but when.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is in development at The CW. Riverdale season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 11th on The CW