Netflix's upcoming show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has cast British actor Richard Coyle (Pusher) in a villain role as Father Blackwood, High Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts. The series is based on character from Archie Comics and is a loose spinoff of The CW's hugely successful Archie adaptation Riverdale, which is distributed internationally on Netflix. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) will play the title role, and Riverdale's Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will serve as showrunner.
Sabrina gained mainstream popularity when Melissa Joan-Hart played the character in a sitcom adaptation that aired on ABC in the late 1990s, and she currently has her own comic book series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which debuted in 2014 and is written by Aguirre-Sacasa. Netflix's show, in the same vein as Riverdale, will have a considerable darker tone than the 90s Sabrina the Teenage Witch show, and will see Sabrina torn between worlds as a half-witch, half-mortal.
Father Blackwood is an original character created for the TV show, and Deadline describes him as "ruthless and ambitious," with "a terrifying dark agenda that will put him in direct conflict with Sabrina and other members of the coven." Coyle joins a growing cast that includes Miranda Otto (Lord of the Rings) as Sabrina's Aunt Zelda, Wonder Woman's Lucy Davis as Aunt Hilda, and Jaz Sinclair (Slender Man) as Sabrina's best friend, Rosalind. The show will also feature fan-favorite character Salem Saberhagen - a male witch who was turned into a black cat as punishment for trying to take over the world.
While American audiences may not recognize Coyle, he's been a staple of British TV for almost two decades. He starred in Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat's early 2000s sitcom Coupling, and also starred in his own short-lived supernatural series Strange, in which he played a former priest who investigates murders connected to demon activity. More recently he starred in the crime thriller Pusher, monster movie Grabbers, and an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. He also played a lead role in Amazon's period drama mini-series, The Collection.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has recently cast a couple of other major roles. Doctor Who's Michelle Gomez will join Coyle on the side of the villains, as Sabrina's teacher, Mary Wardell, who is possessed by the devil's handmaiden, Madam Satan. Meanwhile, newcomer Chance Perdomo will play Ambrose Spellman, a British necromancer in his early 20s. Ambrose is trapped by a binding spell in the funeral home where Sabrina lives with her aunts, and according to his character breakdown he will serve as "one of Sabrina's partners in crime."
There's a big appetite for dark supernatural shows on TV (just ask Supernatural, which is currently in its 13th season), and anticipation for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is high thanks to the success of Riverdale, and nostalgia for the 90s show. The series is expected to debut on Netflix this year.