Do you feel a chill in the air? Something very witchy is making its way to Riverdale.
After years of rumors and countless pleas from fans, Kiernan Shipka is finally bringing teenage witch Sabrina Spellman to the CW drama this Tuesday (9/8c). Shipka played Sabrina for three seasons on Netflix’s Riverdale spinoff Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and her making an appearance on the mothership had been “a conversation for a really long time,” she tells TVLine, but “the stars never really quite aligned for it.” Better late than never, though: “It was just a matter of all the elements coming together, finally. It was always a no-brainer in my mind that I would do it.”
Sabrina’s arrival coincides with the five-episode “Rivervale” event that kicks off Season 6, and its creepy supernatural overtones make it a perfect match. “It made sense that she would come in as a witch with a more fantastical waft in the air, if you will,” Shipka notes. “I think it was a justifiable arrival, given the fact that she died. I know anything can happen, but the more magic involved, the better.”
Yeah, about that: Sabrina actually died and went to the Sweet Hereafter in Sabrina‘s series finale — so how is she back again, exactly? Shipka says her death wasn’t the end of the story: “It’s very unlike Sabrina to just kind of chill in the Sweet Hereafter. I think she would get bored and want to find her way back to her friends and her family, and vice versa. Her aunties and her friends and Ambrose would do anything for her, so to me, it makes sense that her death wasn’t a forever death.”
So what brings Sabrina to Riverdale… sorry, Rivervale? “We learn that Cheryl and Sabrina have been friends,” Shipka explains, “and I think it should come as no surprise that those two characters are friends.” When a passing comet inspires Cheryl to look back on the tragic stories of her Blossom family ancestors, she “is in need of some extra horsepower and some extra witch power, and who better to call than Sabrina?”
Sabrina’s return “came together in a beautiful way, and it made my heart feel very full,” Shipka shares, adding that “it was lovely to step back into her shoes.” But could she step back into them again? “I hope it’s not the last we see of her in Riverdale,” she says. “I certainly would love it.” But this week’s appearance, she notes, is “also a thank you” to Sabrina‘s loyal fan base “for supporting us. This is for the fans, in many ways. It’s been a long time coming.”