Riverdale reinvented Archie Comics for the small screen and ever since its premiere in 2016, fans have been wondering if a certain half-witch-half-mortal would be making an appearance on the thrilling CW drama. Sabrina Spellman is technically a part of the Archie universe (and she lives in neighboring Greendale), so it seemed only natural that she would eventually meet Archie and the gang. Now that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is about to make its Netflix debut on Oct. 26, producer Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa is explaining why Sabrina was never on Riverdale. In fact, she was supposed to turn up as early as Season 1, but her addition was scrapped once the show came into its own.
“During season 1 of Riverdale — before Riverdale exploded and found its footing as sort of a noir, crime, pulp show — we had said, ‘Maybe season 2 will be like [the comic] Afterlife With Archie. We’ll do a big genre switch and it will be horror, and it will be Afterlife and Sabrina could come and be the antagonist. There was even a time when we talked about the season 1 cliffhanger being the arrival of Sabrina," Aguirre-Sacasa told EW.
Riverdale has many makings of a teenage high school drama, though it sets itself apart from predecessors within the genre like Gossip Girl or The O.C. because it's also a noir-ish mystery marked by dark twists and turns. The fact that it's become a "crime show" eliminated the inclusion of spells, witchcraft, and magic in Aguiree-Sacasa's eyes.
"It felt like if Riverdale is crime and pulp and all that stuff, then Sabrina could be horror. It felt like there was a separation between Greendale and Riverdale — magic should exist in Greendale, but not in Riverdale. That was the thought," he explained.
Sabrina was originally intended to be a companion series to Riverdale, which would have made it part of The CW lineup, but it ultimately made the move to Netflix. Viewers probably shouldn't expect Sabrina to wander into Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe and bump into Veronica Lodge any time soon though.
"I think right now we’re just making sure that the shows have their own identities and own set of rules,” Aguirre-Sacasa said at August's Television Critics Asssociation panel, addressing the possibility of potential Riverdale cameos on Sabrina.
Will audiences be blessed with a crossover event someday?
Archie Digest podcast co-host Chris Hayner noted that according to conversations with CW president Mark Pedowitz, the network wants "to establish Sabrina as its own entity on Netflix before they even start thinking about it, which makes sense."
“Riverdale is freaky on its own,” Luke Perry, who plays Fred Andrews on Riverdale, remarked in an interview with Variety at Comic-Con. “We’ve managed to dial up the freak factor without having magic and all that stuff.”
It sounds like there's enough creative room for both shows to exist independently, even if Sabrina is just across the Sweetwater River.
Riverdale Season 3 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 10. Chilling of Adventures of Sabrina hits Netflix on Friday, Oct. 26.