Chilling Adventures of Sabrina made enormous changes to the story from the original 1990s version of the show, including the source material it pulls from. But no change was more upsetting to fans than the reduction in Salem's role in Sabrina's life. Fans of the 1990s series remembered the snarky kitty fondly and were very disappointed the new Salem only spoke in mews and purrs. But the finale of Season 1 gave fans renewed hope for Salem speaking soon. Will Salem talk in Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Season 2? Warning: Spoilers for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina finale follow.
At the very end of the first season of Sabrina, Madame Satan, aka Miss Wardwell, is revealed to have been telling the story of her conquest of Sabrina to the poor principal of Baxter High, who got way more than he bargained for when he came over for dinner. But then a new voice warns Miss Wardwell to check herself before she wrecks herself. It's her familiar, Stolas, who it turned out has been able to talk this whole time.
If Miss Wardwell's familiar can speak, doesn't this mean all familiars can talk? How long must Salem be stuck making cat noises, when he can converse intelligently?
According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the reason Salem doesn't talk in the new series is due to how much chatting he did in the 1990s series. The production was worried it would introduce a comic tone to the proceedings they didn't want. This explains why Salem's backstory of being an imprisoned warlock under the Spellman's watchful gaze for trying to take over the world was giving to Ambrose, who also gets to dispense the life advice to Sabrina Salem was known for in the 1990s era show.
But now the tone has been established, Aguirre-Sacasa admits he might ease up a little.
When we did the show, [he doesn’t speak] partly to project the horror tone. That isn’t to say that Salem won’t talk in the future.
But there are other reasons for Salem's disquieting quiet. The most significant one is cat allergies. Star Kiernan Shipka gets hives from being around her furry costars for too long, which is why there is only the single shot of her picking up Salem in the beginning. Otherwise, they're always in different frames.
Shipka also noted to Entertainment Tonight all three cats who play Salem are total divas.
I mean all three of [the cats who play Salem] are stars: Shaq and Boomer and Edward. They are always on. They're scene-stealers! You’re going to get upstaged by them.
The difficulty of working with fuzzy animals cuter than their human counterparts is only the beginning of the issue. There is also the need for very sharp CGI work to dub Salem's mouth moving to deliver human lines. Chances are even if Salem does speak in Season 2, it will be kept to a minimum, allowing the cat stars to mew as they do best.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 2 will arrive on Netflix sometime in 2019.