Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina season 1.
While the first part of Netflix‘s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina‘s story was about teen witch protagonist Sabrina Spellman struggling to find a balance between the mortal and magical worlds, Part Two is poised to delve much further into the lesser-explored world of the show’s witches—a consequence of Sabrina’s choice to sign the Book of the Beast at the end of Part One.
“I think she’s embracing [her dark side], personally,” told Shipka Den of Geek and other reporters during a Sabrina set visit last fall. “I think that her duality is strong. I think there’s a strong part of her that’s mortal, but I do think there’s that dark side in her and playing with that has been super fun.”
While Sabrina has already demonstrated a pattern of inadvertently hurting others in the single-minded pursuit of a goal (which is, frankly, very traditionally teenage of her), Shipka believes that Sabrina has a good heart. For the actress, Sabrina’s habit of making messy mistakes is what makes the character—who lives in a world pretty divorced from reality—so relatable to viewers.
“It’s interesting because you want to play that person like a real human that’s making decisions,” said Shipka. “Clearly, Sabrina’s made some mistakes, but at the end of the day, my main goal is to make her a person. It’s not to make people like her. It’s not to make people dislike her. It’s truly just to make her Sabrina and the rest can be up to everyone else and however they want to interpret that, they totally can. My focus is just making her understandable because she’s a complex character.”
While some viewers may have seen Sabrina’s decision to sign the Book of the Beast at the end of Part One as a surrendering of her power, Shipka says the move was a strategic one for Sabrina.
“It definitely wasn’t surrendering, by any means,” said Shipka. “If anything, I think it was taking a step forward in her agenda. It was just what needed to be done. Sabrina definitely doesn’t agree with the antics of the Church of Night and fights strongly to change that. I think that’s pretty much always on her mind, to a certain extent.”
Sabrina’s signing was orchestrated by Ms. Wardwell, a character who represents Sabrina’s greatest threat heading into Part Two. While the scene-stealing Madame Satan may act as a mentor of sorts at points in the story, Ms. Wardwell obviously has her own agenda—one that Sabrina, thus far, has absolutely no clue about.
“Clearly, that’s one of the few relationships in the show that Sabrina is a bit oblivious to,” said Shipka. “I think that that’s really interesting and we’re going to see that play out as the season goes on. As both of their agendas become increasingly different, it results in some shenanigans of sorts.”
In general, Shipa said Sabrina’s support system in Part Two is “largely coming from the witch side,” but that doesn’t mean we won’t see repercussions to Sabrina’s mortal friends finding out about her witch identity in Part One.
“Clearly, [the two worlds are] still really far apart, but they just feel an inch closer, which, I think, just sort of adds a bit of tension and a bit of excitement to the whole thing,” teased Shipka. “Obviously, now that Sabrina’s friends know that she’s a witch and they’re not about to be killed, they can talk about it more. It’s more of a chill environment, in that regard.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has already been renewed for a third and fourth season by Netflix, so the story is not coming to a conclusion anytime soon. When that conclusion does come, however, Shipka says she has her own idea about which path—witch, mortal, or some balance of both—Sabrina will choose.
“I have an idea of what I think that answer is,” said Shipka. “I think we’re gonna to see it unravel. At the end of the day, I don’t think there is a true balance and I don’t think there is a place for her just in the witch world and just in the mortal world. I think her life is going to be ever-changing. Maybe, at the end of the day, she’ll find a spot that feels like it’s right. But, there’s a long way to go before that. There is a very long haul to go before Sabrina finds any stability, I think, to a certain extent.”
Young people tend to get a lot of criticism for coming of age, even though every previous generation has had to do it. While Sabrina’s teenaged self may be making messy decisions that are characteristic of every generation’s growing up, she also represents qualities that set Generation Z‘s collective coming-of-age admirably apart: a commitment to exploring and embracing diverse, intersectional identities; a talent for political advocacy, organizing, and resistance; and an understandably frustrated response to the world the older generations has crafted.
“[Sabrina] never pretends to be someone that she’s not,” said Shipka. “That’s what I kind of love about her. At the end of the day, she’s not conforming. She’s just finding herself and sometimes she goes far in one direction or the other. But, at the end of the day, she’s not trying to please anyone. She’s trying to help people, but she’s trying to do things because she wants to make the world a better place. Her world a better place. And she just wants to live her truth.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part Two drops on April 5, 2019 on Netflix.