Friday, February 23, 2018

Here’s our First Look at Salem the Cat in Netflix's 'Sabrina' Remake | Update: Miranda Otto Cast as Aunt Zelda; Richard Coyle Cast as Father Blackwood

Originally published: Saturday, February 10, 2018.

Feeling superstitious?

Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, the showrunner of Netflix's upcoming Sabrina series, has revealed our first look at everybody's favorite witch-turned cat, Salem, who’ll be starring in the show!

Ladies and gentlemen, meet #Greendale’s latest resident. All hail, Salem! #sabrina, #netflix

One of the best parts of the '90s Sabrina The Teenage Witch series was the personality that Nick Bakay (Angry Beavers) put into Salem Saberhagen, Sabrina’s wise-cracking cat "pet" cat, who wasn’t actually a cat but a witch who had been sentenced to live 100 years as a cat after trying to take over the mortal world.

Now, we get our first look at the Salem that’ll star in Netflix’s upcoming Riverdale spin-off, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, that’ll adapt the later Archie comics which sees Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a much more darker character that’ll have to save the mortal world from some supernatural horrors coming our way, so a little comic relief from Salem will probably be welcome.

Of course, right now this doesn’t really reveal that much other than Salem will continue to embody that of a black cat. No word yet on which lucky cat has landed this coveted role, or about who’ll be voicing Salem, if anyone at all. In the '90s Sabrina The Teenage Witch series, Salem was played by a series of real cats and animatronic cats.

Image credit: WBTV

What we do know for sure is that Kiernan Shipka is taking on the role of the teen witch along side Jaz Sinclair who’ll be playing the role of Rosalind Walker, Sabrina’s human best friend.

Update (2/16): Netflix’s upcoming Sabrina the Teenage Witch series has cast another key character from the comic books as one of the leads opposite Kiernan Shipka. Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman) has been tapped to play Hilda Spellman on the show from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. TV.

Davis will play Hilda Spellman, one of Sabrina’s two witch aunts. More nurturing than Zelda, Hilda’s motherly nature and warm sense of humor belie a wicked, ghoulish streak. She is as adept at brewing spite jars against her family’s enemies as she is at concocting love potions for the students at Baxter High.

In the 1996 ABC/WB series, Hilda was played by Caroline Rhea.

Update (2/23): Miranda Otto (The Lord of the Rings, Homeland) will portray Aunt Zelda!

In the '90s series, Zelda was a much more stern-but-loving guardian, Hilda on the other hand was a much more easy-going, fun, and mischievous, however reports suggest the two will be played very differently in the new series. According to TV Line: “Proud and devout, Zelda believes there is no greater honor than serving the Dark Lord as a member of the Church of Night. She is the family’s disciplinarian, fiercely protective of Sabrina and very much Cain to Hilda’s Abel.”

As for Hilda Deadline reports that: “More nurturing than Zelda, Hilda’s motherly nature and warm sense of humor belie a wicked, ghoulish streak. She is as adept at brewing spite jars against her family’s enemies as she is at concocting love potions for the students at Baxter High.”

Netflix has also revealed that Richard Coyle (The Collection) has taken the role of Father Blackwood. Father Blackwood is a character that appears in the Archie Comics version of Sabrina, and not in the Nickelodeon series. He’s the High Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts and will be the main antagonist in the upcoming Sabrina series.

The first of two seasons of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is expected to premiere on Netflix worldwide later in 2018.

Earlier this week, original Sabrina star Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All) offered her thoughts on the teen-oriented reboot to Entertainment Weekly. When asked about how she feels about the reboot, the original portrayer of Sabrina Spellman said she felt “indifferent, really.”

“People kept asking for it, and they were already doing Riverdale, so I guess it made sense,” Hart continues. “I think they’re doing it in a smart way — change it up, don’t make it the same. If you’re going to do the same show, it probably would fall on its face, but I think what they’re doing is probably the smartest way to reboot something.”

Cast of '90s Sabrina The Teenage Witch sitcom

The Untitled Sabrina Project — from Riverdale boss Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti — imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult, and, of course, witchcraft. Tonally in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, this adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.

Hart, who will next direct a February episode of ABC’s The Goldbergs, says she’s not opposed to appearing on, or even helming an episode of, the Netflix series, which recently scored a two-season pickup. “Never say never, but it would depend on the character they wrote,” Hart says. “I just don’t know where I would fit in. I would definitely take a look at the material if they sent it along.”

The Sabrina remake comes during a development season littered with various reboots, reimaginings, and revivals, including Nickelodeon's recent Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie, and upcoming Invader ZIM and Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling TV movies.

“Back in the day, it used to be that you took something that was successful and you did a twist on it,” Hart says of the current reboot trend. “Nowadays, everybody is just doing the same old stuff again. I think it’s a trend that will end, but then again, I said that with reality television, too, so who knows.”

Sit back and enjoy these classic Salem Saberhagen moments from Sabrina the Teenage Witch!:

Re-Re-ReWIND!: Visit and for even more Nickelodeon classics!

More Nick: Sabrina the Teenage Witch | Intros with Lyrics | NickSplat | Nickelodeon UK!

Sources: N3, Digital Spy (II), Fansided, n3rdabl3.
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