Throughout the season finale of Riverdale, there were several little dialogue teases and even a comic book Easter egg suggesting that the show might be preparing to introduce Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
One of the most popular and marketable characters in the Archie pantheon, and one who has already had a live-action TV show in the past, Sabrina didn't make the cut -- and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said that while they considered it, part of the reason was that the writers believed the introduction of Sabrina, and the supernatural in general, might detract form other things going on in the finale.
“There’s no secret that I love that character, and that that character is a huge part of the Archie universe,” Aguirre-Sacasa, who writes the comic book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, told ComicBook.com. “The truth is, we did talk a lot about introducing Sabrina, but she’s such an important character and it’s such a big idea to introduce the supernatural into a natural world that honestly when we got to the finale — it was before that, it was maybe a couple of months before that — we kind of realized that there was so much stuff to play that if we introduced Sabrina, it would kind of overshadow everything that we had planned. The show kind of has hints of the supernatural throughout it; there are visions of Jason as a ghost, as a zombie. Archie sees werewolves. There’s a lot of talk about angry, pagan gods and there’s a voodoo doll. We are going to continue exploring the idea of the supernatural being on the fringes of Riverdale, and that might be to lead up to Sabrina’s arrival or that might just be to make it more like Twin Peaks and the way they dealt with the supernatural.”
In Twin Peaks, the supernatural was very much a part of the story, but it was generally done in a vague and eccentric way rather than the overt way a character like Sabrina typically operates. In addition to the supernatural, the recent novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks dove deep into UFO lore, implying that might become a part of the forthcoming third season of Twin Peaks on Showtime.
Producers have repeatedly teased the idea that Sabrina could appear on Riverdale, and had strongly hinted that she could appear in the pilot, but always stopped short of making promises. Whether or not this comic book is the only time she will appear on camera in the episode remains to be seen. At least one major Archie character has been promised to make a debut in the finale, but that seems likely to be Hiram Lodge, a character whose actor was recently announced and who, we discovered last night, will be home from his own jail sentence soon.
Sabrina is a major player in the Archie Comics pantheon, even if she isn't necessarily part of the same circles the other Riverdale characters tend to travel in. She has appeared in various TV series over the last 20 years, starting with a long-running live-action adaptation starring Melissa Joan Hart and followed up by a few short-lived animated shows.
Given the fact that the live-action show just turned 20, it wouldn't be totally unreasonable to guess that The CW might seek out Melissa Joan Hart to play one of Sabrina's aunts, if indeed she were to make an appearance. She had recently suggested that a reboot of the property was possible.
The character kickstarted the events of the horror spinoff Afterlife With Archie, which showrunners have teased as potential Halloween episodes, "Treehouse of Horror"-style. The comic centers on a version of Riverdale that is overrun by zombies after Sabrina tries to resurrect Hot Dog, Jughead's dog, when it's killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Hot Dog made his first onscreen appearance in tonight's Riverdale finale.
As of July, Aguirre-Sacasa told ComicBook.com that the "Afterlife" episodes were still on the table.
Riverdale is influenced by the "New Riverdale" relaunch of Archie's long-running teen comedy comics, in which Sabrina recently appeared in Jughead story. The two had a date which devolved into a prank war when it didn't go well.
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