Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is coming to an end at Netflix, after two seasons divided into four “parts.” The sets have been taken down, the house exterior demolished. But star Kiernan Shipka didn’t get a chance to grab mementos from Sabrina’s bedroom — because, at the time, the actors didn’t know there wasn’t going to be another season.
“You know what it’s funny, because they didn’t know if it was ending or not, so I didn’t feel like a lot of liberty to take a bunch of stuff,” Shipka said. “Sabrina’s got so many cool things…I could literally steal her entire room, but I didn’t.”
In a series of roundtable interviews that Gizmodo was invited to, some of the stars of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina lamented on the final episodes of their horror series. Based on the Archie Comics graphic novels from showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the series tells the story of teenage witch Sabrina Spellman (Shipka), who comes into some great and terrible powers thanks to the fact that she’s related to Lucifer himself. Part 4, the final portion of the show, swaps out the pits of Hell for a new threat: The Eldritch Terrors, a plotline that’s been teased since the second half of season one.
It might feel like an endgame, given how apocalyptic Lovecraftian horrors can be, but the actors we spoke with said it wasn’t clear this was the final season while they were filming. That said, Shipka and co-star Gavin Leatherwood, who plays Nicolas Scratch, said that overall they’re satisfied with how things are closing out. Even if it’s not the ending they originally thought they might get.
“I mean, there were moments where I kind of found myself thinking, like, ‘Is this the ending that I want? Because this is the ending that we’re getting.’ And yeah, I did. I did truly — I loved it, it was a ‘Yaass Qween,’ yelling moment, and I was excited about it, fully,” Shipka said.
“Part 4 is lovely, I think. The way that it does end, like Kiernan said already, it could’ve continued on but we did approach it in such a way where it was like we knew where it was going — like it was going to be the end,” Leatherwood said. “There was a lot of that in mind as we did it, and we wanted to bring that sort of — all of us wanted to bring that sense of closure.”
“We wanted it to be really invigorating and satisfying and, like, delicious,” Shipka added.
It’s admittedly a strange chapter to be closing things out on because it’s quite different than the previous installments. Part 4 is the closest thing Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has ever come to “Monster of the Week” territory, with just about each episode introducing a new Eldritch Terror that Sabrina and her friends have to battle. They’re not traditional Lovecraftian creatures, like the ones featured in HBO’s Lovecraft Country, but are rather concepts that fit within the mythos. They include terrors like The Darkness, The Uninvited, and the ultimate threat, The Void.
Lachlan Watson, who plays Theo, said it was exciting to experiment in that new space with the Eldritch Terrors — not only were they super scary, but it gave the actors a chance to delve into some apocalyptic stuff that was bigger and badder than what the teens have normally dealt with.
“I think it was particularly fun having it be sort of this cosmic existential horror realm to deal with. Because our monsters have always been kind of overarching, like more of a moral ambiguity problem, than like a physical, eats-your-soul-out type deal,” they said. “It was a really fun thing to play with these kids really getting to just suit up and figure things out, and then deal with the psychological elements of existential dread.”
Watson did lament the lack of another season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, as did Jaz Sinclair, who plays Roz, but more for themselves than for their characters. While Watson and Sinclair agreed the characters are long overdue for a break after all the shit they’ve been through — Watson suggested they “go to California and maybe smoke some weed or something” — they did wish they’d gotten to spend more time with their characters before seeing their stories close out for good. But overall, Sinclair was happy with everything she got to do and all the directions Roz and the other characters took over the course of four truncated seasons.
“I just think we did so much. We’ve done so much and so many different flavours. Every character has been up and down and there’s moments where…you kind hate them and then there are moments where they’re your favourite all of a sudden, you know? I just think that we really, really, really soaked it up, took advantage of it, took risks, and did so much,” Sinclair said. “While I would love to continue playing in this world because it’s so fun, I definitely feel satisfied with where it’s wrapping up and how it’s wrapping up, and all of the juicy episodes that we’re giving.”
One of the “juiciest” episodes is without a doubt the one that features a special cameo from Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea, who played Aunts Zelda and Hilda on ABC’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch (you can watch a brief teaser here). During the roundtable, I asked Shipka what it was like getting to play alongside the O.G. aunties (personal note: I mentioned that I “cackled” when I first saw them, which was 100% true). Shipka was understandably mum on what role the two of them play in this final season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, (although Aguirre-Sacasa has teased a “diabolical sitcom” brought about by The Endless) but said she feels it brought their own series full circle. Considering it’s their last, it feels especially fitting.
“I‘ve had someone tell me that they yelped and now we got a ‘cackled,’ so I’m happy that it’s bringing about those positive emotions,” she said. “I think we always wanted to do something with the original cast, to any capacity that we could. And I think with the knowledge that this might have been the last go-about, we wanted to cover all of our bases. And this felt really full circle. I mean, we owe so much to the original show that it only felt right to have the O.G.s, and it was so fun.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina closes out its final chapter on December 31.