Sabrina’s (Kiernan Shipka) adventures are going from chilling to hellish.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s second season concluded with Lucifer (Luke Cook) journeying to the town of Greendale to take the teenage witch as his bride and bring about the Apocalypse. To thwart those plans, Sabrina’s boyfriend, Nick (Gavin Leatherwood), sacrificed himself to contain the Dark Lord inside of him. That little gambit left Nick stuck in Hell. Now, in order to rescue her sweetheart, Sabrina and her posse of friends – Harvey (Ross Lynch), Theo (Lachlan Watson) and Roz (Jaz Sinclair) – must venture to the fiery realm.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Season 3 premiere finds the titular character forced to make a game-changing decision, one that will forever affect Sabrina’s friends, family and her very destiny. Sabrina attempts the unthinkable by proclaiming herself the Queen of Hell. But others such as Prince of Hell Caliban (Sam Corlett) plot to seize the throne himself.
In January, Collider and a small group of press visited the Vancouver set of the Netflix original series. The cast sat down to discuss their characters’ trajectories, new blood and looming threats. We spoke with Shipka, Leatherwood, Watson, Corlett, as well as Chance Perdomo (Ambrose), Michelle Gomez (Lilith), Tati Gabrielle (Prudence), Mirando Otto (Zelda), Jonathan Whitesell (Robin) and Skye P. Marshall (Mambo Marie). Here are 16 things we learned about the season and series…
Say it isn’t so. To save Nick, Sabrina declares herself Queen of Hell. Easier said than done. As expected, Sabrina soon discovers she’s in way over her head. “I think she probably is, and that’s why I love her so much,” says Shipka. “It’s easy to forget she’s 16. She is a 16-year-old girl. She’s got grand dreams and big visions and thoughts and ideas. When she says, ‘I’m going to go to Hell to get my boyfriend back,’ she’s 100 percent serious. She’s going to do it. “I think that sort of determination, that sort of fire, is something nobody has taken away from her yet,” she adds. “She’s not really around a lot of people that tell her, ‘No,’ for better or for worse. She’s just not. It’s sort of engrained in her mentality that she can do whatever she wants, which is a very young thing to think. It’s charming and fun.”
- Sabrina and her friends are transported to Hell to seek out Nick. But the Netherworld meant for mere mortals, let alone supernatural folk. As a result, each of the gang experiences their own mental torment, beginning with Theo. “There were a lot of beats that I don’t think I was expecting to run into,” Watson offers. “It’s a funny little psychological thriller of an episode. There are so many hard-hitting beats. There are so many moral and questions about humanity as a whole that I think not a lot of shows are willing to dive into. For the first episode back, it was a hell of a challenge to be faced with these new problems and think of them in a realistic way.”
Could Sabrina’s increase in power and responsibility affect her dynamic with her inner circle? After all, she’s on the path to becoming the embodiment of Evil and even further out of their league. Nah. This is a close-knit group. Friends until the end. “Both of these seasons surround that idea of how far Sabrina can go and how far are we willing to egg her on,” counters Watson. “Part III definitely starts on that note of, ‘Oh, wait. You’re serious?’ and pushing the limits of what’s possible. But I think friendship rules in this show. We’ve been able to band back together and support each other through everything.”
- Regardless of the outcome of Sabrina’s task to free Nick, there will be consequences. The young warlock is mentally in a dark place…and that impacts their relationship. “There’s definitely a struggle there, especially with that big sacrifice and life-altering experience,” Leatherwood explains. “Nick is going to have his mind on a lot of other things and might look for certain vices or coping mechanisms. That’s going to create a hard patch between him and Sabrina.” As you might suspect, having the Devil inside of you and being dragged to hell is definitely going to take a toll on him. He gets quite lost in the darkness. That’s what we see him battle a bit this season.
- Despite Sabrina and Nick being an item, other romantic entanglements remain, and other sparks ignite. Her ex-beau, Harvey, is still in the picture. And there’s no denying the chemistry between Sabrina and the brooding Caliban. In the end, all three might only serve as a distraction. “I think the theme of this season is much less about the romance than a lot of people might think or expect,” Shipka offers. “It’s really about Sabrina finding herself.”
Evil does not immediately embrace Sabrina as the heir to the throne, especially when there’s a runner-up challenging her reign, namely the seductive Caliban. But he isn’t all fire and brimstone. In fact, when Caliban’s first introduced, the so-called Prince of Hell comes across as more smoldering, charming and mysterious. “On paper, the character was very enigmatic,” Corlett offers regarding finding his character’s voice. “You could go any way with it. I was going through a bit of a Doors phase, so I was welcoming Jim Morrison’s energy. A bit of Michael Hutchence from INXS. Then, I was reading a lot about Hell. There was a particular line from Dante’s Inferno that really inspired me. At the start, I didn’t feel like the writers even know where it was going to go. You ask questions, but you haven’t got many answers.”
- Sabrina often asks Caliban what he wants. The answer seems quite simple: To rule the infernal regions. “That’s why he was created,” Corlett says. “The line from Dante’s Inferno was ‘Justice inspired my exalted makeup of supreme wisdom, divine power and primal lust.’ So, it’s that lust for power. Also, the realms are breaking down because of Lucifer’s absence. He wants to restore and rule Hell.”
- Meanwhile, Prudence finds herself at a crossroad. She’s always been consumed with gaining power. However, after Father Faustus Blackwoord [Richard Cole] betrayed her, Prudence’s focus has shifted. “Going into Part III, Prudence is on a road to redemption, as well as a road to revenge,” Gabrielle offers. “Blackwood has put her through a lot in her life. She’s finally woken up to the ways in which she’s been manipulated and brainwashed. She wants to come back on a new foot. She wants to lead the coven down a brighter path and get things back to a safe space. “As far as family, for a while this season, she gets to be a Spellman by being with Ambrose, which makes her feel a lot safer,” she adds. “In the back of her mind, she knows she’s a lone wolf. She does have to fend for herself when the time comes.”
- Desperate times call for desperate measures. The coven and the Academy of the Unseen Arts remain in shambles. Prudence consequently turns to a different type of mojo, namely voodoo, instead of relying on witchcraft. “For Prudence, we saw what the old ways of our coven have done to us, the Satanic ways,” Gabrielle states. “We’ve met Lucifer. We see he’s not a great guy. Prudence, on her road to redemption and trying to reform the coven, I think she’s like, ‘OK. This is a new magic. This is something we can expand ourselves on that can bring a new light to us and broaden our world.’ As far as they can get from the things that Blackwood did, the old ways, that’s her goal. ‘OK. Let’s try something new. We have to try. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But let’s try.’”
Most people stereotype voodoo as sticking pins in dolls or raising the dead. But Mambo Marie is far more than a cliché. “From the beginning, I have a prophecy,” Marshall notes. “I know something very bad and very evil is coming. I’m on a mission to get my job done. Nothing gets in the way of that. When the fans see what that is, their brains are going to explore.”
- Prudence doesn’t seek out Mambo Marie on her own. Along for the ride is Ambrose. The pair appear to be an unlikely team, but, as Perdomo says, “They are allowed to be emotional together.” “Their walls are able to break more,” Perdomo offers. “Before they were very much bantering or parlaying with each other rather than connecting. But their pain and the hunt for Father Blackwood provides a unity. Nobody really understands their pain, but their pain is very similar. They share solidarity in that. You get to see them show layers and break down in a way they previously hadn’t been allowed to, both narratively and as far as themselves as a character.”
- The carnival also comes to town this season, but it’s not your ordinary fair. Pagan witches run this show. That spells danger for Sabrina and the locals. Only the pagan Robin rebels against his comrade’s old-school teachings and frightening agenda. “He’s the new kid at school, Baxter High, and is looking for community,” Whitesell says. “He’s looking for a place to settle down. He’s constantly moving, wanting to seek his roots into the community.”
- Sabrina and the witches have every right not to trust Robin. The Pagans are up to no good. However, Robin strikes up a friendship with Theo that evolves into something more. “There’s an immediate click,” Watson confirms. “I think I literally run into him. That’s the first scene.”
- In the absence of Father Blackwood, Zelda steps up. She takes over the Church of Night. That position comes with its own set of complications. “It’s left in tatters after what happens at the end of Part II,” Otto states. “Zelda has to try and find a way to bring it back together and decide who they are going to worship if they don’t worship the Dark Lord. They are trying to define what direction the church should go in and what is best for everyone.”
Throughout the season, Sabrina’s favorite frenemy, Lilith, stands by her side. Lucifer formerly chose Sabrina over her to rule next to him. Now, Lilith reluctantly serves Sabrina. It’s understandably a hard pill to swallow. “She rises to the challenge with grace and dignity,” Gomez says with a laugh. “We really see Lilith at her most broken. What’s heartbreaking about it is she is still finding a stoicism and strength. But she’s definitely depleted.”
- To create her own version of Sabrina, Shipka never binged the original series. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been in contact with that incarnation’s leading lady, Melissa Joan Hart. “We’ve tweeted back and forth,” Shipka notes. “We’ve tweeted back and forth in the Twitterverse before, but I’ve never met her. I’d love to.” Should Hart make a cameo, then? “Absolutely,” concludes Shipka. “That would be fantastic.”
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is now streaming on Netflix.