Fans are confused over Kiernan Shipka reprising her role as Sabrina on ‘Riverdale’

Um spoiler, but didn’t Sabrina die?
October 8, 2021 2:18 p.m. EST
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Crossovers on TV shows and films are nothing new, whether it’s exploring multi-dimensions in the Marvel Universe or going from the fire house to the hospital on Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy. A Riverdale crossover on the CW and Netflix, both of which have several shows that would make for great partnerships, doesn’t seem that out of the ordinary, until fans saw how literally the term ‘crossing over’ was being used. Sabrina Spellman on Riverdale? Isn’t she, you know, dead?

To backtrack slightly, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which starred Kiernan Shipka in the title role, debuted on Netflix in October 2018. Like Riverdale, the series was created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and was originally billed as a companion series for Archie and the gang, but eventually moved directly to Netflix. Also filmed in Vancouver, CAOS ran for two seasons or four parts before being cancelled due to COVID. In the series finale, Shipka’s Sabrina sacrificed her own life to save her loved ones and was eventually reunited with her love interest Nick in The Sweet Hereafter a.k.a. heaven a.k.a. the ultimate crossover. But now…she’s back? She’s back.

Following the Season 5 finale of Riverdale on Tuesday night, Aguirre-Sacasa released a statement to EW confirming that Sabrina would appear in Season 6. "We've been talking about having Sabrina visit Riverdale since season 1, so it's thrilling that this is finally happening, as part of our 'Rivervale' special event," Aguirre-Sacasa told the site. "It's also perfect that she shows up to help Cheryl Blossom during her hour of greatest need. Everyone on set lost their minds — I think fans will, too. It's really fun and special."

Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed to Deadline that he had been working on a crossover that would bring Sabrina’s Greendale and Riverdale together in a witch war. Once Netflix confirmed the series would not be returning, Aguirre-Sacasa said he re-wrote the series finale to show Sabrina’s death and ensure that fans were clear the witch had died, but that he had plans to bring Shipka back in some way. Borrowing from another universe that loves a good crossover, this is the way.

Shipka also teased the crossover on social media, sharing a picture of herself back in character as Sabrina in a chair with the word ‘Riverdale’ printed on it. 

References to the Blossom family were made in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which appeared to have its events take place around the same timeframe as Riverdale (thanks, smartphones), but maybe they’re off by a few months? Or, Sabrina is back from the dead. Either way, fans are confused, excited, and a little cautious of how this crossover is going to go down. 

Several fans have their own theories about what the crossover means, which includes more crossovers and possible clues to connections between Sabrina and Riverdale characters.

Season 6 of Riverdale is set to premiere on Tuesday, November 16, so fans won’t have to wait long to see just how Sabrina Spellman fits in with her new neighbours. 

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