'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina's Kiernan Shipka Shares What She Really Thinks of Series Finale (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Warning: spoilers ahead! Do not proceed if you haven't watched the series finale of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina has officially debuted its series finale -- and Kiernan Shipka isn't exactly praising Satan. The 21-year-old actress and her cast and crew were surprised by the news earlier this year that Netflix had opted not to renew CAOS for another season, leaving Part 4 as Sabrina's final adventure.
Luckily for fans, the writers planned ahead with multiple endings in case Part 4 would serve as their finale. It offered "closure" to viewers -- and hit Shipka "emotionally," she told ET's Leanne Aguilera.
"I was very surprised. I think I sort of had the same mentality as everyone else, which was Sabrina can’t die. She is Sabrina. She can’t die. And then I was like, 'Oh, there’s no more pages. I think that’s it,'" Shipka said of her reaction to reading the script. "But it’s a dramatic ending."
"At the end of the day, I think that what it represents is she is truly a selfless soul, and she sacrifices herself for the greater good which is very hefty. And I think it hit me emotionally quite a bit. It’s not an easy ending to just digest. There is a lot of meaning and impact behind it and how we wish to read into that. But above all else, I was completely surprised," she added.
Part 4 of CAOS saw the Sabrinas (both Morningstar and Spellman) work together to try to stop the Eldritch Terrors from descending upon Greendale. Unfortunately, Sabrina's attempt to catch The Void in Pandora's Box was unsuccessful, and after it occupied her body and trapped her loved ones, the only way to get them back was for Sabrina to sacrifice herself.
Sabrina's aunts and friends mourned her death, but Nick -- who rekindled his romance with Sabrina in Part 4 -- went a step further, and decided he couldn't live without her. Met with a "wicked undertow" in the Sea of Sorrows, Nick joined Sabrina in the afterlife.
Shipka shot the finale earlier this year, and having months to process has allowed her to interpret it in different ways.
"The character does not belong to me solely. It belongs to the fans and it belongs to the viewers, and if people wanna watch the finale and think that she ends up in the sweet hereafter with Nick, then amazing," she shared. "I will say I think she’s pretty savvy and could find her way back to Greendale if she chose to. And I think just because I love her so much, that’s what I want to think happens."
"I hope that other people feel like it’s not the end of Sabrina, but just the next phase of whatever kind of crazy life or afterlife she may lead. Anything is possible in the world of Sabrina," Shipka continued. "So, that’s sort of where I sit with it. I hope that she gets back."
And given that anything is possible, the actress hasn't closed the book on potentially reprising her role on Riverdale or in a movie. She just hasn't gotten the offer yet.
"Look, I think we can still go to Riverdale. I think I’m holding out hope that she just pops up and is like, 'Oh man! I landed in the wrong county!' But ends up getting trapped there for a little bit," Shipka said. "I think that would be funny."
"And I would absolutely love [a movie]. I think I’ve certainly seen and heard the fan cries and I’m with everyone. I love this character and I love those people so much that whatever we can do to wrap it up for the fans and keep it going and keep Sabrina alive... would be great," she expressed.
However, as far as final seasons go, Shipka's pretty happy with Sabrina's. She was "obsessed" with how things came full circle in Part 4, with scenes of Sabrina and Nick parallel to the Part 1 scenes of her and Harvey.
"It felt very earned and it felt very grounding," Shipka reflected. "That moment, I was like, oh my goodness, the past two years have flashed by my eyes and now I’m here doing this with Gavin [Leatherwood]. The same shot that I was doing month one as a little baby 18-year-old not knowing what she was getting herself into and that, to me, it was really special. It was very special."
And just as the fans started to root for Nabrina, Shipka did as well.
"I think it’s powerful," she said of their pairing. "I think that because we started off with Sabrina and Harvey... we were really paying homage to the original sitcom by having Harvey as a character in a lot of ways. I mean, that was such an iconic part for Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But in CAOS fashion, to redefine all that, I think it really did make sense for Sabrina to end up with someone else. And Nick is obviously a great, very witchy, very sexy candidate for that. And I think they were wonderful together. I really do."
Shipka also counts Sabrina's musical performances as a highlight.
"I think 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' was my favorite to sing. Vocal performance-wise, it was so driven and I love that. And it was the last scene of the day, and everyone was sort of just getting choked up by the end of it. So I think that was probably my favorite," she said. "But 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was so fun, and it was just fun to kind of rock out and do something different."
And though she's allergic to cats, not a fan of the "physical exhaustion" that comes with long hours on set and has a complicated relationship with Sabrina's hair and iconic headbands, overall, the series has taught Shipka a lot about herself.
"I love playing people that are messed up and flawed and don’t have great intentions, but to be going from 18 to 20 and playing someone who really did approach life with so much of a zest and such a passion for the people that she loved, that to me was so inspiring in my own life," she said. "So, I’d say the rose was just the two very formative years of my life are heavily influenced by a character that I really adored."
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4 is now streaming on Netflix. See more from ET's interview with Shipka in the video above.