This Riverdale Role Almost Went To A Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Star

“Riverdale” is officially a bona fide phenomenon, the pulpy teen show gaining more fans with each season despite going completely off the rails (which is a huge part of why we love it, of course, as the New York Times notes). Grounding all the madness are the central performances from a bunch of hot young things most of whom, with the exception of former child star Cole Sprouse, were virtual unknowns prior to landing the CW show. In the case of Camila Mendes, who plays Veronica, “Riverdale” was her first real job (as per IMDb). 

Still, as Archie Comics fan will know, there’s no Veronica without her BFF and sometime love rival, Betty. The resident Nancy Drew of “Riverdale” and one half of Bughead, Betty has arguably enjoyed the most growth out of any character on the show thus far. Meanwhile, actress Lili Reinhart has emerged as a staunch and vocal advocate for mental health (via Self), making her a fan favorite on and off the screen. Although each member of the “Riverdale” gang brings their own unique energy, another actress was in the running for Betty. 

Kiernan Shipka almost swapped Greendale for Riverdale

Fans of “Riverdale” might have also dabbled in the dark arts with its spiritual cousin, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Following the same Archie Comics character as “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” the series sees teenage sorceress Sabrina and her kooky aunts casting spells all over Greendale, a spooky township just down the road from Riverdale. Star Kiernan Shipka was already a known name prior to scoring the lead role, having appeared in “Mad Men” since she was tiny. However, it’s worth noting Shipka might’ve taken up residence in Riverdale if things had gone slightly differently for her. 

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, creator of both shows, told Entertainment Weekly he originally envisioned Shipka playing Betty Cooper — particularly after her “iconic” showing in “Mad Men,” opposite heavy-hitters including Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss. However, when the time came to write “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” Aguirre-Sacasa quickly realized, “I’m writing this for Kiernan!” The showrunner explained Shipka was the perfect fit for Sabrina, because, “She felt like the right actor at the right age at the right point in her career and someone who was up for the challenge, because it’s grueling.” 

Although Betty could also go toe-to-toe with the Dark Lord since she’s stared down many terrifying serial killers in her time, Aguirre-Sacasa admitted Shipka was definitely his first choice to play Sabrina. Luckily, Lili Reinhart proved to be the ideal choice for “Riverdale” instead and the rest is CW history. 

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