‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Part 2: Richard Coyle, Miranda Otto on Blackwood and Zelda’s Ambitions

     April 5, 2019

chilling-adventures-of-sabrina-richard-coyleOne of the breakout hits of 2018 was the Netflix offering Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a decidedly darker take on the life of the burgeoning witch Sabrina Spellman than the late ‘90s sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or the original Archie comics on which she was based. Audiences thrilled to Netflix’s scary, twisted tales of the reimagined world of Sabrina.

When we last saw Miss Spellman (played by Kiernan Shipka), she had seemingly embraced the dark side, signing The Book of the Beast, thereby pledging her allegiance to The Dark Lord, ol’ Scratch (but not Nicholas Scratch) himself.

Collider was recently in Vancouver and interviewed cast members, who gave us some juicy tidbits about Season 2. (And if you need a refresher, you can watch the official Netflix trailer for Season 2 here.) First up is Richard Coyle, who plays the head of The Church of Night, the evil Father Blackwood, gave us a sense of the High Priest’s ambitions this year:


Image via Netflix

QUESTION: We know that Father Blackwood is going to get married to Zelda in Season 2. So, is this coming from a real place for him or is this just about the power?

RICHARD COYLE: What do you think?

My idea is power.

COYLE: Yeah, it’s power. He’s an arch manipulator and a self-server. I mean, the great thing about Season 2 is we see more about the Academy and the Church of Night, so we get to see a little bit more of the workings behind the scenes and you quickly realize that he doesn’t really do a lot that isn’t serving himself in some way. Everything is calculated. He has an agenda and everything is because of the plan.

Does he ever have moments where his true heart or feelings come out?

COYLE: I think he does. There are some moments where you sort of get a glimpse of something that it’s maybe really from his heart, but it was quite interesting to play with them. It’s like even those things, it’s good to put a question mark even on the moments that looked like they are genuine, like emotional, heartfelt moments. And then I can, what’s nice about it is that I can hopefully plant the seed where you go actually even THAT is calculated, it’s serving something in that sociopathic sort of character. Yeah.

Do you think he knows that Zelda is also doing this for power and its sort of like a cat and mouse game between the two?

COYLE: Yeah, I think he enjoys that. She’s kind of his equal in some respect in that regard. She also has that self-serving side that comes out.

How do you think things have changed for Blackwood now that Sabrina has signed the book?


Image via Netflix

COYLE: I think now he has to deal with Sabrina in his day to day life. Whereas before it was that she was kind of at a distance. Now, he’s sort of responsible for her pastoral care as the headmaster of the Academy. So yeah, she’s closer in his orbit than before.

He’s one of the only people who sort of knows the true nature of Madam Satan. How is their relationship going to play out?

COYLE: Well, I think they don’t see eye to eye in the way that they carry the Dark Lord’s message. They have very different personal agendas, which keeps them apart and keeps them at loggerheads. So, it’s like they are on the same team in a way, but they’re not working together. They’re working at odds.

And since we know that Sabrina is going to keep sort of pushing back against the status quo is Blackwood under orders from the Dark Lord to kind of accept the fact that she’s going to push back?

COYLE: Yeah. He has his own agenda with this sort of revenge story, which you will find out more about. And there’s also the Dark Lord’s agenda. And another interesting thing for me is that they’re not necessarily the same thing, which sets Blackwood up to be at odds with the Dark Lord in some respects. And you realize actually that the whole construct of the Churches of Darkness and the whole of the Dark World is there to be exploited. I think it’s quite great that you’re going to get to see more of that in Season 2. The push for power.

Obviously Sabrina wants to kind of set everything on fire from within. Do you think Blackwood sees her as a genuine threat?

COYLE: Yeah, definitely. You can see there’s something about her. He can recognize it. There’s something about her that’s not ordinary. And the Dark Lord has a major interest in her in a way that he would not have an interest in a regular standard teenage witch


Image via Netflix

Will we see more of the leadership structure of the Church of Night?

COYLE: Yeah. You get to see the wider world, that it’s not just the Church Night. The Church of Night is a coven and there are a whole bunch of Churches of Darkness, so there’s a power hierarchy.

So, do we get to see his boss?

COYLE: Yeah. You get to see a lot more and get to understand what Blackwood’s game is, or at least parts of it.

Do the people above him within the organization have concerns that he’s been dealing so directly both with the Dark Lord personally and with this girl who seems to be a serious threat?

COYLE: Yeah, they are definitely sending ripples throughout the Dark World and I think you also get to learn about the power of the man. You don’t really get to understand in Season 1 just how powerful of an individual he is. He’s been around a very long time. He’s four hundred years old now. You don’t really get a sense how powerful a warlock he is, but I think you get more of that from Season 2. You start to get the sense that, wow, this is a serious force to be reckoned with.

Afterwards, Miranda Otto who portrays Zelda (one of Sabrina’s two aunts who raised her), spoke with us about her upcoming controversial wedding with Father Blackwood:

QUESTION: Looking at Season 1 the main arc is Sabrina signing her name in the book and accepting her witch side. What is the main arc of Season 2?

MIRANDA OTTO: I would say Sabrina discovering her witch side and what that power entails. Like what it means to fully invest in that and what it means to receive the power of that and how to use it.


Image via Netflix

And how is Zelda’s journey in Season 2?

OTTO: In the second season it’s very much about attaining power. Like trying to realize some of her ambitions. She’s attracted to power like a moth to a flame. We see a lot more of where Hilda and Zelda come together on things in this season. There’s definitely a strong pursuit of power.

Can you talk about the evolution of Zelda’s relationship with Father Blackwood?

OTTO: Zelda’s playing a little bit of a cat and mouse game with Father Blackwood. At first, she feels that the affair that they’re having, that he should recognize her more. So, she decides to abstain from being with him and that kind of puts him in a difficult place. And then finally he actually proposes to her. And as much as we think that Zelda is really in love with Blackwood, we find out that she actually confesses to Hilda that she’s not in love with him at all. She’s really just after the power of being in a position of being the high priest’s wife and everything that that would ensue and basically for the family, like trying to reinstate the Spellman family at the top of the coven. That’s her whole modus operandi but it’s not going to be an easy marriage.

Your relationship with Hilda. Hilda is now feeling her oats, she starting to stand up to you a little bit and sort of going out on her own. Are you threatened that you’re going to lose her? Or do you like the fact that she’s standing up to you?

OTTO: I mean, look, they’ve got a really complicated relationship as some sisters do, and I think that deep down there’s a lot of love between them, but they’re very different people and so they do knock up against each other, but they’re kind of lost without each other. I mean, I feel that if I go for much of an episode without having scenes with Lucy, it’s always strange not to feel that relationship because it’s such an integral part as Zelda.

Season 2 of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina premieres on Netflix April 5.