Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) meets her new feline friend.
Image: Netflix (YouTube)

Netflix has released a new look at Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, immediately addressing one of our biggest questions: What exactly is Salem’s deal here? As we see in this first clip, this is not the Salem Saberhagen that we’re used to.

This new clip for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shows Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) meeting her witch familiar, Salem, for the first time. In a creepy, otherworldly voice, a demonic creature tells Sabrina from the shadows that he’s responded to her summons from the woods, turning himself into a black cat and coming in for the kill—I mean an adorable snuggle session.

Based on this footage, it’s clear this Salem is going to be very different—not only from the direct source material, but the general Sabrina the Teenage Witch lore. For example, in the Melissa Joan Hart series, Salem Saberhagen (voiced by Nick Bakay) was a warlock who’d been sentenced to live 100 years as a cat after trying to take over the world. The Chilling Adventures comic book series kept him human, but made his story a hell of a lot darker. In that version, Salem was a mortal who got a witch pregnant and refused to marry her, so a group of witches turned him into a cat.

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Apparently, we’re getting neither version here. According to the clip, Salem looks to be some creature who’s taken the form of a black cat to serve as Sabrina’s protector. It’s an interesting change, and one I don’t necessarily mind, but I imagine some fans of the original version may be a bit miffed. Come on, who doesn’t love a cat puppet laughing maniacally while plotting his latest world domination scheme?

At this point, it’s unclear whether Salem is going to regularly talk, like he did on the previous TV show. Given how Salem immediately starts meowing once he’s in kitty form, it wouldn’t surprise me if he remained largely silent on the series. After all, Ambrose Spellman (Chance Perdomo) can easily fill the role of Guy Sabrina Bounces Ideas Off Of. We don’t really need two of them.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina arrives on Netflix October 26.

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