Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will have a non-binary witch
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will star a non-binary character.
The new Netflix show, helmed by Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and streaming worldwide from October 26, features pansexual warlock Ambrose Spellman alongside Sabrina’s friend Susie Putnam, played by non-binary actor Lachlan Watson.
The character, who like Watson uses they/them pronouns, is one of the founders of a new Wicca club at Baxter High, which they attend with Sabrina in the TV adaptation of a comic book of the same name.
People who don’t conform to the gender binary have recently received more representation in popular culture, with stars from actress Ruby Rose to Arrow actor Bex Taylor-Klaus to Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar coming out as non-binary.
Representation of non-binary people is however still largely lacking on TV, and Watson was fully aware of their role’s importance.
Speaking to Syfy Wire, they said they had spoken at length with their showrunner about how to present the character.
“I dived in head first and some of the conversations [with Aguirre-Sacasa] were just about my thoughts on gender and my personal life and my transition, very strange transition as it was, and kind of the person that I’ve become,” said Watson.
“And I almost feel like he was vetting me a little bit to see if I can hold my own in an interview later on.
“I think he was sort of like: ‘How well can you speak on gender? Are you willing to do it for the rest of your life?'”
They said that Susie was somewhere in the middle of their process of finding out who they are, which makes sense for a high school student.
“A lot of people, and especially with my journey, there were a lot of points in my life where I thought I knew who I was but I didn’t. I really didn’t at all,” explained Watson, who has also appeared in Nashville.
“I knew who I thought I was supposed to be. I knew how I thought I was supposed to identify and how I’m supposed to act and how I’m supposed to dress.
“I knew that and I think that may be a bit where Susie is right now, is that they think they know that they’ve landed where they need to be but I think a queer journey in ongoing, a little bit.”
For them, it was crucial to show these growing pains on screen.
They said: “I feel like sometimes when characters come out, it’s just like: ‘Boom, I’m a man now.’ And you don’t really… if you go back it’s very much like: ‘Okay I’m stopping this life and I’m starting another one.’
“But the story that hasn’t been told as much is: Susie was never Susie. Susie was always this other person in Susie’s body.
“And I think that’s really beautiful and it’s something I’ve had a lot of fun with.”
Watson also emphasised that just because they’re playing a non-binary character, it doesn’t mean that Susie is the same as them.
They said: “Susie has a lot of bravery, borderline recklessness, that I’ve never really found in myself. I grew up really timid anxious kid and I never really had to stand up for myself.
“I never really had to fight. I never had that flight or flight reaction and when I did I flew. I left.
“And Susie is the opposite. Susie has this incredible way of just staring down danger, staring down fear,” they explained. “They fight for what’s right, and they stand up for who they love.
“And that’s something that’s really helped me grow as a person and finding that in myself and looking back on my life, looking back at people in my life and going: ‘That’s not who I am anymore.’
“I can stand up and learn from that. I don’t have to take it anymore. I don’t have to let it get to me,” Watson added.
“And it’s really helped me a lot right now just reading those words, saying those words being that and then finding that in myself.”