11 Key Details About the Charmed Reboot That Every Fan of the Original Should Know
A new version of the the beloved supernatural soap Charmed is heading to The CW on Oct. 14, giving fans another trio of magical sisters who must learn how to harness their powers while us mortals watching from home learn important life lessons about kinship (and demons, obviously). But just how new is this version of the story going to be? Both worried fans of the original WB series and potential newcomers who think they may be confused if they jump in blind want to know. Luckily, the show's cast and creators were at Television Critics Association's Summer press tour on Aug. 6 to spill all the details. So, let's harness our own powers for a few minutes and find out.
Let's start with some details that we know are carry overs from the first version. Creator Jennie Snyder Urman told journalists at TCA that the show will still have a Book of Shadows, which is the sisters' encyclopedia to witchcraft — a handy tool to have since they're all new at this, just as they were in the original. There are also still Whitelighters, or guardians who take human form (more on that later), a spirit board, an attic in which to practice, and dangerous demons with jet-black eyes. But most importantly, Snyder Urman said, is that the show will still believe in the Power of Three and the "feeling that, at its core, this is a love story between three sisters."
The Sisters Didn't Grow Up Together
In contrast to the original series — which starts with Phoebe Halliwell (Alyssa Milano) returning to her family home to live with her sisters Prue (Shannen Doherty) and Piper (Holly Marie Combs) — we learn in the reboot's first episode that only younger sisters Mel (Melonie Diaz) and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery) grew up together. Big sister Macy (Madeleine Mantock) shows up later. Also telling: Snyder said that, "The girls do have different fathers, and that's going to come to play in the storytelling."
A Variety of Different Cultures Will Be Explored
Snyder Urman said the characters' "racial identities" will also factor into storylines, which makes sense given that interracial marriage and kids are becoming more common. Melonie Diaz, who plays middle sister Mel, is Puerto Rican, and the writers like the idea of exploring brujeria — or the Spanish practice of witchcraft. There's even a Latino witch on the show's writing staff.
Macy is the eldest sister and has the power of telekinesis. Just like big sister Prue from the original, she's extremely responsible. This newfound gift is especially confusing to her because she's a scientist and facts matter. Plus, she wasn't raised with her other sisters and never knew their mother (her last name is Vaughn; the others have the last name Vera). That's a lot of new information to absorb.
Talk about messing with your place in history. Mel thought she was the older and responsible one, and now she comes to find that she's been displaced and is the middle child? Still, this women's studies major is stubborn and hard on everyone — especially herself, whom she holds responsible for her mother's death. Like Piper from the original, she can freeze time. She's also a lesbian and doesn't want to admit how strong her feelings are for local detective Nico (Ellen Tamaki).
Much to the chagrin of activist Mel, Maggie is a bubbly sorority pledge who thinks the word "sisterhood" means something very different than holding hands and vanquishing evil in the name of saving the world. She also has the power of telepathy — a contrast to original younger sister Phoebe's power of premonition.
Our new story begins with the death of the sisters' mother, Marisol (Valerie Cruz) as she was attempting to unbind her daughters' powers and turn them back from normal women to powerful witches. She knew something dark was coming (in the series, Donald Trump's election was a sign), and barely got it done in time. This is a slight change for the original series, where it's their grandmother (Jennifer Rhodes) who does the sisters' unbinding spell because their mother had already been killed.
No More Rhyming Couplets
The first sisters famously vanquished demons with spells that included rhyming couplets (think of them as creative plays on the classic "double, double, toil, and trouble"). The reboot's producers told the TCA audience that they have done away with this because they felt it was so indicative of the older show. Also, Snyder Urman said it's hard to keep this pattern going if they want to "get into different languages and different cultures."
Why This Whitelighter?
Rupert Evans plays Whitelighter Harry Greenwood in this version. An academic type prone to wearing cardigans and occasionally mentioning Roxane Gay, he's more similar to Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer than the original's strapping Leo Wyatt (and is therefore probably less likely to be a love interest for these sisters).
"I think he has a bit more about him, I hope," Evans said at TCA in regards to the Buffy comparisons. "And I think the writers and the team and everyone's been very been very encouraging about what we're going to do with the Whitelighter and with Harry in the forthcoming season."
The Sisters' Love Interests
This isn't to say that the sisters don't date at all. In addition to Nico, the detective courting Mel, there's also Brian, Maggie's holdover hookup from high school played by Charlie Gillespie. And for her part, Macy gets flirty with fellow scientist Galvin (Ser'Darius Blain). But is there room for some demon-witch romance again?
"I mean, how can you not," O'Toole said at TCA. "So many delicious possibilities."
A New Kind of Orbing
The original Charmed's sisters could teleport thanks to magical balls of light called orbs. Executive producer Jessica O'Toole told the TCA audience that the sisters can still teleport, but "it doesn't involve an actual orb."