What should be a time of celebration for the bringing together of witchcraft and more women of colour on television is quickly turning into a heated feud between the new and old cast members of Charmed.
The reboot from Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman stars Sarah Jeffery, Madeleine Mantock, and Melonie Diaz as three sisters in a US college town who, after the tragic death of their mother, are stunned to discover they are witches. Holly Marie Combs, who portrayed Piper Halliwell on of the original WB network drama, has been has been outspoken about her thoughts on the upcoming reboot, and recently took to Twitter to air her grievances with it again.
“I will never understand what is fierce, funny, or feminist in creating a show that basically says the original actresses are too old to do a job they did 12 years ago,” Combs wrote. She continued on to say that while she appreciates the jobs the new reboot is creating, they “fare better when they honour the original as opposed to taking shots at the original.”
This prompted one of the stars of the new series, Sarah Jeffrey, to respond with a statement of her own defending the reboot, set to premiere this fall.
“I fully understand how dear the OG Charmed is to many. For very, very good reason. We are so beyond grateful to have the opportunity to bring this reboot to life and bring current, timely themes to the forefront of a show that stars not one, not two, but THREE WOC!!! We regard the foundation that was laid with great respect,” Jeffrey wrote. “But, when my character is challenged, when there is futile yet harmful noise about how we are either incapable or doomed, I will vociferously defend myself and my sisters."
At a time when so many women in Hollywood are coming together, it’s unfortunate to see these actresses feuding. All this is doing is further dividing new and old fans from a series that’s centered around sisterhood and women coming together to help the greater good. But both women have valid points.
Given that neither Combs nor her co-stars — Alyssa Milano, Rose McGowan, and Shannen Doherty — were invited to be a part of the reboot in some capacity, it does insinuate that they were “too old” for the fresh, new incarnation of Charmed, which features significantly younger actresses. This adds to the argument that Hollywood has significantly less roles for women over 40. Though on the flip side, Jeffrey is right when she says that the reboot will be a major win for Latinx women of colour — who held only 5.8% of speaking roles in TV and film, a 2016 study found.
Overall, the problem isn’t the Charmed reboot itself, but rather what it symbolises: the choice Hollywood makes between age and diversity — both things that hurt actresses on all sides in the end. But until that issue is resolved, hopefully both sides of this beloved witchy series can come together if no more than for the fans.