If the part 3 of Netflix's witchiest teen show is any indication, actor Michelle Gomez has some serious fans. The real Miss Wardell (Gomez) is back on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but Lilith still looks like Miss Wardwell too. It's all a little confusing, but the explanation for why and how Miss Wardwell is back on CAOS is there, even if you don't remember it.
At the end of part 2, Lilith granted Sabrina's (Kiernan Shipka) request to resurrect the mortal teacher Miss Wardwell, whose body Lilith had been using as a disguise. Then, Lilith retreated to Hell, still in a version of a Wardwell costume, while the real Miss Wardwell went back to teaching — just with a three month memory gap. In the first episode, Lilith explains that she kept the Wardwell costume because "I grew comfortable wearing her skin. And a face like this, it's hard to beat."
Lilith knows how to work that face on the show, and Gomez knows how to work that face as an actor. "We all get cast for our strengths. My strength happens to be my face, which was born to play witches," Gomez told Backstage. "I'm never going to be cast in a role like Susan from next door. I’m always going to be Madam Satan … this is a strong face, and that’s what I lead with."
She's a little bit wrong about not ever getting to play "Susan from next door," since Miss Wardwell is very much that type. Gomez actually gets to use her face to play two very different characters on CAOS, which Gomez told Collider she really enjoyed. "[I] threw myself into it, wholeheartedly. It’s wonderful. It’s just a fun transition to go from Wardwell to Madam Satan."
The series does a good job of differentiating between the two versions. The real Miss Wardwell, who is just a mortal teacher in Greendale, is usually seen with glasses and her hair up in a bun. The Lilith version usually has her hair down, bold makeup, and no glasses. Lilith's demeanor is very different from the more timid Miss Wardwell, so don't fret: you'll be able to tell which one is which in each scene.
Lilith didn't just get to use Miss Wardwell's persona consequence free, however. Miss Wardwell can't remember what happened to her outright, but when she returns to Greendale she can tell something has changed about her. She keeps having nightmares about Hell, and she even makes her students study Dante's Inferno because it's about the journey through Hell. Maybe Lilith didn't wipe her memory well enough or maybe something that traumatic just sticks with you (just ask Nick), but Miss Wardwell knows something went wrong in those three months she can't remember and that doctors can't explain. If she ever comes face to face with herself as Lilith — that could really break her.
In any case, the in-show reason about Lilith just preferring Wardwell's face works, but, outside of the show, the choice was likely made for continuity sake and to avoid having to cast for a new role. Viewers already know Lilith as Gomez and it would have been a little confusing to have a whole new person playing her in part three. Yes, even more confusing than there being two Mary Wardwells.