Kiernan Shipka’s wish and ideas for a Mad Men spinoff restore the original plans for a spinoff, but make the idea even better. In a recent interview, Shipka detailed her idea for a Mad Men spinoff focused on her character, Sally Draper. Shipka’s idea improves on the original idea that AMC suggested.
Kiernan Shipka was a regular presence on Mad Men, the 60s-set drama that ran from 2007 to 2015 and focused on the employees at the Sterling Cooper advertising company. Shipka played Sally Draper, the daughter of Don (Jon Hamm) and Betty Draper (January Jones). In a 2015 oral history of Mad Men (via The Hollywood Reporter), it was revealed that AMC suggested a Sally spinoff idea. However, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner wasn’t interested in spinoffs and was focused on reaching the series’ end. Sandra Stern, Lionsgate TV’s Chief Operating Officer, revealed what AMC’s Sally Draper Mad Men spinoff idea looked like:
“When we first started negotiating with AMC, one of the things they wanted was a spinoff. We talked about doing a contemporary one. Given the fact that [Mad Men] ends nearly 50 years ago, most of the characters would be dead. Sally was the one character young enough that you could see her 30 or 40 years later.”
While that sounds intriguing, Kiernan Shipka’s idea, which she revealed in a recent interview, is even better. Shipka says that she’s willing to continue Sally’s story: “I’m not done with Sally […] I don’t think she’d be in New York. I think she’d do L.A… But I’m not done with her at all.” Following Sally in Los Angeles would be great because it allows the story to move to a different city than New York, creating possibilities for new adventures in the fresh setting. Since Kiernan Shipka is in her 20s, she could easily play a twentysomething Sally in the mid-to-late 1970s. Shipka’s idea is better than AMC’s original plan because it focuses on a younger Sally, in the years following Mad Men’s story ending in 1970. Audiences could see her grow and develop more than they would if Sally were in her late 50s in the spinoff.
1970s Los Angeles is rife with potential for Sally Draper storylines. Perhaps Sally turns out to be an aspiring actress and must navigate the Hollywood scene of that time period. This could potentially reunite her with her former stepmother, Megan (Jessica Paré), who moved out to L.A. for an acting career in Mad Men season 7. Maybe Sally gets involved with the thriving LA music scene in some way. Maybe she participates in the burgeoning second-wave feminist movement and becomes an activist. This new setting could also open the door for a diverse cast of characters that Sally interacts with. A criticism of the original Mad Men was how overwhelmingly white the cast was, wasting characters of color such as Dawn Chambers, the only Black employee at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, played by Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau from WandaVision). Kiernan Shipka’s spinoff idea could take the chance to diversify Sally’s new environment.
Kiernan Shipka has kept busy since Mad Men’s end, most notably in the role of Sabrina Spellman in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, but it is clear that she wants to play Sally Draper again. Shipka’s idea for a Sally-focused spinoff is very interesting and has more potential than the idea AMC came up with a few years ago. Hopefully, Shipka’s idea can become a reality someday.