Octavio Karbank wrote from San Diego Comic-Con for Bleeding Cool,
One of the CW’s breakout shows from the last year, Riverdale, a reimagining of the Archie comics, proved itself a tremendous success in relatively short order. Taking a dark and noir approach to its storytelling, this is not the Archie your mom and pop grew up with. Riverdale is infinitely more sinister and sexier than nearly anything else that’s been done with the franchise. Interestingly enough, it works!
With a second season coming out this Fall – that’ll be nearly twice as long as the first season – it seems safe to say that Riverdale has found its fan-base. Delivering shock after shock towards the end of the show’s first season, fans were left with numerous cliffhangers, as Riverdale changed the show’s dynamic within a span of minutes.
This year at San Diego Comic Con, the Riverdale Press Room was jam-packed full of hungry reporters trying to dig up anything and everything they could for the coming season. Much of the cast, including stars KJ Apa (Archie,) Cole Sprouse (Jughead,) Lili Reinhart (Betty,) Camila Mendes (Veronica,) Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom,) Ashleigh Murray (Josie McCoy,) and Riverdale’s executive producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and Sarah Schechter.
In talking to the cast and executive producers, there were a few nifty tidbits we were able to discover.
Firstly, for fans of Riverdale’s Kevin Keller, you can expect for the 3rd episode of Season 2 to be very Kevin-centric. Additionally, despite his happy-go-lucky demeanor, this season there will be a chance to see Kevin’s dark side. As for whether or not Kevin will find love? Well, the story between Moose and Kevin is not finished. Also, Kevin finds a very deep love that he’s needed, but in a way that might not be romantic.
When asked about whether there were any plans for more episodes modelled after the popular zombie Archie comic Afterlife With Archie, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa admitted to being aware of the theme’s popularity, but as of now there are no plans for Afterlife with Archie. Still, Season 2 will build on Season 1 and focus on digging further into the underbelly of Riverdale. With all the secrets that have come to light this season will explore how the town has been affected. There’s going to more of a thriller element, as befits a film noir television series, but in a way that is still very grounded and very Riverdale.
A new character will also be introduced on the show: Tony Topaz. Actress Vanessa Morgan will play Topaz and she will go to South Side High with Jughead; she’s also a part of the Serpents, which Jughead has joined. In putting some pieces together, it was revealed that the character Cheryl Blossom might come out as bisexual. If this is true, it’s been hinted there is already a same-sex relationship in the works, a romance between Cheryl and Tony doesn’t seem like too far of a stretch.
In at the end of the first season, Cheryl had gone through a lot, between her brother’s death, her own near death experience, her father committing suicide, and setting her own house on fire with her and her mother still in it. Yet it seems that in Season 2, Cheryl has come out of her dark place. To the audience, it’ll look like Cheryl has become darker and meaner, but Petsch sees her more as a phoenix rising from the ashes of her house. She won’t be putting up with any crap from her mom.
Meanwhile, Josie is teaming with Cheryl as part of the River Vixens and we’ll see a new dynamic play out. Josie could also have a potential love interest; could it be Reggie?
When asked a question about Jughead and eating burgers, Cole Sprouse said that Jughead’s eating is being informed by his ability to get his hands on food when he can get his hands on food, since he’s homeless. While that’s going on, “Jughead has one foot on the North Side and one foot on the South Side. His life is forcing his attention into a certain narrative that’ll force him to recognize he can’t make everyone happy. He’s going to lose a lot and he’s going to gain a lot.”
Apa and Sprouse went on to discuss how they feel about the fan reception that the show, and they themselves, have received; Apa admits to still feeling surprised and humbled by the reception the show has gotten and the attention he’s received.
“It’s very validating to see the fan reaction that we have, it is. Yet you have to be super careful about the validation; the second you start letting that validation inform the narrative or inform the characters, you’re actually doing yourself a tremendous disservice. It’s been funny finding that balance, but obviously it feels great. As actors and as storytellers we want to resonate, that fact that people are responding so well is fantastic.”
Finally, we spoke to Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes, or Betty and Veronica.
While fans of the comics might have expected the same kind of antagonism on the show between the two girls, Riverdale offers a very different approach. No longer are they fighting over Archie, but are fast friends. Still, it looks like they won’t be able to escape some kind of conflict. Apparently Episode 5 of Season 2 will feature at least a modicum of derision between Betty and Veronica. Turns out, Betty has a secret she cannot share with Veronica and that causes a divide between the two of them.
Lastly, in regards to Veronica’s father, who was completely absent from Season 1, Hiram arrives and Veronica doesn’t trust him for a while, despite him making an actual effort to be a good father. That said, he will remain a business shark and he’s keeping a lot of secrets from Veronica; she wants to be part of that secret, but he won’t let her.