‘Riverdale’ hopes to take its place as a great teen drama, according to ARCHIE writer

Deputy Entertainment Editor
02.26.16

Archie Comics

In case you haven”t heard, Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Supergirl, nearly every other superhero show on television right now) is branching out his comic book empire. The producer is teaming up with Archie Comics to bring Riverdale to The CW.

Over the last few weeks, casting announcements have been coming at a rapid-fire pace as the show gears up to begin production of the pilot. So far the actors playing Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Putsch), and Mr. Fred Andrews (Luke Perry). Still no word on who will play Veronica Lodge, Kevin Keller, or the rest of the gang yet but expect an announcement any time now!

Descriptions of each character accompanied their reveals. While Archie Comics is taking their freshly – and successfully – relaunched series and translating it to the small screen, there are some key differences. Betty is merely crushing on Archie, meaning there was no #LipstickIncident. And Jughead's description as a “heartthrob” means he probably isn”t canonically asexual in Riverdale.

•  ARCHIE ANDREWS – An intense, conflicted teen, a boyish high school sophomore who got pumped up over the summer working construction and is now juggling the interest of several girls, as well as trying to balance his passion for writing and performing music – against the wishes of his father and his football coach.
•  BETTY COOPER – Sweet, studious, eager-to-please and wholesome, with a huge crush on her longtime best friend, Archie.
•  JUGHEAD JONES – A heartthrob with a philosophical bent and former best friend of Archie Andrews.
•  JOSIE MCCOY – A gorgeous, snooty and ambitious girl who is the lead singer for popular band Josie and the Pussycats. She has zero interest in recording any songs written by fellow teen Archie.
•  CHERYL BLOSSOM – Rich, entitled and never accountable. A manipulative mean girl who kills with kindness, she recently lost her twin brother in a mysterious accident.

Boilerplate language in each casting announcement promises to explore the darkness and weirdness that lies just beneath the veneer of small-town perfection. HitFix Harpy spoke to Archie Comics CCO (and writer of AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE) Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa back at SDCC 2015 about writing for Riverdale and how it was different from the world of the comics. Now published for the first time, Aguirre-Sacasa told us his hopes for the show and what fans can expect.

HITFIX HARPY: How did Riverdale come about?
ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA: I had my first meeting with Greg [Berlanti] in 2014. He”s such a prolific producer, especially when it comes to comic book shows. But he also has a history with coming-of-age shows like Dawson”s Creek and Everwood. To me, he was just the perfect producer to shepherd Riverdale into existence. He”s been such a champion. It”s a teen soap. There will be elements that people who grew up reading the comics will love. But it also has the relatable teen angst that kids will love. It”s like a John Hughes movie, almost. There”s humor, there”s heartbreak. There”s also musical moments!

Why call it Riverdale instead of Archie?
AGUIRRE-SACASA: The idea was to cast a wider net. The same way Gotham is called Gotham. It allows us to pull from all the characters in the Archie library. But the lead is Archie Andrews and the love triangle between him, Betty, and Veronica is the heart of the show. But It may not play quite the same way fans think it will.

Does this mean Betty and Veronica are finally going to realize their love for each other and ditch Archie?
AGUIRRE-SACASA:
[laughs] You”re not the only person who has said that! There”s a fun moment in the pilot that's a nod to everyone who has always wanted Betty and Veronica to get together.

Who all can fans be expecting to drop by?
AGUIRRE-SACASA: Cheryl Blossom, for sure. Cheryl has a huge part in the pilot. We call her the “Agent of Chaos” in the show. She”s definitely our teen villainess, our femme fatale. But she”s just one of many amazing villains! We”ll also have Kevin Keller and Reggie. There”s even a version of Mrs. Grundy is in the pilot. And of course, there”s nothing to say a version of Sabrina or Katy Keene couldn”t show up eventually.

Sadly I couldn”t get Roberto to confirm or deny if the possibility of Sabrina the Teenage Witch putting in an appearance meant supernatural elements would play a part in Riverdale. But I have my fingers crossed!

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