If you follow the Archie comics, then you will know that over the last few years, very few comic book lines have been willing to take risks and reinvent itself as much as Archie as. This is why we’ve seen titles like “Life With Archie”, where alternate timelines in which Archie married either Betty or Veronica are explored and the characters deal with everything from same-sex marriage (Kevin Keller was introduced as te first gay character) to gun control. That’s still pretty bland though when compared to Afterlife With Archie, in which Archie, Jughead, Reggie and the gang have live in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. And even that doesn’t hold a candle to Archie vs. Predator or Archie Meets Punisher, which is not only exactly what they sound like, but also pretty good.
This is why I was surprised in the slightest that The CW’s live-action Archie reboot Riverdale is going to be a season long murder mystery (With some love triangle action thrown in, of course; can’t toss out all the classic Archie staples). This reveal came via the series’ Comic-Con panel over the weekend, which saw showrunners Greg Berlanti and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa take to the stage with their new young cast. Aguirre-Sacasa explained that it’s the killing of a new character that kicks off all the drama in Riverdale.
“The big mystery of season one is definitely what happened to Jason Blossom. We’re going to follow all the twists and turns of that, but of course it’s ‘Archie,’ it’s ‘Riverdale,’ it’s the CW. There’s going to be a lot of romances and I can tell you that most of the people [on this panel] will become involved with each other, including Kevin (Keller), who’s not here.”
— Warner Bros. TV (@warnerbrostv) July 24, 2016
Exec producer Joe Goldwater explained that these clashing genres is one of the reasons why Berlanti – who is also in charge of CW’s Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow – is the perfect fit.
“Greg, of course, produces all the superhero shows on the CW but he’s also done coming of age like ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ he’s done small town like ‘Everwood’ so we kinda put our heads together and pitched a version of “Archie” that was a little bit more subversive, a little bit more like a teenage ‘Twin Peaks,’ that’s one of our favorite shows and it was kind of a touchtone when we were making this pilot.”
“We thought it should be like ‘The Virgins Suicides’ or that movie ‘Heavenly Creatures’. We wanted it have that kind of timeless, dream-like look.”
True to the comic line’s chameleon like reinvention though, don’t expect this show to drag out this search for a murderer though, as exec producer Sarah Schechter explained.
“We will solve the mystery this season to make sure that loyal viewers get rewarded.”
As to the folks that will be trying to solve this mystery, the panel introduced their cast of K.J. Apa (Archie), Luke Perry (Fred Andrews), Camila Mendes (Veronica), Lili Reinhart (Betty), Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl), Ashleigh Murray (Josie) and Cole Sprouse (Jughead). Casting the lead role Archie was no easy feat though, according to Schechter.
“In this case we started about six months in advance because we knew how hard it was going to be to fill all these iconic shoes. We were very worried, it’s very hard to do ‘Riverdale’ without Archie but luckily K.J. (Apa) walked in and we were, like, done.”
Well, almost “done”. There was just the small matter of Archie’s signature carrot top, while Apa had naturally darker hair. The solution, according to the young actor? Lots of work.
“I have to get it dyed every week pretty much. When we shot the pilot, we shot it for about three weeks and I had to have it dyed pretty much every week.”
The panel actually had a lot more to offer than just hair dressing tips, as they actually screened the full pilot episode to folks in attendance. And based on the buzz on social media, most people actually really liked it.
— Jim Halterman (@JimHalterman) July 24, 2016
— Ebenezer Groom (@EbenezerGroom) July 24, 2016
THE RIVERDALE PILOT!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #SDCC
— amanda (@appleajuice) July 24, 2016
— Cambria Lauritsen (@Cambria_Justine) July 24, 2016
— Brandon T. McClure (@BTMcClure) July 24, 2016
— tierney bricker (@tbrick2) July 24, 2016
Riverdale has no set premiere date yet, but is expected to debut on The CW sometime in the third quarter of the year.
Last Updated: July 25, 2016