SDCC: Riverdale Stars on Show's Return to Season One Dynamic


Riverdale's third season was the most outrageous to date. Whether on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, the show's avid fandom was more active than ever with heated discussions about whether the series had gone too far with it's organ-stealing cult, Dungeons and Dragons parody, bear attack, boxing match, prison break, and so much more. Say what you will about the quality of these storylines but credit has to be given for the show's ability to maintain the attention of it's audience. With more choices than ever for viewers browsing content across networks and an increasing number of streaming platforms, no one can realistically say that the show has ever been boring.

Executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says that this season will offer more of a return to the intimacy of character exploration viewers enjoyed in season one. "More than any other season we're going to be doing a lot of high school stuff. Originally the inspiration for this was stuff like John Hughes movies and things like that. This is the kids' last year in high school. They're not gonna be in senior year twice. This is it, so we're definitely doing a lot of homages to high school movies which is really fun. In terms of the crime thing, we've done serial killers, we've done a murder mystery. One thing I loved when I was growing up were these novels that a writer named Christopher Pike wrote. It was like mysteries set in high schools and they had different genres. The big mystery is what happened the night of the flash-forward that we saw in the finale. That's an homage to everything from 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' to one of my favorite suspense novels of all time is 'The Secret Mystery'. This is sort of an homage to that as well. It's a little bit of a slower burn mystery and that's by design. Last year was gonzo and crazy. This year we're gonna slow it down a little so we can tell more character stories and personal stories."

The creative design of the show is consistently prone to drawing inspiration from older works of fiction, with last year having an element of 'Invaders of the Body Snatchers'. Episode three will be the Riverdale version of the Al Pacino film "Dog Day Afternoon" which will also mark the end of the Farm storyline. Episode one will serve as more of a stand-alone episode to pay tribute to actor Luke Perry, who passed away recently and portrayed Archie's father, Fred Andrews.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa interview:

KJ Apa has been put through a lot during his time on the show, from being an aspiring musician, football player, boxer, prison inmate, and of course his many romances with different characters. This season will see Archie trying to finally get his life back on track after all the mayhem he experienced in season three.

"It's gonna be a lot of the core four doing things together. We're gonna learn a lot more about their relationships with each other that we didn't know before. Lots more football, I don't know what's going on with the boxing. He still has the gym but I think there's gonna be lot more stuff between Archie and Reggie and the football world, and even Mad Dog coming into the football world."

Apa makes no effort to hide his disdain for the bear attack storyline due to the ongoing effect it has on his preparations for filming. "I'm reminded of the bear attack every time I sit for three hours in makeup with the prosthetics on. As far as I'm concerned [Archie] should be dead."

Outside of his job on Riverdale, Apa plays in a band so it's been somewhat surprising that the show hasn't made more use of his musical skills on the show. Archie's interest in music was hardly referenced after season one despite it being a major part of his story at that time. "I don't know what happened with that. I know that we're coming back to it this season. I think as we go on and start shooting, certain storylines become more important and it means we have to drop certain things. The core four start their own garage band and I think it's gonna be called The Archies or something."

Following the loss of Luke Perry, and as a result Fred Andrews as a character, Molly Ringwald will be returning to Riverdale in a more consistent role. At the show's panel, it was revealed that Ringwald spoke to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and took the initiative to help the show, the story, and the creatives by appearing more regularly as Archie's mother. Apa is eager to work more with Ringwald and develop this relationship between their characters further. "With the absence of Fred it's gonna be nice and beautiful to see Archie and Mary's relationship which we never really got to see. We saw bits and pieces of her coming back from Chicago but we're gonna have some beautiful scenes together. It'll be nice to work with her more too. She's so cool, and one of the kindest people I know. I haven't gotten to work with her that much. It was always Archie and Fred for a long time so I can't wait. Molly's great."

KJ Apa Interview:

Veronica has had to grow up very quickly, and dealt with what feels like a never-ending parade of family drama. Despite these back-and-forth fights and reconciliations with her father, Camila Mendes believes any good faith between Veronica and Hiram is finished. "I think that's over. You can't predict anything in Riverdale but I really think it's done this time. I think Veronica stopped trusting her father a long time ago. I just remember that one scene with Pop and she was getting a little bit vulnerable and Pop didn't want her to. I can't remember a time where she broke a little bit after that but I hope she stays strong this season. Hiram's bad news and he's scheming in prison and making her life hell because he's Hiram Lodge."

Smithers is Veronica's legal guardian though his character is nowhere to be seen more often than not. "There is extended family that I know will appear in this season which I'm really excited for and I wish I could tell you more. A family member Veronica didn't know existed will appear. It's gonna be hell!"

Veronica will be focusing mostly on applying to colleges but also have to deal with the aftermath of the dissolution of her relationship with Reggie. "They definitely have a confrontation in episode two about it but all of that happened and Archie's father passes away so I think that puts Reggie in a situation where he's not gonna hold anything against Archie. Archie's going through a lot so that makes it hard to express how he really feels."

Camila Mendes Interview:

Many of the biggest revelations of the season four finale were reserved for Betty Cooper. From her father's escape and murder at the hands of Penelope Blossom, escaping from an organ-harvesting cult, discovering that her mother was an FBI informant, and perhaps most scandalous of all, that her FBI contact was her long-lost brother Charles who is still alive and is also Jughead's brother. Now in season four, Charles will be a big part of Betty's story as the two begin to work together.

"Betty definitely has a lot going on with Charles. He is working for the FBI trying to take down Edgar Evernever and The Farm. You find out that Alice was in on it the whole time which is shocking to Betty and kind of hard to believe. You see Betty working with Charles at the FBI, doing as much as a high-schooler can for the FBI. She's solved more crimes than the sheriff in town so she's pretty good! She uses her resources at high school, being a high school student surrounded by the kids, she's definitely going to use that to her advantage, [and] maybe use Kevin to her advantage."

Another sometimes-forgotten relationship aspect from season one was the possibility of a romance between Betty and Archie, which was something played on far more in the comics from which the show has been adapted. It's yet to be determined whether this is something that could return in the new season. "It's a drama and there's going to be drama in the relationships. Jughead is going off to prep school which creates physical distance. As the mystery evolves this season, whatever that might be, it might bring some people closer together, it might bring some people further apart."

Lili Reinhart Interview:

One might think that the revelation of a shared sibling being alive would cause more disruption to Betty and Jughead's relationship but the beloved Bughead coupling appears to be largely unaffected by it. "I don't think they care about the relationship weirdness that could be involved in that," says Cole Sprouse. "As it stands now, it looks like Betty is way more integrated into Charles' storyline than Jughead is but then again we're only on episode two."

Jughead was notably absent in the flash-forward, with his hat being burned but Sprouse says he has not been informed of what has lead up to it or why he is not seen in that moment. "They like to make sure we don't spoil anything, cause I'm really good at that. I think the writers really like to see the shock on our faces at the table read so no, I have no idea where it's going."

Jughead will be off to boarding school which will open up a whole new world of material to play. "It looks as if the majority of his investigation is gonna be done at the prep school which kind of seems like the setting for the flash-forward and what's going to be laying the ground work for that flash-forward. It's this incredibly pretentious, Gossip Girl-like, Upper East Side academy that he's being whisked away to."

One of the major recurring components of Jughead's story and character journey has been his relationship with the Serpents, a biker gang that his father and eventually he himself has taken a leadership role in. However, it appears as if this will be absent for the time being, particularly given Jughead's change in location. "It doesn't really look like he's too involved with them as of now. That was something we explored at the end of last season was that he was relieving control to someone else but we cut that scene. I think we're gonna play around with it but it doesn't look like we're gonna be doing too much Serpent stuff."

Cole Sprouse Interview:

Cheryl Blossom has undergone of the most significant transformations across the previous seasons of the show. From coming out in her sexuality, learning to be more kind and vulnerable to others, and all while retaining her signature flair and charisma has garnered her a significant boost among fans. Actress Madelaine Petsch has also displayed a deep understanding of the struggles of Cheryl on an emotional, psychological level. Now Cheryl will have to deal with the revelation that her mother was the mastermind behind even more death and destruction than she ever could've realised.

"Cheryl returns to that gothic heroine state that she was in season one and folds into herself. Hopefully, what we've talked about is her addressing the mental issues she's had for the last three and half years on the show. She will eventually come out of that shell but right now she's going inside." Petsch also hopes that Cheryl and Toni stay together as the 'Choni' relationship is something she particularly enjoys playing for what it brings out in her character. "I think Toni brings a really beautiful and vulnerable side of Cherly that you don't get to see often. I hope they go to college together and things can be fun but it wouldn't be Riverdale if there wasn't a little chaos."

Cheryl also had to deal with a lot when trying to escape Edgar's cult while also clinging on to her dead brother's body being dug up and brought back to manipulate her. "Edgar was hypnotizing her and having her brother's dead body in his basement to use to speak to her in a hypnosis state. Now the wound's been re-opened, 'How do I fill this Jason-sized hole? I'll just bring him back with me and then he'll never leave me again.' It's actually, I think, very heart-breaking. A lot of people are laughing about it but I don't think it's funny. I think it's actually quite sad."

Madelaine Petsch Interview:

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