The CW’s ‘Riverdale’ Cast and Creative Team on Bringing “Archie” into the Modern Era

     July 24, 2016


Many attempts to bring a sustainable version of Archie to the big and small screen have been made since the comics debuted in the 1940s. The CW is taking a turn now, bringing a modern and edgy take to the world with Riverdale, which will explore the Archie universe as dark and mystery-filled teen drama. Cast members KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Ashleigh Murray, Luke Perry, and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa discussed their excitement to mix classic Archie with their new interpretation and what to expect from this version of Riverdale.

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    Image via Veronica Fish

    Aguirre-Sacasa shared that Riverdale actually wasn’t directly inspired by the recent Archie comics reboot. The project had been set up at Fox before the reboot was announced, and has since shifted and moved to the CW. He said that they have yet too use that many storylines or plotlines from the comics, but there is a possibility to do so as Season 1 progresses.

  • The cast and Aguirre-Sacasa are very aware of the need for Riverdale to be resonant for a modern audience and that some of the ideals from the comics aren’t applicable to the show. The story is going to be a more serialized neo-noir format that revolves around murder in Riverdale that kicks off a lot of the action for the series.
  • While a lot of the character relationships will have the same core as the ones in the comics, don’t expect to see as much Betty vs. Veronica conflict. Reinhart said that Betty is still very much an All American girl with a lot riding on her, but a friendship is built between Mendes’ Veronica and her character. Veronica walks into the story as a new girl with a bit mystery, which Mendes says will allow to create a new start for the character coming into this new town and school.
  • Apa and Sprouse were both most excited about exploring the new relationship between Archie and Jughead. Despite having a bit of a contentious relationship on the show, both actors said they get along great offset. Apa said that his favorite scene from the pilot is the introduction scene for Archie and Jughead.

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    Image via The CW

    Petsch and Murray are also excited to bring their own spins to classic Archie characters Cheryl Blossom and Josie, respectively. Petsch said what immediately drew her to the project was the villainous nature to Cheryl’s character, but she explained that Cheryl’s vulnerabilities and cracks in her façade will start to come through as the season progresses. Murray loved the new take they’re doing on Josie and the Pussycats, including a yet to be disclosed insane hairstyle for her and the group.

  • Josie and the Pussycats will indeed be performing within the show. Murray said that they sing a cover song in the pilot, but there are plans to do original music and hopefully release an album of original songs once the first season is over.
  • Perry was most blown away by the caliber of young actors he was working on the pilot. While it is a mix of seasoned and brand new younger actors, he said that it has been such a treat for him to see their talent begin to really shine.
  • The show is really keen to develop an ensemble nature, not just focusing on the exploits of Archie. Sprouse shared that many classic side characters will be making appearances in this new itieration, allowing for an evolution beyond just those Archie archetypes that audiences are used to.
  • The change from a lighter tone of the comics to the darker tone the show is going for is to give a more grounded feeling to the story. Aguirre-Sacasa didn’t want the show to read like a gag cartoon like some Archie fans might be used to. Reinhart likes the darker development because it doesn’t come off as just mimicry, but instead creates a modern and realistic atmosphere for the characters. Sprouse commented that Rian Johnson’s Brick was a huge inspiration for the feel and tone of the show.
  • Many of the cast didn’t have any direct ties to the Archie universe until they were auditioning. Apa said he called his dad, a huge Archie fan, right before his audition so that he could go on with more knowledge about the character and the world. The only long-standing fan of the young cast was Murray, who was so thrilled she could tap into her love for the comics and translate it into this modern take.