The CW's highly anticipated Riverdaleseries is already getting a lot of praise for its modern, dark take on the iconic Archie comics, but it turns out that an Archie murder mystery drama was perhaps the tamest version of live-action Archie we could have seen.
Before teaming up with prolific producer Greg Berlanti and the CW, Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, the show's creator and Archie comics chief creative officer, had originally imagined his first live-action Archie project as a film — and, according to the story Aguirre-Sacasa told during the Riverdale panel at Sunday's Television Critics Association winter previews, the Archie movie that almost was sounds a lot more insane than the iconic redhead and his friends wrapped up in a murder investigation.
Aguirre-Sacasa originally teamed up with his friend, Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore, to come up with a pitch for a teen, coming-of-age drama after they saw Emma Watson's The Perks of Being a Wallflower together. Their pitch wasn't exciting enough for a lot of studios, but Sarah Schecter at Warner Bros. bought the idea in the room. The catch was Aguirre-Sacasa and Moore had to get the idea by a vice president of the company who had some ideas for the story.
"We go to the kickoff meeting and he said, 'You know, I've been thinking about this and I think you guys need to something a little more high concept, a little bigger than a coming-of-age [story],'" Aguirre-Sacasa recounted to critics in the Langham Hotel ballroom on Sunday morning. "I said, 'Yeah, great. We're open to that.' He goes, 'I want you to think about time travel.' I say, 'What do you mean?' 'You know, Archie traveling through time.'"
Yeah, Archie: Time Traveler was almost a thing, at least for a few seconds. Luckily, the VP in question was able to read the room and realized that Aguirre-Sacasa and Moore were not into the idea. It's OK, because he had a backup suggestion: portals. "[He goes], 'Portals are huge. This is a portal to another dimension,'" Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "We're just sitting there gobsmacked."
Portals were just the tip of the iceberg as far as alternative Archie visions are concerned. The VP's best idea may be who he wanted to play Archie Andrews in the high-concept film. "I think this is the greatest idea," Aguirre-Sacasa teased at the Riverdale panel. "He's like, 'What if Louis C.K. is Archie?'"
Take a second to picture that. Aguirre-Sacasa and Moore took a few weeks to try and make it work, but ultimately decided that high-concept, middle-aged dark comedian Archie was not the story they wanted to tell. The deal fell apart and all parties took a year away to work on other things before Schecter, the producer who originally bought Aguirre-Sacasa's original vision, got a job working with Berlanti. She called Aguirre-Sacasa to see if he'd be interested in taking his original vision of Archie to television. The rest, as they say, is history.
Riverdale premieres Jan. 26 at 9/8c on the CW.
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