Riverdale returns this week for an even darker journey through a seemingly idyllic town.
The second season will pick up immediately after Season 1 left off with the shooting of Fred Andrews (Luke Perry). While the murder of Jason Blossom in the first season started the town on a dark path, Fred's shooting will open up a whole new void in Riverdale's soul, starting with its golden boy Archie (KJ Apa).
Archie is going down a dark path of his own in the second season as his friends try to bring him back from the edge and try to figure out who could do such a terrible thing to a local hero. At the same time, Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) and a few other new characters have come to town and are going to really shake things up.
TV Guide talked to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about the new direction for the show and what fans can expect as the Riverdale ride only gets crazier.
Is there going to be an extra element in Season 2 like the dead body was in Season 1?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: I think there's definitely some fallout and we're playing out the ramifications of the Jason's murder. I don't think you ever want to launch something on fumes. We've got a big, big mystery which is who shot Fred Andrews and why? That kicks off the season. Unlike last season where it was a murder mystery and it was sort of like unraveling the past, the backstory and the relationships, this one is a little bit more muscular in that there is a danger all around the town — the sense that something horrible is going to happen as opposed to we're just investigating a murder that already happened.
How is the shooting going to affect the adults considering that Fred is one of their own?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I think all of the parents are terrified. I think they are terrified that if something like this could happen in Pops, what's to say it couldn't happen at school? What's to say it couldn't happen in their homes? What's to say it couldn't happen at their work or at the street corner? One of the fun things about Riverdale is that our parents are in their way as messed up as the kids and dealing with as much stuff as the kids. They ultimately are protective of their kids and love their kids. They're very destabilized by [the shooting] and they're going to try and protect their kids at all costs.
Archie is going a lot darker this season. Is there a limit to how dark Archie can go before he's no longer recognized as Archie Andrews from the comics?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I hope there is because Archie is at core an optimistic character. I think he's a good character. In Season 1, he really wasn't an anti-hero. He was the rock, the steady kind of reliable guy trying to be there for his friends, trying to be there for his family. That was kind of Archie's core. He is kind of more of an anti-hero in Season 2. That's a nice different take on Archie that I find appealing, that I hope people will find appealing. I hope it never gets so dark that we're thinking, "Oh God, this isn't Archie."
The CW did a great little teaser trailer and it shows Archie with a gun. A lot of people are like, "How can Archie have a gun?" I love that juxtaposition of the the classic ideology and iconography and mythology and juxtaposing it with darker elements. It just can't be darkness. There has to be the lightness and brightness and pop of the characters that we know from the comic books.
Speaking of the comic books, Reggie is going to have a bigger role in Season 2. How does he figure into this and how will he challenge Archie?
Aguirre-Sacasa: I am so excited for the world to discover the actor who plays Reggie. Our new Reggie is an actor named Charles Melton. He is wonderful. I love this guy. He is so sexy, such a terrific actor though. I really feel like last season people loved Betty and Veronica. One of the things that they loved about it was their friendship. It was nice that Betty and Veronica, no matter what was going on, they always sort of had a daily antagonism with Cheryl Blossom. She was always causing problems for Betty and Veronica. In Archie, he was estranged from Jughead. There was some estrangement from Betty because he didn't want to be with Betty. He didn't really for some time have a close friend. Reggie is great because he is both. He is Archie's best-bro friend and he's also an antagonist to Archie, much like Reggie in the comic book is. It's nice to have that character be a part of the fabric of our world. He spices up whatever Archie story we're telling.
Is Reggie going to fill a hole for Archie since Jughead is at a new school and has his own drama going on with the Serpents?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Jughead and Archie are still friends even though Jughead is at a different school. The truth about Riverdale is that we spent very little time in the classrooms. I'm hoping that Jughead is still very much in Archie's world and very much in Betty's world. They do interact. Reggie is much more integrated into Archie's day-to-day drama and absolutely feels more like he's part of the gang.
You've been teasing that "Bughead" has some challenges this season. What is the biggest threat to their relationship at the start of Season 2?
Aguirre-Sacasa: The biggest thing is the differences between Jughead and Betty that we explored in Season 1, that she's from the right side of the tracks and he's from the wrong side of the tracks. She's the peppy, all-American girl next door and he's sort of a much more brooding, internal, writerly character. [All that] gets dialed up to 100 because Jughead is sort of investigating and maybe even joining the gang his father was a part of. I think it's a lot more of the culture clashing. It's a lot more about class. They're figuring out who they are while they are in a pretty intense relationship with someone else. That's always challenging because they are still finding out who they are and changing.
Veronica is also in a very intense relationship with Archie. It seems there's a lot going on for them too at the start of the season: her dad is back, there's an ex coming back to town. How are those things going to affect her and her ability to be there for Archie?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Veronica is a great character because she is unflappable, though she does get flapped sometimes. She's got a "can-do" attitude. She's hard to knock down because she'll get right back up. Those challenges are exactly what's coming at her. If there is one sort of achilles heel that Veronica has, it's her father. Veronica has some very big daddy issues. They are going to come rushing to the forefront with the introduction of her father played by the wonderful actor Mark Consuelos...He really shakes that up.
Traditionally, in the comic books, Veronica's father hates Archie. We're never going to be that simplistic. That's a challenge as well, kind of a classic challenge. Veronica is going to have to choose between her father and her boyfriend. That is something that comes up a lot in their relationship.
What are you most excited for fans to see in Season 2?
Aguirre-Sacasa: We're introducing a few new characters. I really am super excited for people to meet Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge and Charles Melton as Reggie. We've got a wonderful actress named Vanessa Morgan who is playing Toni Topaz, who is a student that goes to Southside High. Honestly, what excites me the most and what I love about my job more than anything is getting a chance to spend more time with these characters that I love and that I think people have really connected with and responded to. I think there's more suspense in this season. It's a little bit scarier. It's a little sexier.
I've always loved action-packed episodes. Right out of the gate we're telling big, big stories and introducing big conflicts...We're going to see more of Kevin Keller. We're going to see more of Josie and the Pussycats. We're bringing them into our daily world much more so it's not just music stories we are telling with them. More Cheryl Blossom! I am excited about settling into the town and spending more time there with everyone.
Riverdale Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 8/7c on The CW.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)