Riverdale will be premiering midseason next winter on the CW, and at San Diego Comic-Con, Hypable got the scoop on what you can expect when the classic characters from the comics get their TV teen drama debut.
We got the chance to speak to Riverdale’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who not only wrote Riverdale’s pilot, but is also the Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. The Riverdale series takes a darker spin on the original Archie characters as Riverdale becomes the center of a murder mystery. The show, which the cast was selling as a “teenage Twin Peaks is inspired by Aguirre-Sacasa’s successful 2013 book, Afterlife with Archie, minus the supernatural elements, and with a noir spin.
Because of Aguirre-Sacasa’s long-standing history and love of the Archie characters, he’s very protective about keeping the core of their characters true to who they’ve always been. At the same time, he is also willing to adapt the classic characters into modern times in order to witness their darker sides, and he told us that because the characters themselves are inspired by the bubbly comic, the tension of the show will always be about finding the balance between light and dark.
As for who his favorite character is, executive producer Aguirre-Sacasa told us that he’s most fond of Betty Cooper, calling her “The mouse that roared.” In the pilot alone we get to see Betty go through a huge transformation— in the beginning she’s a shy, nervous girl controlled by her mother’s expectations, but later, inspired by Veronica’s friendship, she finds her strength as a young woman who can vocalize what she feels she deserves out of her relationships.
Veronica and Betty’s unexpectedly organic and sincere friendship is the true highlight of the Riverdale pilot, and its importance seems to outshine even the relationship that either one has with Archie. The two central women of the infamous decades-long triangle aren’t catty with each other at all, instead choosing to support each other in their goals and against bullies like Cheryl Blossom. And just as Veronica empowers Betty to become braver, Veronica is at the same time focusing on becoming kinder. The depth of their friendship is a surprisingly welcome addition to the series, and it’s this subversion of tropes and archetypes that Aguirre-Sacasa hopes to carry on through throughout the season.
Speaking of subverting expectations, Josie from Josie in the Pussycats’s fame is bringing the fun to the often dark show by lightening the mood with her incredible voice and occasional mean girl antics. Those of us who loved the cartoon from back in the day might not remember that the character of Josie actually originated in the Archie comics, but just as the creators have cleverly woven her back into the fabric of Riverdale, we’ve been told that as the show goes on, we can hope to meet other fandom faves that originated from Archie’s world like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Katy Keene.