Here’s everything you need to know about Heathers before Riverdale takes it on.
Riverdale’s Carrie musical episode was one of the highlights of season 2, resulting in the return of the Black Hood, and we’re hoping for this year’s musical to be just as game-changing. Riverdale is always dramatic, but when you add choreography and high stakes high notes to the mix, it takes things up an octave!
Heathers is a cult-classic dark comedy from 1988 starring Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen Doherty. In 2014, it also became an Off-Broadway musical, which is what Riverdale will be taking on. Here’s the cast list that was released for Riverdale High’s Heathers musical.
While Heathers has only increased in popularity since the late ’80s, we’re sure there are still a lot of Riverdale fans who haven’t seen it. So, before Riverdale’s Heathers musical episode, airing on March 20, here’s everything you need to know!
Spoiler warning: This post obviously contains spoilers for Heathers. If you’d rather just watch it with no spoilers, stop reading now and come back after to see how we think the story line will play out on Riverdale.
The story starts with 3 (and a half) mean girls
Heathers begins with three girls, all named Heather, playing croquet. While they’re clearly all best friends, it’s also obvious theirs is a bond built on fear and mutual gain rather than true camaraderie. They’re not overly nice to each other, and they’re definitely not nice to anyone else.
The three Heathers, Heather Chandler (Cheryl), Heather McNamara (Veronica) and Heather Duke (Betty), all participate in the reign of terror on their high school, but Heather Chandler is the clear ring leader that the other girls take their cues, and sometimes orders, from.
The other, somewhat reluctant, member of the group is Veronica Sawyer (Josie). Although she’s not a Heather, she’s often called upon by the group to participate in their schemes and she seems to be on equal footing with Heather Chandler as the other Heathers, if only because her extreme intelligence makes up for her more sardonic and edgy nature. Veronica does hang out with the Heathers and participates in their bullying, but she also resents what they do and stand for.
Enter: A boy
A new boy in school, J.D. (Sweet Pea), quickly gets Veronica’s attention. He’s pretty disgusted by everything the Heathers are doing and makes that clear, right from the start. Since Veronica’s equally over the Heather-regime, they bond and start dating almost immediately.
We’re very excited that Sweet Pea and Josie will be playing a couple in the Riverdale musical episode! The fact that they were an item was introduced and glossed over way too quickly, and we want to see way more of it. Archie and Josie might be together right now, but Sweet Pea was clear that he wanted more from Josie, so maybe he’ll use this opportunity to win her back.
There’s a lot of death — including one from a blue mouth
Veronica and J.D. are both eager to give Heather Chandler a taste of her own medicine, but they have very different ideas of how to do that. While Veronica sets up a prank to make Heather drink a gross mixture of orange juice and milk, J.D. takes a more sinister approach and adds liquid drainer to the concoction, which instantly kills Heather Chandler upon drinking, leaving her asphyxiated with a blue mouth!
Since Midge died in the Carrie musical episode at the hands of the Black Hood, we’re scared this means that Cheryl is the Gargoyle King’s next victim. Whether it’s Cheryl or not, we’re almost positive someone will be leaving the stage with cyanide in their system.
Veronica and J.D. manage to pass Heather Chandler’s death off as a suicide, along with a few more homicides (accidental on Veronica’s part, intentional on J.D.’s) of the school’s popular elite. This includes Kurt (Archie) and Ram (Reggie), who die in a weird threesome scenario setup with Veronica. Throughout Heathers, it becomes more and more clear that J.D. is unstable, but he continues to convince Veronica that what they’re doing is okay.
Their actions lead to a misled glorification of suicide at the school and a couple real suicide attempts, including one from Heather McNamara. This all culminates in J.D. tricking the school into signing a mass suicide note, with the intention of blowing up the entire school to send some sort of message. Veronica comes to her senses, realizing that he has just become a different form of tyrant in her life, and manages to stop him.
J.D. then uses one of his explosives and a suicide bomber vest to commit suicide himself. This also scares us in terms of Sweet Pea’s fate in the Riverdale musical episode. Here’s to hoping for more love and less loss for the Serpents!
Other themes to potentially watch out for in the musical episode is murders being passed off as suicides, particularly where the Gargoyle King and the Farm are concerned. Evelyn Evernever is playing Ms. Fleming, a teacher who attempts to use the “suicides” to foster togetherness within the school. Also, it’s possible that they’ll echo the theme of kids being responsible for the crimes, since that is a very big part of Heathers.
Cheryl’s character is especially mean to Toni’s character
Toni is playing Betty Finn, who is one of the stereotypical “nerd” characters that the Heathers terrorize. Given what Cheryl and Toni went through in the last episode of Riverdale, this could mean we’re in for some cruel moments between Cheryl and Toni. Either that, or these scenes will serve to bring the girls together again (wishful thinking but fingers crossed).
Betty’s character takes over where Cheryl’s character left off
After Heather Chandler’s death, J.D. coaches Heather Duke to become the new queen bee so he can use her to further his agenda. This could mean that Betty is heading for a big shift, which would make sense now that her house has been sold to the Joneses and she could become more involved with the Farm plot.
Veronica has a strange relationship with her parents
Veronica Sawyer has a very tense and strange relationship with her elite parents that’s not unlike Veronica Lodge’s relationship with her own. We know Josie is playing Veronica in the Riverdale Heathers musical, but maybe they’ll have some fun with the Veronica name, as well.
In Heathers, in order to stop J.D., Veronica fakes her own suicide, which her mother walks in on. Maybe Veronica will be forced to take drastic action to get through to Hermione and Hiram in this episode of Riverdale.
Here’s the trailer for the Riverdale musical episode, in which they’ll take on Heathers! The episode will air on the CW on March 20, 8/7c.