While the love triangle between Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, and Veronica Lodge is at the heart of most Archie Comics tales, it is only one of a handful of stories playing a major role in Riverdale, the forthcoming TV series set in the world of those comics.
Romance very much drives a lot of story on Riverdale but, at least in the early going, there are two powerful, independent women who very much stand toe to pedicured toe with the jocks, the cops, Archie, and the rest: Josie McCoy and Cheryl Blossom.
The actors who play the characters, Ashleigh Murray and Madelaine Petsch, respectively, have described the pair as queen bees, with their own interests and domains. Josie and her Pussycats utterl dominate the Riverdale live-music scene, and Cheryl is the head cheerleader and one of the most popular (and, of course, loathed) girls in school.
The death of Cheryl's brother is the event that rocks Riverdale at the start of the pilot, so the likelihood is she won't be hooking up anytime soon. For Josie, she's pretty married to her music...and the performers like it that way.
“Neither of us are tied to any men yet,” Petsch told ComicBook.com. “When my brother dies, it becomes very hard for me to move on because he was my best friend, but then I find this independence within myself and I kind of march on to the beat of my own drum because nobody likes me at school. I’m kind of a queen bee, even my friends are betraying me. It’s definitely nice to be able to carry this independence into 2017 — it’s kind of the generation of being a strong, independent woman.”
Murray added that she believed having that kind of independence -- and a wide variety of powerful women that audiences can watch across a broad spectrum of personalities and interests -- is appealing.
“I think it’s really important,” Murray said. “Having read the comics, they’re always kind of sweet. There’s always a neat button — beginning, middle, and end — but with the women characters as the comics have evolved, there’s always a naivety….I think it’s really great to show that we’re both powerful and strong. We’re not ditzy, we’re very pointed about everything that we’re doing, we know what we’re doing, we don’t need anybody to guide us and tell us it’s okay, you can do that.”
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Riverdale stars KJ Apa as Archie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camilla Mendes as Veronica Lodge, and Luke Perry as Archie's father Fred Andrews, among others. The series' showrunner is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Archie Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer and the writer of Afterlife With Archie, the publisher's wildly popular zombie series.