If you're a casual Riverdale or Archie Comics fan, and not really on top of things, you could easily have missed a bunch of stuff this week -- becuase here was news seemingly non-stop for a while.
There was not only the season finale this week -- which introduced a lot of big ideas and set up a huge cliffhanger for season 2 -- but also numerous big interviews and not one but two significant pieces of casting news to keep up on.
The week started like most, with a featurette tied to the upcoming episode, along with a poster and a musical clip (something that's become a staple of Riverdale on the weeks that feature musical performances).
Then, the episode aired and the "seal" broke on a handful of stories people couldn't have talked about without spoiling.
What came next is where things got a little crazy...
When you see Archie Andrews wearing a cast in the second half the Riverdale finale, that's not just Archie: series star KJ Apa actually broke his hand while performing a scene in which his character beats desperately at the icy surface of Sweetwater River.
“In a weird way, and I told this to KJ, the second we knew that Archie was going to be punching through ice, I literally said, ‘now guys, KJ is such a committed actor, he’s so method, he’s so in this character and passionate, you have to make sure he doesn’t hurt this hand.’ So when at the end of that day I got a phone call that KJ had maybe broken his hand, I was like ‘Yup,’” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told ComicBook.com. “He puts it all out there for the screen, that’s for sure.”
Last chance to turn back before major finale spoilers.
In the scene, pictured in several of the promotional images and trailers for the finale, Archie desperately tries to break the ice in time to save Cheryl Blossom, who is trapped underneath.
“I think for me, that moment — that’s so visceral, and so good,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said of the scene. “You know, KJ broke his hand doing that scene. That’s why he has a cast and his hand is covered by a jacket in a lot of scenes in a weird way. For me, that moment is all about, if Archie hadn’t been there, they would not have been able to save Cheryl. Only Archie could have done that, and that really does speak to him being a hero.”
In a quick turnaround, The CW released a deleted scene from the finale as soon as the finale itself was over on the East Coast.
Ross Butler won't be around for season 2, with a second season of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why taking a priority spot in his contract, but he almost made it into the finale tonight.
Above, you can check out a deleted scene from "The Sweet Hereafter," the season finale of Riverdale, which just finished airing on the East Coast.
In the clip, Betty and Veronica take Polly Cooper into school...and she encounters Butler's Reggie Mantle along the way. It's an interaction that may not have made it past network standards and practices.
“We love what Ross did with the role of Reggie [this season], but because of his commitments to other projects, we couldn’t use him nearly as much as we would have liked,” series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement. “[Next season], we want more Reggie on our show — he’s Archie’s rival! — and because Ross is unavailable to come back to Riverdale, we’re looking for a new Reggie. Those are big shoes to fill, but we’re confident we can find an actor who is as funny and sexy as Ross. And of course we all wish Ross the best.”
The actor is a series regular on Netflix's 13 Reasons Why, which is likely to earn a second-season pickup from the streaming service. While the show is based on a novel that didn't have a sequel, its author has said that he toyed with the idea of writing a follow-up, and that he hoped there would be a second season for the show.
While Reggie is a major character in the comics -- and was actually significant enough to be in the theme song to The Archie Show, an animated series which ran for 17 episodes in 1968 and 1969. He is one of the possible "casualties" of the upcoming "On the Edge" storyline, in which Archie Comics has promised dire consequences for at least one Riverdale Resident.
With so many superhero shows on The CW, it seemed pretty unlikely Archie's Red Circle/Dark Circle superhero characters would end up appearing on Riverdale.
Shows what we know.
This week's finale introduced a masked gunman who doesn't act anything like The Black Hood, but certainly looks the part and, by the sounds of it, will end up with the name.
For the uninitiated, Black Hood is a vigilante superhero who was established in the Archie Comics (then MLJ Comics) canon in 1940. Usually depicted as a skilled detective and fighter, the character became a huge success, even earning his own radio show. While Black Hood's alter-ego and origin have gone through multiple iterations in the decades since, a majority of them factor into the world of crime.
The similarities between the masked man in the show's final act, and the most recent adaptation of Black Hood, seemed too prominent to be a coincidence. When asked about the parallels, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told ComicBook.com the following:
"I like to say that there are no accidents. So yeah, it's possible that that is an homage to the Black Hood."
Whether or not the masked man will actually adopt that title is yet to be seen. But Aguirre-Sacasa teased that the gunman will be christened with "a very specific name" by the Riverdale Register's Alice Cooper early in the Riverdale's second season.
At the end of the finale, one of Riverdale's most beloved residents was shot (by that Black Hood guy), and his fate is currently up in the air.
It won't be long before fans know what happens to Fred -- although it likely won't be revealed in the promotional run-up to the premiere, so "not long" is relative. You'll have to wait until the start of season 2 to find out.
Still, it will be early in season 2, and whether Fred makes it or not, Luke Perry will be in the episode.
“Fred’s fate will be revealed at the top of season 2, and for Luke Perry fans, Luke Perry absolutely will be in the season premiere of season 2.”
We have a pretty exhaustive rundown of the cliffhanger here, with comments from showrunner Robert Aguirre-Sacasa.
Throughout the season finale of Riverdale, there were several little dialogue teases and even a comic book Easter egg suggesting that the show might be preparing to introduce Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
One of the most popular and marketable characters in the Archie pantheon, and one who has already had a live-action TV show in the past, Sabrina didn't make the cut -- and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said that while they considered it, part of the reason was that the writers believed the introduction of Sabrina, and the supernatural in general, might detract form other things going on in the finale.
“There’s no secret that I love that character, and that that character is a huge part of the Archie universe,” Aguirre-Sacasa, who writes the comic book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, told ComicBook.com. “The truth is, we did talk a lot about introducing Sabrina, but she’s such an important character and it’s such a big idea to introduce the supernatural into a natural world that honestly when we got to the finale — it was before that, it was maybe a couple of months before that — we kind of realized that there was so much stuff to play that if we introduced Sabrina, it would kind of overshadow everything that we had planned. The show kind of has hints of the supernatural throughout it; there are visions of Jason as a ghost, as a zombie. Archie sees werewolves. There’s a lot of talk about angry, pagan gods and there’s a voodoo doll. We are going to continue exploring the idea of the supernatural being on the fringes of Riverdale, and that might be to lead up to Sabrina’s arrival or that might just be to make it more like Twin Peaks and the way they dealt with the supernatural.”
In Twin Peaks, the supernatural was very much a part of the story, but it was generally done in a vague and eccentric way rather than the overt way a character like Sabrina typically operates. In addition to the supernatural, the recent novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks dove deep into UFO lore, implying that might become a part of the forthcoming third season of Twin Peaks on Showtime.
Producers have repeatedly teased the idea that Sabrina could appear on Riverdale, and had strongly hinted that she could appear in the pilot, but always stopped short of making promises. Whether or not this comic book is the only time she will appear on camera in the episode remains to be seen. At least one major Archie character has been promised to make a debut in the finale, but that seems likely to be Hiram Lodge, a character whose actor was recently announced and who, we discovered last night, will be home from his own jail sentence soon.
Sabrina is a major player in the Archie Comics pantheon, even if she isn't necessarily part of the same circles the other Riverdale characters tend to travel in. She has appeared in various TV series over the last 20 years, starting with a long-running live-action adaptation starring Melissa Joan Hart and followed up by a few short-lived animated shows.
Given the fact that the live-action show just turned 20, it wouldn't be totally unreasonable to guess that The CW might seek out Melissa Joan Hart to play one of Sabrina's aunts, if indeed she were to make an appearance. She had recently suggested that a reboot of the property was possible.
The character kickstarted the events of the horror spinoff Afterlife With Archie, which showrunners have teased as potential Halloween episodes, "Treehouse of Horror"-style. The comic centers on a version of Riverdale that is overrun by zombies after Sabrina tries to resurrect Hot Dog, Jughead's dog, when it's killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Hot Dog made his first onscreen appearance in tonight's Riverdale finale.
As of July, Aguirre-Sacasa told ComicBook.com that the "Afterlife" episodes were still on the table.
Riverdale is influenced by the "New Riverdale" relaunch of Archie's long-running teen comedy comics, in which Sabrina recently appeared in Jughead story. The two had a date which devolved into a prank war when it didn't go well.
Casey Cott, who played fan-favorite character Kevin Keller on the first season of Riverdale, has been upgraded to series regular for season two of the CW drama.
The son of the sheriff, Kevin played a fairly minor role in the first season but his screen will increase next season, perhaps as the dual investigations into un-answered questions about Jason Blossom and the masked gunman from the end of the finale collide.
During the show's first season, Kevin's biggest storyline was a star-crossed romance with Joaquin, a member of the South Side Serpents biker gang; Joaquin was instrumental in the resolution of the Jason Blossom murder, but left town in the season's penultimate episode last week.
In the series premiere, Kevin had a brief fling with Moose Mason, a closeted Riverdale football player -- a story that would seem likely to make another appearance as producers have expressed a desire for football captain Reggie Mantle to play a bigger role in season 2.
Keller, created in 2010 by Dan Parent, was the first major LGBT character introduced in the comics (he is gay), and is the most popular new character created for the franchise in decades.
Besides appearing in Archie and related titles, Kevin Keller had his own series from 2011 until 2014. He appeared in the Life With Archie flash-forward series, in which Archie ultimately sacrificed his life to save Kevin from an assassin.
Currently, Archie is releasing a Parent-written digital miniseries titled Life With Kevin, which deals with Kevin's life after leaving Riverdale but prior to the events of Life With Archie.
After having decided to find a new Reggie for season 2, Riverdale found its new antagonist in Charles Melton, another relative newcomer, and the show's previous Reggie had some kind words for the show and his replacement.
Melton has previously appeared in minor roles on Glee, where he may have met Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, as well as on American Horror Story.
In the comics, Reggie is a major part of the Riverdale gang, Archie Andrews's arch-nemesis and something of the town bully. He is significant enough that he made his way into the theme song of the 1960s The Archie Show animated series, second only two Archie himself.
On screen, Reggie had a significantly smaller role; while he fought with Archie in the show's second episode and then dueled with him to become the captain of the football team a few weeks later, for the most part Reggie's role was minor.
That was dictated largely by the availability -- or lack thereof -- of actor Ross Butler, who joined the cast of Riverdale around the same time he took a role on Netflix's 13 Reasons Why.
It was the second-season pickup for 13 Reasons Why that precipitated the need to recast Reggie.
“We love what Ross did with the role of Reggie [this season], but because of his commitments to other projects, we couldn’t use him nearly as much as we would have liked,” Aguirre-Sacasa said last month when the recasting was first announced.
“I’m so happy that The CW, Greg [Berlanti], Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa], David [Rapaport] and Sarah [Schechter] gave me, an Asian-American, a chance to play a traditionally-caucasian character, Reggie,” Butler said in a video posted to Twitter. “In light of recent casting news, I am even more excited and more proud that they decided to keep Reggie Asian-American. It means a lot to me, it means a lot to the Asian-American community, and so I just wanted to say thank you guys again, one more time. I support Charles Melton all the way, passing the baton off.”
Believe it or not, there was even more than just this that happened this week. We hit the highlights, but there are some things below that fall into the category of speculation or PR rather than the "news you need to know."
Check out the links below, and check back on Thursday when there's no new episode of Riverdale -- but the show will be represented at The CW's upfronts presentation in New York, so some announcements will likely be made.
Riverdale finished out its first season on Thursday night. It will return for a second season on The CW, but it isn't yet clear whether it will be a fall or midseason premiere. More information on that will likely come out next week during the network's upfront presentation.
- 5 Craziest Moments In Riverdale's First Season
- Riverdale EP Teases Archie And Betty's Future In Season 2
- How Could Sabrina Fit Into Riverdale Season 2?
- Riverdale Recap With Spoilers: Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter