Riverdale Showrunner Explains Why the 1950s Is the Perfect Setting for The CW Series' Final Season (Exclusive)

Riverdale returns Wednesday night for its seventh and final season and as fans of the long-running series saw at the end of Season 6, the return comes with a twist. Archie and the gang survived Bailey's Comet, but somehow, they ended up back in high school in the process — in the 1950s. The era change is a big one for the series, one that gives the show a look and feel not unlike that of the iconic comics, but according to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, there's more to the time shift than just aesthetics. Speaking with ComicBook.com, he explained why the 1950s was the perfect place to go for Riverdale's final season and it comes down to the idea of the era being so iconic for the characters as well as being a good place to center this last big villain.

"It is true, though the Archie started publishing much earlier than the 1950s, the decade that most people associate with Archie comics is the 1950s for whatever reason.

The Archie comics, they're so nostalgic, and I think when people think of time periods, they think of the 1950. Through the lens of nostalgia. So that was one big thing," Aguirre-Sacasa said. "Absolutely. And even when we've done their iconic comic book costumes from the past, even though they were technically the 1940s, whenever anyone would write about it, they'd say, 'Oh my God, they're wearing their 1950s outfits.' So, it was sort of like, 'Okay, well, that is ... 'And even when we were pitching Riverdale, and this is true, when we were pitching Riverdale to try to do a TV show, the executives would say, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute. Is this a show set in the '50s?' And it's like, 'No, no, no, it's set in present day.'  So, there was that."

He continued, "The other big thing that felt really resonant is the 1950s were when the modern idea of the teenager was born. Teenagers really didn't ... Teenagers as we know them, and as consumers of popular culture, as consumers of movies and television and comic books and things like that, that really ... The birth of the American of the modern American teenager was the 1950s as well. So, it felt like, "Oh, well that's Archie." I mean, that is Archie. So, it felt like this is the time period, this is actually the time period. So those were also things that kind of resonated with us and why we landed on this time period. Also later ... and the world is roiling later in the '60s with counterculture, with the civil rights movement, with the sort of a gay liberation movement and things like that. And it felt like in terms of our thematic, which is the wholesome sweet innocent facade, and then the darker, more dangerous, more fraught themes and issues bubbling underneath, it felt like the '50s sort of suited that to a T."

It's those counterculture elements and the idea of something darker under an innocent facade that also lends itself to the idea of at least one of the "big bads" of the season: society itself.

"Usually, when we talk about the season, when we're planning the season, we usually have a big bad or a villain that all of the kids are at some point or other engaging with and fighting against. And in season six, it was Percival Pickens who was an intergalactic time-traveling sorcerer. But when we were talking about this season, we really felt like the villain or what they were fighting against society was the 1950s," he said. "And that the conflict that all of our characters to some extent or other were caught up in was, how do we live honest, authentic lives that are individualistic and that allows us to be exactly who we want to be in a society that represses that and that demands conformity and that punishes anyone who falls outside of the carefully constructed mores of the 1950s, the institutions of the '50s celebrated, which is to say via traditional American family, traditional American gender roles, traditional ... a social order that has since been exploded and broken down and rebuilt time and time again since that time? So, it felt like the villain, if there was one, were the 1950s. And by the way, we have characters that symbolize that... but the big conflict was with society at large and them sort of bristling against that."

Are you excited for the seventh and final season of Riverdale? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Riverdale's Season 7 premiere will air on Wednesday, March 29th at 9/8c on The CW.