Riverdale Showrunner Teases Final Season Doesn't Really Have a True Villain

Over the course of its first six seasons, The CW's Riverdale has had some wild plots and even wilder villains, but when the series returns for its seventh and final season in early 2023, fans of the Town with Pep shouldn't expect the same kind of villain. According to series showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, there's not a true "big bad" for Season 7 per se, but more of a struggle between the characters and the world they've found themselves in. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Aguirre-Sacasa said that the 1950s themselves create quite a bit of conflict for the characters.

"It's more about our characters finding their way in the constricting, dark realities of the 1950s, trying to discover themselves in a really repressive, conformist, homophobic, racist world," he said. "The biggest struggle is our characters trying to live authentic individualistic lives during a time period where that was really hard to do."

He went on to say that the season is probably the "most grounded" for the series, but that doesn't mean there isn't a bit of mystery as well.

"Something very, very dark happens at the end of episode 2," he teased.

Why is Riverdale's final season set in the 1950s?

As fans will recall from the Season 6 finale, in its final moments, Riverdale reset to the 1950s and back to highs school after an encounter with an apocalyptic comet and only Jughead remembers their previous lives. According to Aguirre-Sacasa, this shift to the past will take on the 1950s as its own genre — including confronting the myth of the time period versus the reality.

"Thank god the '50s were as crazy as they were because it's been so fun to be in that world," he said "Every season we explore the tropes of a specific genre, be it supernatural, be it pulp, be it crime. This year our genre is the 1950s, so we're in dialogue with the American myth of what the 1950s were versus the reality."

How does the time setting change Riverdale?

Aguirre-Sacasa also noted that the shift in time setting also creates a change in some of the characters and their general origins, including a Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) that is from Los Angeles instead of New York and a more "innocent" Archie Andrews (KJ Apa).

"In Season 1, Veronica arrived from New York, and in the 1950s, she's arrived from Los Angeles," he said. "She grew up in 1950s Hollywood, so it's similar but different from Season 1. She's still an outsider and a socialite, very different from everyone else."

He continued, "Archie feels much more innocent than we've ever depicted him on Riverdale. When we meet Archie here, he is a clean cut 1950s teen. We describe him a little bit as a Richie Cunningham-type from Happy Days and he's on his own journey. He's a more innocent, romantic kind of character."

Riverdale will return for its seventh and final season sometime in 2023 on The CW.