All the Big Riverdale—and Potential Spinoff—Developments From the TCA Press Tour
Even though The CW lost Riverdale spinoff The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to Netflix—thanks to a massive two-year straight-to-series offer by the streaming platform—they may get their own expanded universe soon enough.
Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa already has plans for a new Riverdale spinoff for The CW, network president Mark Pedowitz revealed Monday at the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour, and Aquirre-Sacasa confirmed it’s coming very soon.
“It will hopefully be for this development cycle,” the writer/executive producer told reporters following his show’s panel. “We’re really excited but we’re still early on in the process. It will be very different from Riverdale.”
When asked if the spinoff will be based on a character who’s already been on the mothership show, Aguirre-Sacasa stayed mum. “I can’t say anything else!” Previously, Aguirre-Sacasa mentioned Josie and the Pussycats as potential spinoff material, in addition to, of course, Sabrina the teenage witch.
The showrunner also declined to specify whether the Netflix Sabrina is the same as the Sabrina that was originally being developed for The CW, but he echoed Pedowitz’s assertion that there were currently no plans for the two Archie Comics shows to cross over.
“Right now, we’re trying to make sure the shows have their own identity and their own set of rules,” he said.
As for the flagship show, the showrunner teased Episode 4 of the upcoming third season as a massive, pivotal moment, and also something very different, as it will flash back to the days when the parents of Riverdale were teenagers themselves.
To make things extra Riverdale weird, the younger versions of all the adult characters will be played by the younger cast members. KJ Apa will take on the role of Fred (Luke Perry), Cole Sprouse will play FP (Skeet Ulrich), Camilla Mendes will play Hermione (Marisol Nichols), and Lili Reinhart will play Alice (Madchen Amick).
In fact, Reinhart appears to be a driving force behind this episode’s inception.
“We’ve been talking about this for years. I think we were trying to do a flashback episode even in Season 1. I call it the Lili Reinhart Memorial episode,” Aguirre-Sacasa joked. “She’s been wanting to do a flashback episode for years and has talked about it for years.”
During the show’s panel, Amick revealed that Reinhart had already been “studying” Shelly Johnson, the character she played in Twin Peaks, for inspiration.
Beyond the novelty of seeing the cast play their parents, the episode, titled “The Midnight Club,” will also be a big one story-wise. “This is our version of The Breakfast Club, the Riverdale, much darker version,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “We’re going to learn about a really, really dark secret in Riverdale that the parents have been keeping since they were in high school.”
As for the show’s central romantic relationships, Varchie (Archie and Veronica) and Bughead (Jughead and Betty) seem more settled and stable than most teen dramas would portray. They’ll stay that way at least for the immediate future, according to the showrunner.
“I don’t think that love triangle [between Archie, Betty, and Veronica, a mainstay of the comics] is ever completely settled,” he said. “It’s a long journey, these kids are still in high school. We hope this is a long journey on the show. I don’t know. On some level, I can say that, we never in the writers’ room say, ‘okay, today we’re going to break up so and so.’ We follow the story and the story tells us a little bit. But right now, those couples—especially Bughed—they’re pretty solid.”
Jughead and Betty’s new status as a Serpent power couple will be a big part of the early episodes of Season 3. “I think Jughead is a really good leader of the Serpents,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “In the premiere, they’ll define what it means [for Betty] to be the Serpent Queen and whether they’re all in or not.”
The new season will also see a wedding, “between an ex-sheriff and an ex-mayor,” as well as, potentially, an episode that focuses heavily on the parents, with the younger characters only existing on the fringes.
“That’s the great thing about a long season,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “You get to do special episodes.”
(image: Warner Bros. Television/The CW)
Linda Ge is a writer and freelance journalist. She was most recently the TV Editor at Tracking Board and before that spent three years as a TV Reporter at trade publication TheWrap.
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