The Riverdale Cast Revealed A LOT at Comic-Con About Season 4
With season four of the CW's Riverdale premiering this Oct. 9, fans were very curious to find out what the show's cast might say during their San Diego Comic-Con panel.
Season three ended with a tantalizing cliffhanger, the passing of a beloved character and the futures of many other characters left in the air, so what exactly were they willing to reveal? Keep reading to discover what showrunner Francisco Aguirre-Sacasa and stars Madelaine Petsch, Camila Mendes, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse had to say about season four.
Starting With a Tribute
If you're a fan of Riverdale, you're probably aware that actor Luke Perry, who played Fred Andrews on the show, passed away suddenly earlier this year. In his honor, season four will begin with an episode that works as a tribute to both Luke and his character.
"When Luke passed, it was towards the end of season three," Francisco Aguirre-Acasa explained. "Rather than rush an episode or a storyline in, we took our time and the first two weeks we met as writers we just talked about this episode. We really wanted to honor Luke and Fred, and we wanted it to be a very special episode, kind of standalone, and really emotional and really focused on what this character meant to this group of people: his son, his friends, and really the entire town of Riverdale."
Luke Perry always wanted his Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Shannen Doherty to appear in an episode alongside him, which is why the crew worked so hard to ensure that she would appear in the first episode of the fourth season in his memory.
"I think it was cathartic for all of us," Jughead actor Cole Sprouse said. "It really put the cherry on top of that episode and really made a nice tribute. She was overjoyed to have the ability to share some of the burden of Luke's passing that she had gone through in a cathartic setting with the rest of us, and it was beautiful and touching. She's so talented, and was also so close to Luke that it seemed like a perfect fit for us."
With Fred Andrews gone, Archie is going to need more parental support than ever. In the next season, he'll be getting it from his mom Mary, played by Molly Ringwald.
"Molly was in Vancouver shooting an episode around when Luke passed," Roberto said. "She said, 'Please don't introduce Archie's uncle. I'd love to help out. I'd love to be more part of this.' We wanted the same thing, so she'll be Archie's mom more or less full-time this season."
"I think it's going to be nice," Archie actor KJ Apa added. "We haven't really gotten to dive into their relationship very much."
Senior Year at Riverdale
The fourth year of Riverdale also means the main characters are in their fourth year of high school, making them seniors. Francisco said he'd be making sure that they don't squander the last season in high school.
"Because they're too busy hunting serial killers and stuff, we haven't really dug deep into the high school world," he explained. "We're really playing senior year. It's the last time they're going to have a senior prom, the last time they're going to have a homecoming game. We're really digging in deep into the high school franchise."
This year will also introduce Dawson's Creek alum Kerr Smith as the new school principal, Mr. Honey.
Following Up a Cliffhanger
The last episode of season 3 ended on quite the tease, with Archie, Betty and Veronica covered in blood and burning their clothes, and the trio burning the absent Jughead's iconic beanie. What in the world was that?
"That's one of our big mysteries obviously," Roberto said. "Our mid-season finale is gonna be that night depicted in the flash-forward, and in the episodes leading up to it we're going to flash forward to other events from that night, and leading up to that night, so you'll start to piece it together."
Cole found the whole thing particularly symbolic.
"No more smelly hat. I like it," he joked. "I think the beanie and the whoopee cap served as the most iconic symbol from the Archie comic for 75 years, aside from KJ's rooster top, and I think the act of burning it is a really good hook. It's really interesting, but I'm not going to spoil anything."
Can you believe Riverdale has never had a Halloween episode? Up until now, the scheduling simply hasn't worked out, but this year's Halloween episode is scheduled to air on Oct. 30.
"We've got a really fun, spooky episode for everyone," Roberto said. "Someone dies—but no one at this table. I do know what Archie's going to be dressed as, and we're trying to get clearance on some DC comic book characters for Cheryl and Toni. And Betty is at home giving out candy to trick-or-treaters."
This episode will also be Madelaine Petsch's time to shine as Cheryl Blossom.
"It's her favorite time of year, naturally, as the gothic heroine that she is," Madelaine said.
Cheryl and Toni have grown to be one of our favorite onscreen couples of all time, and we're eager to see their relationship develop further, despite all of the drama happening in both their lives. For example, there's the whole matter of Cheryl spending time with the body of her deceased brother, Jason.
"A lot of people think it's funny that [Cheryl] has her brother in her basement, but remember that Edgar was hypnotizing her and using her brother's dead body for her to speak to Jason," Madelaine explained. "It kind of opened up this wound again for Cheryl and now she's got this Jason-sized hole in her heart, and the only way she could cope with the loss again is to bring him back and not really deal with it. Right now, her mental health is at an all-time low and she's talking to a dead body, and I think it's actually quite heartbreaking. We do have some funny elements to it to, because obviously, it's Cheryl."
And while fans don't yet know too many details about the life of Toni, Cheryl's girlfriend, the next season promises to reveal more about her.
"We are definitely getting her backstory," Roberto said. "We do know some things about Toni. We met her grandfather, once. We know her uncle wasn't supportive when Toni tried to come out, so we're definitely going to learn a little bit more about that."
Despite their struggles, the couple are starting off well in season four.
"I love them together," Madelaine said. "They're starting off well. Obviously, Cheryl is keeping a body-sized secret from her girlfriend, so we'll probably get into the stickiness of that in a little bit. But I, Madelaine, hope and believe that Choni is endgame. I think they're so sweet together and Toni brings out the best side of Cheryl."
So how are Veronica and Archie doing at the beginning of season 4? KJ Apa described their relationship as "solid as ever."
"Varchie's killing it right now," he said. "I think with both of them going through stuff this season, it's good that they have each other, and it means a lot to both of them."
In fact, the hardships they've both faced have actually brought them closer than ever.
"The last time when something tragic happened, [Veronica] didn't know what to do," Veronica actress Camila Mendes explained. "She didn't know how to be a girlfriend for him. But this time we see her really stepping up to the plate, being there and being supportive, being strong for him. It's made them stronger."
Veronica's also going to need that support this season, because her recently jailed father is not going to make life easy for her, even from behind bars.
"Veronica is no longer back and forth with her dad," Camila said. "He's a very clear villain in her life. The last season was her coming to terms with taking him down and being very adamant about that, which she succeeded in. I feel like getting her father in prison was her finally accepting that. In season four, we're going to see Veronica struggling with the repercussions of that, because Hiram is a vengeful person and he's going to be causing trouble. He's sending paparazzi to her, causing a distraction at school which kind of gets Veronica into trouble. And because Veronica's making headlines, that's making it complicated for her to apply to colleges."
And then there's the iconic Betty and Jughead, who've dealt with a lot last season with some major revelations about their parents and their pasts.
"[Betty] feels a little betrayed, clearly, for her mom having method-acted her way through that entire season, being an FBI informant," Lily explained. "But also she's grieving the loss of her father, whom she feels like she can't really miss because that would make her a bad person. The Black Hood was a murderer, but he was also a good father. There were years of him because good to her, so she's struggling to understand whether she can miss him or not. Whether that's morally right. And Jughead is there for her during that, which is really sweet."
And then there's the pesky discovery of their shared half-brother, Charles.
"I think there might be some awkward family dinners in the future, but I also think it's a good opportunity, if and when Alice returns from the Farm, for Alice and F.P. to maybe rekindle something," Lili said. "[Betty and Jughead] are not related by blood, so I guess it's fine, right?"
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also promised that we'd be seeing an onscreen kiss between Jughead's dad, F.P., and Betty's mom, Alice.
Bughead's relationship may also be strained by Jughead's going away to prep school.
"Jughead gets whisked away on a scholarship to a very Gossip Girl, Upper East Side, preppy, pretentious, richie rich, silver spoon school, and he's going to be the new blood," Cole said. "He's part of this writing scholarship, so he's part of this little Dead Poet's Society that they have over at the new school. Jughead's already a pretentious character, so he's going to be out-pretentioused by tall and beautiful people."
Jughead's new school will also be a big rival to Riverdale High, and we'll get to see Archie face off in football matches against the Stonewall Stags. He'll only be in Riverdale on the weekends, putting his relationship with Betty to a new kind of test.
"Betty is really supportive of him," Lili explained. "She thinks he's such a good writer and fully supported him going to the school. She wants the best for him and for his education. He wants to be the first Jones man to cool to college, so she's super supportive of him. As far as the relationship, I think they're strong, but I'm sure something's gonna happen."
"I'm sure at the prep school there's gonna be a little bit offbeat, outsider manic pixie dream girl, who's as offbeat as Jughead," Cole added. "I have no idea, but they're pretty strong right now. And I think the distance can make the heart grow fonder."
If you've read any Archie comics, you may know that Archie and the gang form a band called The Archies. The band will also form in this season of Riverdale.
"When I originally pitched the TV series, in my mind the end of season one was going to be a big battle of the bands between the Archies and the Pussycats," Roberto revealed. "Of course, the show then became what it became. So as we were getting ready to do a bunch of stories set in the high school because it was senior year, it was this year, or never. So we're doing a battle of the bands episode."
But if you prefer the series' musical episodes, don't fret. This season will also have one, and other songs will appear throughout the season as well.
Friendship lies at the heart of Riverdale, and we'll be seeing all of our favorite pairs continue to love and support each other through season four.
"I love B and V," Lili gushed. "I think they're so cute when they're together and they're just a really good duo. They're always very supportive of each other and I think they're going to need to lean on each other a lot, considering both of their parents are now away."
And you can't forget the original besties Archie and Jughead, whose friendship transcends beyond the screen. In fact, KJ and Cole's bond is so strong that it can sometimes be disruptive.
I don't know if it's okay for KJ and I to work together because we legitimately don't stop laughing," Cole said. "We waste so much time laughing. We've gone through scenes where KJ and I will make sure we're not looking each other in the eyes on our reverse coverage because the second we do, we will crack up. I think the whole crew has caught on now, and that's probably the best reason we shouldn't work together, is just because timing and scheduling get so backed up."
But Riverdale isn't just about its main couples. For example, season four will reinvest in one of its oldest friendships.
"We're telling a really strong Betty-Kevin story," Roberto said. "We were reminded when, every year we rewatch the pilot, that Kevin was always hanging out in Betty's bedroom. They were always gossiping and stuff, so we're getting back to that friendship."
And it's about time, because things have been a little tricky between the two thanks to some recent events.
"Betty's a little mad at him right now because the last time she saw him, he was dragging her across the floor, if you remember, to get her organs removed," Lili added. "So there are some reparations to be made."
The cast also teased that a past love interest of Kevin's would soon be appearing in Riverdale as well. There's also some unresolved business between Veronica and Reggie Mantle.
"One of the first things that happens is a reckoning between Reggie and Veronica, because we went from Reggie being over at Veronica's house and the next thing we know, Veronica's kissing Archie," Roberto said. "We're kind of getting underneath why Reggie acts the way he does and we've alluded to some problems in the Mantle household, so we're going to go unpack that and it's a great friendship story."
And even though Josie McCoy has left the town of Riverdale to join the cast of the upcoming Katy Keene series on the CW, she'll be back for the first episode of season four.
"And even though it breaks the space-time continuum, we probably will be doing a Katy Keane–Riverdale crossover," Roberto added.
Even the cast doesn't know what lies in store for them in season four, but each of them had a few words to say about what they want to see moving forward.
"I would love to see more dream sequence stuff with the classic outfits," Cole said. "I'm still convinced that's the actual timeline, and that Jughead is asleep just dreaming Riverdale. I love those outfits, so I'd love to see that kind of sequence again."
Lili, on the other hand, would just like to see Betty relax, for one.
"A chance for her to cut loose and do some fun things, perhaps," she suggested. "Maybe she needs to party it up a little bit her senior year."
KJ revealed that he'd love to explore more of what makes Archie tick.
"We've seen the dark side of Archie, especially when he was dealing with Hiram, so I think it'd be cool to see where that comes from and explore that a little more," he said.
And Camila wants to explore a new common thread with Jughead.
"I think it'd be cool to see a little bit more of Veronica's backstory," she said. "Especially now that Jughead's going to prep school, which is Veronica's past, basically, so it'd be cool to see if there's some kind of story there reconciling her past."
Last, but definitely not least, Madelaine would love to see Cheryl take care of herself more.
"Therapy!" she said. "I wasn't kidding about therapy. I think she needs to get in there yesterday. And just to be happy, and obviously more Choni. Always more Choni."
While you wait for season four to air, click HERE to find out which Riverdale guy is your perfect match.