The first season of “Riverdale” saw murders, suicides, and shootings – and the show’s creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa promises Season 2 will only get darker.
While the series’ central puzzle following who killed Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) was pieced together in Season 1, the events of the finale created new questions – namely who is behind the shooting of Fred Andrews (Luke Perry). But Aguirre-Sacasa says the most important part of that event is not necessarily the “who” but instead the ripple effects of the tragedy on the core characters.
“It’s going to be less of a murder-mystery this season, and more of a suspenseful thriller type of show,” Aguirre-Sacasa tells Variety.
Aguirre-Sacasa talks with Variety ahead of the Season 2 premiere about changing cast dynamics, the future of Betty and Jughead, and how Fred’s future will impact Archie.
Just how much darker is Season 2 going to get?
The stakes for more of the characters are going to actually be life and death. Archie [KJ Apa] is a really good barometer for the entire show. Because of what happened with Fred in the finale – because he saw his father get shot in Pop’s – he’s on a darker journey. He’s at the heart of the show and is the show’s moral compass in a weird way. By virtue of the fact that Archie is on a darker journey, the show itself is also on a darker journey.
How is Archie coping with his father getting shot?
One of the strongest connections he has in his life is with his father, so when that is threatened, he goes through a wide range of emotions and actions. Even in the premiere, KJ gives a tour de force performance. He goes through anger and grief and denial. What happens in a really great, powerful way is he turns to his friends to support him and his friends are there to support him, especially Veronica [Camila Mendes], who really steps up and helps him through the fires. It’s not just the premiere, the first half of the season is really Archie’s drive is to understand what happened to Fred and to get revenge on the person who did this.
What does Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) future with the Southside Serpents look like?
At the end of the finale, the Serpents gave Jughead a jacket, and he put it on. It definitely felt like some kind of homecoming, or like a piece of Jughead that had been missing had been plopped in. I think it’s safe to say you don’t join a gang just by putting a jacket on, and Jughead, who is an outsider and a loner by nature, is wrestling with whether to join or not join. He loves his father, who is a Serpent. His father is in a lot of trouble, the Serpents have caused a lot of trouble, and he is worried that he might not approve of that choice. He’s wrestling with it in the premiere, but it’s also part of his bigger arc in the season.
Is it going to take a toll on his relationship with Betty (Lili Reinhart)?
It’s going to test it. Betty is the quintessential girl next door, and her mother disproves of the Serpents, of course. Jughead’s going to a different school and exploring what it would look like to be friends with the Serpents and perhaps join the Serpents. That’s going to create natural distance between him and Betty because he’s going on a journey she’s not going on. It’s going to challenge them.
Will Jughead transferring schools affect the core four’s dynamic?
Yeah, for sure. At first he doesn’t want to commit or invest in the other school, he’s trying to hang on to his friends at Riverdale High. As the season progresses, we start exploring his roles more and more at Southside High, and we do start meeting people who start as rivals and enemies and then become friends. A couple of characters get very close to Jughead.
How will that change the structure of the show?
It’s going to be similar to Season 1. There’s a big mystery — who shot Fred and why, and everyone is involved in that. The characters are a bit separated with Jughead at one school, but the others are all together. So they’ll all have their personal journeys and we’ll have a central mystery but there will be, as always, episodic stories and personal stories and relationship stories. As dark as it gets, and it will get dark, there will always be elements of fun. All that will continue.
Is Jason’s death still affecting Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch)?
Jason’s death is definitely not something that is over. She’s dealing with the recent revelation that her father was the murderer, and the fact that it’s now just her and her mother. She’s never finished dealing with Jason’s death, certainly not in the finale when she tried to drown herself in the river. Now she’s got to deal with the fact that her father was a murderer and then committed suicide. She’s someone who is now alone with her mother, and they’ve never had a particularly healthy, fun, supportive relationship.
What is driving her this season?
She’s trying to piece her life back together. Her best friend was Jason, and she’s trying to establish real friendships with people. We’re going to see that, especially with Josie [Ashleigh Murray].
Can we expect any big guest stars coming up?
We’re introducing an ex-boyfriend of Veronica’s, Nick St. Clair [Graham Phillips], who comes to Riverdale. Originally, he was going to be in one episode, but we love him so much he’s going to stick around and come back as well.
“Riverdale” Season 2 premieres Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. on the CW.