‘Riverdale’ Boss on Season 2: ‘It’ll Never Become a Slasher Movie’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “A Kiss Before Dying, the Oct. 11 Season 2 premiere of “Riverdale.”

Riverdale” kicked off its sophomore season with Archie (KJ Apa) grappling with his father’s recovery from the shooting that ended the first season.

While the series will continue to develop relationships between the kids in the not-so idyllic town of Riverdale, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells Variety that the adults will still get their fair share of screen time, too. “The parents are such a big part of our world, so we’re always going to keep telling stories about them as well and learning about their private lives as well,” he says.

The second season premiere already saw a step in that direction by finally introducing Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) on-screen as the previously-jailed mogul returned to his family.

Aguirre-Sacasa spoke with Variety about the events of the second season premiere, including the death of Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel), darker journeys for characters like Archie and Kevin (Casey Cott) and just how involved Hiram will become in his daughter’s life, let alone the town’s.

Is Ms. Grundy’s death at the end of the first episode indicative of how dark the show is going? What level of violence can we expect?

That cliffhanger hopefully is indicative of what is to come. It’ll never become a slasher movie. It’ll never become a gore-fest, but there’s definitely sudden acts of shocking violence. It’s about our characters living with that constant threat and fear.

We see Archie start to become a vigilante.

Archie sees a pattern start to emerge before anyone else does. In fact, nobody thinks the two are connected except for Archie, because not everyone knows about Archie’s relationship with Ms. Grundy. He’ll be the first one to see if there’s a pattern here.

How will Hiram Lodge’s return shake up the show? 

We spent all of Season 1 setting up Hiram as this really dark, threatening character. A little bit like the godfather of Riverdale. He definitely has a secret agenda that nobody knows, except maybe [his wife] Hermione [Marisol Nichols]. Definitely his return will affect Veronica the most. It will affect Archie because he’s dating Veronica. He’s definitely a dark force in the series now, as well.

Will other secondary characters be getting more screen time this season as well?

We’re going to be seeing a lot of Kevin and Josie [Ashleigh Murray]. Kevin last season was a really fun, positive, funny, optimistic character. This year, in keeping with our darker themes, we’re going to be exploring his darkness a little bit – even the dark side of his romantic life. One of his best friendships is with Betty [Lili Reinhart]. We meet them together in the pilot, and we’re going to see them in conflict this season. The other character we’re going to explore more is Josie. Josie, last year, was pretty much all focused on the Pussycats. This year she’s going to be much more part of the gang. We’re actually going to see her friendship with Cheryl [Madelaine Petsch], which is something we only referenced. We’re going to see some turmoil with the Pussycats. We’re going to see more about her relationship with her mother. We’re going to see more of Kevin’s relationship with his father.

What went into the decision to recast Reggie with Charles Melton rather than bring him on as a new character?

We talked about it. Ultimately, I’m a purist. Reggie is a huge part of the Archie universe. He’s such a big character, and I felt like we’d been cheated out of using him the first season as much as we could have, and I hated the idea of retiring him just because a character didn’t want to come back to the show. We found Charles Melton, who is wonderful. Anyone who has any questions about whether or not he can fit in seamlessly with the group, those questions will be answered very quickly. We’re going to be seeing much more of him. He’s practically in every episode, causing problems for Archie. We’re also going to him also develop a relationship with Josie.

Are we going to see Polly [Tiera Skovbye] this season? Can we expect to see her babies?

Yes, you can expect to see Polly. I have no comment about the babies.

Is Betty’s long-lost brother going to shake up the Cooper family dynamic?

The Cooper family has never been a particularly stable one. There’s always drama. There’s always stuff happening. But there’s also a fierceness to them. What we found out at the end of the last season is part of the reason Alice was such an overprotective mother is because she had given away this baby and it left a void in her life. Various things happen in the season that exacerbate that and cause Betty to think, “Maybe I should try to find this person.” You hope that it’s a good thing, but you don’t really know. This guy is a stranger. He could affect things in a good or a bad way, or both of those things.

“Riverdale” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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