This article contains spoilers for the entirety of Riverdale‘s first season.
By the time the credits rolled on the shock-packed conclusion of its first season, Riverdale had established itself as appointment viewing. A smart and subversive take on Archie Comics lore that mixed 75-year-old characters with Twin Peaks-style mystery never should have worked in the first place, let alone be as consistently enjoyable as the show has proven itself to be over the course of its initial 13 episodes.
Driven by the mystery of who killed Jason Blossom and featuring story-driven asides that included everything from gothic mansions to maple syrup blood feuds to a circa-1950s biker gang to soap opera theatrics and on and on and on, it is a show that is as addictive as it is self-aware. Led by someone who helped usher in the current Archie Comics renaissance — showrunner/Archie Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa — the series is steeped in deep Archie lore yet accessible to anyone who never read a single story featuring these characters.
At times it is like watching the oddball adventure comic Life with Archie from the 1970s come to life, a daring mash-up of styles that illustrates why Archie and the gang became iconic in the first place. Perhaps the greatest tribute to the source material is how Riverdale feels both timeless and completely right now all at once. It is a series where slut-shaming text messages exist alongside of teens hanging at an old-fashioned malt shop. This merging of styles creates a heightened reality, one where it seems like anything can happen.
With the series second season returning to the airwaves on October 11th (less than a month, squeee!), we thought we’d share with you some story elements — both large and small — that we think you can expect to see in the second season.
Fallout from the shooting of Fred Andrews
We aren’t 100% convinced that Fred Andrews (portrayed with a surprising soulfulness by Luke Perry) is dead after he was shot by a robber at Pop’s during the finale’s last scene, but it certainly looks that way. Regardless of if the character survives or is placed in a coma or some other narrative trick, this shooting will reverberate immediately throughout Riverdale and the lives of its residents.
Obviously the person it will most clearly impact will be Archie, a character who was far too often removed from the main storylines in a series where he should have been the main character during the first season. The final two episodes of the year saw Archie take center stage — most notably during the finale’s heroic scene in which he saved Cheryl Blossom from an icy demise. Expect Archie to be angry, angsty, mad as hell and possibly becoming self-destructive as he deals with his father’s demise.
The Archie/Fred relationship grounded Riverdale and provided it with its heart and soul. The pairing of Perry and K.J. Apa was masterful casting, as their father/son dynamics felt real. These are both flawed characters who love each other and have each other’s best interests at heart despite their problems. With this relationship removed, Archie will be looking for something to fill the void, and you can bet that will have dramatic consequences. It seems at least somewhat likely that he will resume his pursuit of music next year — which may or may not rekindle a romance with Valerie — but count on Archie’s reaction to his dad’s shooting and how that impacts his growing relationship with Veronica to dominate at the very least the first half of next season.
But again, this dramatic development solves the problem of having an Archie show where Archie isn’t the focus.
The ripples of Fred’s shooting will be felt elsewhere throughout the community as well. Pop Tate’s Choklit Shoppe is no longer a refuge from the outside world but rather a crime scene where one of the town’s most upstanding citizens met a grisly fate. The diner will still be around, but look for the characters to have ambiguous feelings about it now that blood has been shed there. Meanwhile, everyone from FP to Mary Andrews will find themselves grappling with Fred’s shooting, and all the emotions it will stir up.
The return of Mary Andrews
When we last saw Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald), she was returning to Chicago. Ringwald was a welcome presence during her too-brief appearances in the first season, and with Fred seemingly gone to the Peach Pit in the sky it seems unfathomable that her character won’t be back for even just a little bit to check in with Archie. Ringwald had great chemistry with Marisol Nichols and Mädchen Amick, so it would be fantastic to see her back mixing it up with the other Riverdale parents as well.
Polly Cooper will have her twins
And seeing how her and Jason are actually related, not to mention the curse that Penelope Blossom feels hangs over their entire family, there’s no way this is going smoothly. Other possible storylines for Polly might include her attempts to return to school and repair her reputation, her ongoing troubled relationship with her parents, and the tribulations of trying to raise two newborns while having relatives that are, to be kind, batshit insane.
As for those babies? Is it too much to hope for some mayhem surrounding them, possibly tying into the Greendale witches. (More on them in a bit).
Here comes the Sugarman!
We have zero idea what is going on in this image that showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tweeted back in August. But it looks sinister and involves the Blossom twins, so sign us up!
Mr. Lodge will wreak criminal havoc Although he hasn’t even been seen on-screen yet, Mr. Lodge was a major antagonist in Riverdale’s first season. From his prison cell he manipulated Hermione and Veronica (with the latter becoming increasing convinced her father was a villain over the course of the season) and interfered with Fred’s business. It wouldn’t be surprising if he actually had something to do with hiring the gunman to shoot Fred due to his involvement with the drive-in land, as it has been established that these characters have a past. Was the hold-up at Pop’s just a ruse to gun down Fred? We shall see. Mark Consuelos has been cast as Hiram Lodge (whose appearance in the Riverdale spin-off comic is featured above). With Consuelos out of his Pitch contract with that show cancelled by Fox, expect him to fill the dastardly parent role that Cliff Blossom held in the first season. It is also worth mentioning that Archie and Mr. Lodge have a historically tumultuous relationship in the comics. Hiram feels that Archie is beneath his well-heeled daughter, and the youth’s combination of poverty and clutziness adds to the conflict. With Veronica and Archie getting serious, it’s likely that Hiram will either outright object to the pairing or try to manipulate the situation to his own nefarious advantage. Hermione will continue her path to the dark side When we first met Hermione, she seemed like she wanted nothing more than to protect her daughter from being associated with the crimes of Hiram Lodge. But as the season progressed, Hermione’s own secrets began to reveal themselves. From secret dealings with the South Side Serpents to a brief dalliance with Fred Andrews, her priorities seemed to shift from protecting her daughter to desperately defending the already tainted Lodge family name. Having never really forgiven her mother for forging her name on documents, Veronica’s apprehension towards her grew. So much so that she referred to Hermione as “Lady Macbeth” in the finale. Meanwhile, Hermione was scurrying about her apartment making sure everything would be to Hiram’s liking upon his imminent arrival while casually suggesting that her daughter should sexually manipulate Archie into doing her bidding. At this point, we find it unlikely that the character will go, in Veronica’s referencing of Stephen King “full dark, no stars.” But count on Hermione’s storyline to get increasingly complex — and her relationship with Veronica more estranged — before she begins a journey towards redemption.
Alice Cooper will continue to be absolutely unhinged Because seriously, this character is already perfect as is. Why mess with that? Additionally, rumors are swirling that she will have an affair with F.P. Jones (himself to perhaps be released from prison early). Scandalous!
Reggie Mantle will have an expanded role In the Archie comics, the character of Reggie Mantle is always causing problems for the gang. But Reggie wasn’t much of a force in Riverdale‘s first season. Ross Butler did a great job with presenting the charismatic jerk aspects of the character, but his commitment to 13 Reasons Why meant that Reggie was hardly on screen during the series’ first season. And with that Netflix drama getting a second season, the producers of Riverdale decided to recast Reggie so that the character can have an increased presence. In other words, count on Reggie being added to the pile of problems that Archie and company have to deal with in year two. On the flipside, recent years have seen the Reggie character becoming more realistic and complex — especially in the Life with Archie: The Married Life and Tom Defalco’s excellent Reggie & Me comic — so we very well may see him becoming part of the gang instead of just an antagonist.
Then again, the character did help kickstart the zombie apocalpyse in Afterlife with Archie, and the current Archie comic has him going to jail for causing a serious car wreck that almost killed Betty Cooper…so this could go either way. Hooray delicious uncertainty! What we do know is that the new Reggie will be played by Charles Melton (who had a small role in American Horror Story: Hotel) and that you can expect to see much more Mantle in the episodes to come.
Cheryl Blossom will be a force to be reckoned with The finale showed us Cheryl hitting rock bottom with her suicide attempt. Her family destroyed, she found herself completely and utterly lost. Then, following a vision (or was he really there?) of a zombified Jason underwater, she was rescued by Archie and given another chance. And so Cheryl, in her forever stylish way, decided to start anew in the way she best knew how — by literally burning her old life to the ground. It’s not clear exactly who this new Cheryl will be — Afterlife with Archie featured a similiar dark period for the character in which she rose from the ashes and rechristened herself as ‘Blaze.’ Bet on the character being more of a handful than ever before, which will be a fantastic thing to witness. (See the trailer below to witness her screwing with the mind of her hospitalized mom). Rad.
More hamburgers for Jughead Because he only ate one the entire season. C’mon now, that’s not right.
Kevin Keller will come into his own In both the Kevin Keller and Life with Kevin comics, the character is a lovable, smart and funny addition to the Archieverse. This is the case with the TV version of Kevin as well, and Casey Cott is a standout amid a uniformly excellent cast. Due to the fact that show much of the first season was consumed with things like Archie’s affair with Ms. Grundy and the Jason Blossom murder investigation, Kevin was far too often-sidelined. His romantic storyline with Joaquin was over before it began, which is a shame because it was refreshing to see a network show honestly deal with a homosexual relationship without resorting to Bury Your Gays trope fulfillment. (True, Joaquin did leave town, but it was a decision that was story based). With Kevin responsible for the majority of the series’ most hilarious moments — this is a show based on a humor comic, remember — next year needs to give him a larger presence. And I suspect that it will do just that, not only diving deeper into his relationship with his (rather inept) sheriff father, but also having him date more and developing the character to be much more than just simply Veronica’s “best gay.” Casey Scott has already been upped to series regular, and with 22 episodes in the upcoming season there will be a lot more of Kevin for sure.
Jughead will take ownership of Hot Dog In the Riverdale cast’s appearance at the Paley Center earlier this year, Cole Sprouse let it slip that Jughead will get a dog. The season finale featured the debut of Hot Dog, Jug’s faithful sheepdog from the comics. So you do the math.
J osie and the Pussycats continue their ascent to stardom With apologies to Archie’s desire to be the next Ed Sheeran, the real musical highlight of Riverdale remains Josie and the Pussycats. We would have love to have seen more about this group, seriously, we know nothing about Melody yet, but whenever they did appear it was electrifying. This year we learned that Josie’s hard edge is a result of living in the shadow of her mother — an overbearing woman who also happens to be the town’s mayor — and her successful jazz musician father. Is it any wonder she is a bit brusque at times? The Archie/Valerie romance was ended too soon, so hopefully that will be dealt with in season two…although as mentioned above Archie already has a lot on his plate. So, what should you expect from Josie and company? More great performances and hopefully some added screentime off-stage to develop these characters more.
Problems on the horizon for Bughead Despite having just declared their love for each other, Betty and Jughead immediately had their relationship challenged when the South Side Serpents came a-knocking at FP’s door. Always searching for a place where he feels like he fits in, and emboldened by how his peers at South Side High embraced him, Jughead immediately accepts the offer to become a Serpent. Betty meanwhile, looked horrified by this development. Already worried that Jughead’s new school and living arrangement (with, an as yet unknown family who will likely become a crucial part of the second season) will tear them apart, Betty now must deal with the shocking reality that her boyfriend has willingly become a part of a force that she feels is ripping apart the town she so loves. Let’s also tackle what individual obstacles they’ll chase in season two as well, shall we? Jughead will be dealing with the fallout of having his dad in jail, his best friend coping with the shooting/death of his dad, a mother and sister in Toledo who seemingly want nothing to do with him, a new group of friends at South Side High, a foster family who may or may not have his best interests at heart, trying to maintain his individuality while struggling with the demands that come with being a Serpent, and a girlfriend who doesn’t understand his life choices. Betty will be grasping to understand why Jughead decided to become a Serpent, and that will no doubt stir up issues of anger and sadness that may or may not trigger Dark Betty. Then there’s the also the unresolved issues regarding the vandalizing of her locker and how her public support of FP Jones inspired anti-Serpent sentiment directed at her, the usual parental issues, concern about Polly and her baby, feelings about the Archie/Veronica relationship, the fact that she has a secret brother (who will almost definitely be revealed in season two), concern about Archie following Fred’s shooting, and her ongoing worries about Riverdale falling apart. So yeah, these two are in for a rough year. Toni Topaz comes to town The official Archie Comics website describes the character of Toni Topaz thusly: “The newest rival to Jughead’s eating contest crown, Toni Topaz is a tough girl who sports pink hair with her purple jumpsuit.” When she makes on debut on Riverdale this season, there will be a bit more complexity to her than just her “Get This Party Started”-inspired hairdo. TV’s Toni (played by Canadian actress Vanessa Morgan) will be a bisexual member of the South Side Serpents. As you may remember, the season ended with Jughead going full Serpent, so expect these two to become close…and cause some issues for Betty.
“Bad Boy Trouble” for Archie and Veronica Back in 2007, Archie Comics attempted to jettison the house style that had dominated the company’s look for over 65 years for what they hoped would be a more realistic look for the characters. Fans weren’t having it, and the Archie equivalent of New Coke soon whimpered away. This creative move did have two lasting ripples though. First, it tried to change up the classic appearance of the characters — something that Archie again attempted with much greater success in their “New Riverdale” line of books (that continue to this day, alongside of the more familiar vintage Archie style that dominates the digests). Secondly, this period introduced the “bad boy” character of Veronica’s ex, Nick St. Clair. It’s kind of fascinating and weirdly daring that one of the most maligned era of Archie history is getting a shot at redemption but here we are, because Nick St. Clair is coming to Riverdale. The Good Wife‘s Graham Phillips will portray St. Clair in a multi-episode arc, forcing Veronica to face her New York City party girl past. This character’s arrival will also throw a wrench into the burgeoning Archie/Veronica relationship…maybe even forcing the ginger cipher back into the arms of Valerie? Will the TV version of Nick St. Clair be the ridiculous grunge-esque foe that his ridiculous comics counterpart was? Man, we hope so.
Chic Cooper makes the scene
Riverdale is not afraid to utilize Archie Comics deep well of characters for its own dramatic purposes. We’ll be seeing more of this in the second season, when one of the most obscure supporting players — Betty’s older brother Chic — makes his TV debut. We learned last year that the Cooper family had a secret son who wasn’t raised with Betty and Polly, and exactly why or how he will be used in the series is an as yet unrevealed secret. What we can tell you is that Chic Cooper originally appeared during Bob Bolling’s Little Archie run, helping the titular dimunitive ginger get out of various scrapes. (Seriously, that comic is oure magic). Although given the twists and turns that the TV series is taken thus far, he could either be a helpful force for our heroes or yet another problem that has to be dealt with. We will know soon enough either way.
Sabrina and the Greendale Witches Will Appear As we mentioned in our review of the season finale, the biggest disappointment from the first season of Riverdale was how Sabrina never showed up. It had been hinted at throughout the season (Sweetwater River separates Riverdale from Greendale — which is where Sabrina and her aunts live, the seemingly cursed nature of the Blossom family, FP reading a comic that features Sabrina, Betty’s assertation that “something wicked this way comes,” and so on). Even though showrunner Roberto-Aguirre Sacasa has said that the show would be getting more supernatural and K.J. Apa claimed that Sabrina would appear on the finale, it’s quite possible that this plan has changed. As you may remember, Archie Comics signed a development deal with Warner Brothers back in February to bring more of their properties to TV. So while there may have been plans to introduce Sabrina on Riverdale, that may no longer be the case — instead opting to eventually give the character her own show, perhaps one even based on the more graphic Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic. This would render the hints of witch activity as fun Easter eggs on the show, and nothing more. Time will tell, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Sabrina mixing it up with everyone on this show? But who would play her? Read on!
Dove Cameron as Sabrina?
For the past couple of months, rumors have swirled that The Descendants co-star Dove Cameron would be joining Riverdale as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She certainly looks the part, but is there any truth to these rumblings? If the above post from Cameron’s official Instagram account is to be believed, it looks like it. (Unless she’s just having fun with her fans). We reached out to her official PR people and have yet to hear anything back, which makes our inner conspiracy theorist believe that an announcement will be imminent once the ink on her contract is dry. Stay tuned.
Here’s the official trailer for the second season of Riverdale:
Riverdale returns to the CW on October 11 at 8pm. And stay tuned to Den of Geek for our continuing coverage of the series!
Chris Cummins is a writer and Archie Comics historian. Follow him on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot.