It is the destiny of any successful teen drama to eventually go to college (or other post-high school fates), and so too must Riverdale. The CW drama still has one more year in high school, and the show seems committed to letting its characters make the most of their senior year before everything changes, but what will happen next?
We chatted with the cast and creators of Riverdale today at San Diego Comic-Con. Here’s what they had to say about the post-high school future of the show, and how those future plans will affect Season 4.
“We’ve started talking about it. We have some ideas, so pretty preliminary,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said of the show’s post-high school plans, noting that there are some fundamental questions to ask around the decision. “For instance, the show’s called Riverdale. Can the show called Riverdale reset to another town or city? Can we really send the kids to separate places? I think it’s also a cheat if they all stay and go to Riverdale Community College. So, it’s a challenge.”
While Riverdale‘s post-high school plans may be up-in-the-air at this point, the knowledge that high school is ending will be a major theme explored in Season 4.
“It is bittersweet and they are starting to make plans for the future,” said Aguirre-Sacasa. “I think, more than anything, there’s an awareness that this is going to be the last prom. This is going to be the last musical. This is going to be the last football season. And so we’re really embracing that. For instance, Archie hasn’t played football since Episode 2 of Season 2, and that was such a big part of his life. So we’re telling football stories, and a lot more friendship stories.”
Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones) said that the college application process will be a big part of the coming season.
“I think that it affects the relationships with the rest of the characters, which I think is the crux of this season,” said Sprouse. “I think whoever gets accepted to certain schools is probably going to be a bit heartbreaking or empowering for the characters.”
While Betty, Archie, and Veronica may be enjoying their final year of school together, Jughead will have already separated from his friends, as he will be attending a prep school.
“I think their goal is to see each other as much as they can on the weekends,” said Lili Reinhart (Betty) of the Bughead dynamic in Season 4. “He’s clearly going to be going to a different school, which I think is going to put some sort of strain on the relationship, with the physical distance and them being in high school. It’s sad that they don’t get to experience their last year together, doing the senior year things together.”
While Bughead may have the distance to deal with in Season 4, Reinhart said that Betty is Jughead’s “biggest supporter” when it comes to Jughead’s decision to attend prep school.
“She wants to see him pursue his writing and just get more out of his school experience,” said Reinhart. “Because he wants to be the first Jones man to go to college, and I think she just wants the best for him and wants the best for his life, and what’s going to set him up for success. So she’s quite supportive of him in that, which is sweet.”
What are Betty’s post-high school plans? “I think that that’s a journey that you will see her discover throughout the season: what she wants to do,” said Reinhart, while quasi-joking that Betty already has a lot of marketable skills that make her valuable in the work force. “Obviously, working for the FBI at such a young age, may be getting a foot in the door. She would be a great detective because she basically [already] is and solves every [town] mystery.”
Veronica wants to go to Harvard, said Camila Mendes (Veronica), which we will see her articulating in the season’s second episode. Mendes suggested that her father may not be the most supportive of her apsirations, adding: “Hiram is definitely going to be an obstacle in Veronica’s goals.”
Veronica isn’t the only one with prestigious colleges on her mind. Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl) said that Cheryl is still “hyper-focused” on joining Highsmith College, her mother’s alma mater that was first mentioned in Season 3. Cheryl would also like Toni to go with her.
“Cheryl kind of helped her open the door to Highsmith in Season 3, and I’m not sure if Toni really wants to go there or what her plan is,” said Petsch. “I imagine that she’s very grateful because she never thought she could get into a school of that stature, so I think that conversation will obviously have to continue. Hopefully, they both get in. You never know. Toni wasn’t the greatest in school before she met Cheryl.”
In the meantime, Cheryl is poised to dive into the senior high school experience with everything she has. Petsch teased: “She’s throwing parties. She’s looking forward to prom and Halloween. There will be a Halloween episode, which is really exciting. It’s her favorite time of year, so she’s obviously going to go all out and she goes all out everyday, so I don’t even know what that looks like for Halloween.”
While we know Archie will be back on the football field in Season 4, his post-high school plans remain to be written. The character is no doubt poised to go through some perspective changes in the wake of his father’s death, which will be addressed in the season premiere.
“Maybe he won’t go to college? Which I’ve heard whispers of,” said Apa. When asked what he thinks Archie should do after senior year, Apa said: “Maybe he’ll get held back a year.” After everything he’s been through, and all of the time he has been forced to spend away from school, Archie deserves an extra year of high school!
Riverdale will return October 9th on The CW. You can read more about Season 4 here.