‘Riverdale’ Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Interview on Season 3

Riverdale Season 2 Episode 22 Preview
KJ Apa as Archie and Camila Mendes as Veronica in ‘Riverdale’ in a scene from season 2 (Photo: Dean Buscher © 2018 The CW Network)

The CW held a Television Critics Association panel on the parents of Riverdale. We’ll bring you a full report on what’s going with the grown-ups, but after the panel Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa spoke with reporters further. This was our chance to find out what’s going on with the main four characters: Archie (KJ Apa), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), Betty (Lily Reinhart), and Veronica (Camila Mendes).

We also tried to get a little information about The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix, and plans for future Archie spinoffs but Aguirre-Sacasa was tight-lipped. Riverdale returns October 10, 2018 on The CW.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Riverdale Interview:

When will the musical episode come this season?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “It’ll be probably in the second half of the season and that’s all we know at this point.”

Veronica gave up her stake to Hiram but was that stake worthless anyway because Hiram and Hermione would always outvote her?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “It’s a good question. That’s a story point that we come to in season three. It’s a good question.”

What was fun about seeing your young actors when you told them they’d play their characters’ parents in a flashback episode?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “Well, we’ve been talking about this for years. I think we were trying to do a flashback episode even season one. I call this the ‘Lili Reinhart Memorial Episode’ because she’s been wanting to do a flashback episode for years and has talked about it for years. So, they’re excited. I think they’re surprised it’s happening as soon as it is. I think it’s nice.”

Will Archie be on trial for the murder of Cassidy Bullock?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I believe he will be, yes.”

Is Jughead a good leader of the Serpents?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I think he’s a really good leader of the Serpents.”

How is he with Betty by his side?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I think that’s a big story point in the season premiere. They really define what that means, what Serpent Queen means and whether they’re all in or not.”

Are you settled on Betty/Jughead and Archie/Veronica staying couples?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “That’s a really good question. I don’t think that love triangle is ever completely settled. It’s a long journey. These kids are still in high school but it’s a long journey. We hope this is a long journey on the show.

I don’t know. On some level, I can say that we never in the writer’s room say, ‘Okay, today we’re going to break up so and so.’ We follow the story and the story tells us a little bit. We kind of follow that but right now, especially Bughead is pretty solid.”

Are you ready to face the wrath of the fans if you split them up?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “No, I’m not, I’m not. I’m sure not.”

Camila said Veronica might get a new love interest. What can you say?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “It is true that there might be a new love interest for Veronica and you might see seeds of that in episode three.”

What new Josie songs can we look forward to?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “We will be doing a lot of singing this season. We have a new venue that is mentioned, the speakeasy. It’s amazing. The set is amazing and it’s a performance space, so we’ll be seeing more music.”

Any covers you can name?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “Oh, that’s a really good question. In episode two there is a cover of an Elvis Presley song.”

Was that tough to get?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “Uh, a little bit. A little bit. We got it though.”

Is Archie still writing and performing music?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “He’s got his hands full at the top of the season with being on trial and the fallout from season two.”

What are some of the longstanding comic book things you mined for the first time in season three?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “The biggest thing that I’m so excited about in the premiere, and we sneaked a peak of it at Comic-Con, is the jalopy. We had Fred and Archie working on the jalopy in season two briefly but it had always been my dream to have the four kids in the jalopy much like in the comic book. It took us over two years to get there but we get there, finally.”

What was fun about developing the physical jalopy?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “Well, first we had to find one. They’re much harder to find than you think. We actually found one in Oregon and then had to drive it across the border into Canada. We found one that didn’t run. My producer was like, ‘Is this going to run?’ And I’m like, ‘No, we just need it to sit in the garage.’ Sure enough, in the premiere it’s running. The producer’s like, ‘You told us it wasn’t going to run.’ And I’m like, ‘It’s running,’ so we have to find another jalopy.”

The photo you posted on social media looks like the jalopy is in Jurassic Park.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I know, I know, I know, yeah, yeah. That’s Vancouver, that’s Vancouver. They’re not in Jurassic Park.”

Riverdale Season 2 Episode 13 Preview
Cole Spouse as Jughead, Lili Reinhart as Betty, KJ Apa as Archie and Casey Cott as Kevin in ‘Riverdale’ season 2 (Photo: Bettina Strauss © 2018 The CW Network)

How significant is the Black Hood mystery in season three?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “You know, in a weird way, all these mysteries like the death of Jason Blossom and Hiram’s criminal empire, the Black Hood, those never go away completely. They become part of the bedrock of the town and they become part of the mythology of the town. So, I would say there’s a Black Hood out there, there’s some ski mask out there that might pop up.”

Are there some supernatural elements coming into Riverdale?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “You know, there is a big mystery in season three which is kicked off in the season premiere. I wouldn’t describe it as supernatural. It’s sort of a little bit more occult and ritualistic, kind of like in True Detective if you saw True Detective season one.”

What did it take to empower you to do these form-breaking episodes?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I think in the first season, we were 13 episodes. We had a big story to tell and that sort of dictated the episodes. When we were doing season two, when we expanded to 22 episodes, the first thing that we were excited about, and I think fans are too, of those special episodes.

So, for instance, in the first half of last season, we did an episode that was three short stories. And I think people really, really like that and I think our executives really liked it and they thought, ‘Okay, this is good.’ Then we did a big musical episode which was again a little bit special. So, I think you do get permission to do that a little further along, but the truth is we’re telling so much story that it’s sometimes hard to take a break and do a standalone. Even our flashback episode that I talked about, that will be driving the story forward.”

These characters were static for decades. You blew up the status quo in the comics and then the series. Do you have to blow up the status quo on the show constantly?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “No, I think for us the mantra in the writers room is you have to keep moving forward. We love our twists and we love storytelling that surprises and reversals, but it’s never what crazy thing are we going to do? We, again, follow the story but once you cross a certain threshold, it’s hard to go back and tell just a story about, ‘Oh my gosh, they’ve got midterm exams. Are they going to pass or fail?’ It does feel like the stakes get bigger the deeper you go.”

What does it mean to you that Riverdale might be what people consider the definitive Archie for the next 70 years?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “It’s so funny. I love these characters. You guys probably know that. If you’ve covered the show, you know my obsession with these characters is lifelong. It’s an incredible honor. I’m thrilled. For me the Archies have always been Alpha and Omega of pop culture. So, if other people are feeling that through the show, I’m ecstatic. I’m ecstatic.”

Can you talk about Jelly Bean?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I’m looking forward to welcoming Jelly Bean to the show.”

Will there be a Sabrina crossover?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “No plans right now.”

Even having Riverdale characters on Sabrina?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I think right now we’re trying to make sure that the shows have their own identity and their own set of rules.”

Is the Sabrina series we’ll see on Netflix the same we would’ve seen on The CW?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “Not necessarily. Not necessarily.”

When will we see a trailer for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

How do you feel the look of Sabrina is different from the look of Riverdale?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I don’t know. We’re here about Riverdale. It’s a different look though, it’s a different look. Very different.”

What other Archie spinoff ideas do you have?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “We’re really excited but we’re still early on in the process, but we’re really excited and it will be very different from Riverdale.”

Is it based on a character who’s already on the show?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “I can’t say anything else.”

Do you have a sense of timing?

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: “Hopefully this development cycle.”