The Archie comics TV series Riverdale is among the most highly anticipated shows of 2017. While we still have several months before we get to see Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Josie and the Pussycats, and more in action, the Archie panel at New York Comic Con over the weekend provided some fun insight into what's to come.
Personally, I'm interested to know how Jughead's asexuality — revealed in Jughead No. 4 — will transfer over to the small screen. When asked about this at the CW Upfronts in May, Sprouse said, “I think that's the kind of representation that's desperately needed within modern media,” adding, “that kind of sexual representation is really lacking” right now. Of course, Sprouse admitted he wasn't sure how his character's asexuality would be handled, but he hoped it would transfer over.
By now, however, filming is underway, so it seems likely the show's creators have already decided what direction they'll take. Jughead is obviously so much more than his sexuality, but it was a big deal when it first became canon, because progress in our culture was being reflected in pop culture. (Deadpool, for example, is pansexual, a fantastic step in breaking away from the binary in which you're either straight or gay.)
During the NYCC panel, the CEO of Archie Comics, Jon Goldwater, opened the door when he answered a fan's brilliant question about getting Archie comics into nursing homes to help celebrate the comic series's 75th anniversary.
“Archie is all about being inclusive — inclusion, getting the books out, getting them into everyone’s hands,” Goldwater proudly stated. Later, I asked the panel the status of Jughead's sexuality on Riverdale, and though Goldwater neither confirmed nor denied Jughead's asexuality, he did have some interesting things to say about the character and Sprouse's performance.
“You know, I think Cole [Sprouse], he could have his own take on things. I think Jughead in Riverdale is going to be the Jughead you know,” Goldwater admitted. “He’s gonna be his own person, he’s gonna be a cool cat. But, you know, he has some really good friends and I think Jughead in Riverdale really is gonna epitomize all the best qualities of Jughead.” Goldwater went on to explain that while he was a successful child star with The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and movies like Big Daddy, Sprouse is “truly a brilliant actor.”
So, we're still not 100 percent certain about Jughead, but Riverdale is definitely taking smart steps toward inclusion, including making Josie and the Pussycats an all-black girl band primed to slay.
Riverdale premieres in 2017 on the CW.