There's always a need for more diverse and complex representation on TV, so when Cole Sprouse revealed that Jughead Jones wouldn't be depicted as asexual on The CW's Riverdale, fans were understandably upset. Jughead's asexuality — revealed in writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson's Jughead No. 4 — was a boldly interesting move for Archie, and many fans were hoping Greg Berlanti's Riverdale would follow suit. After all, a person who isn't sexually attracted to other people is rarely depicted on television, let alone on a CW teen soap.
Sprouse told HollywoodLife that he would continue to fight "pretty heavily" to make Jughead's asexuality a future plot point, but for now, Archie's world-weary former best friend "will have romances with women ... and burgers" in Season 1. But that doesn't mean Riverdale is going to completely erase or abandon Jughead's asexuality altogether.
According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Riverdale is an origin story, which means that things that are canon in the comics might not start off as canon on the show.
"Cole and I have talked about it a ton," Aguirre-Sacasa told MTV News over the phone. "The way we're treating Riverdale, especially Season 1, is it's an origin story. So I think all of the kids are discovering themselves, and a big part of that is discovering their sexuality, their sexual selves. Rather than have everything fully formed — for instance, we're not going to start with Archie's band or Jughead's asexuality or any of the things that have become canon — those are all stops on the way to the journey until the show catches up to 75 years of Archie history."
It makes sense that Riverdale would want to take time to explore Jughead's asexuality within the context of the show. It's a coming-of-age story, and as such, things are going to be messy and confusing and complicated for Archie Andrews and his friends at Riverdale High. A potential story line that involves Jughead discovering his asexuality would be powerful, especially for a community that's been largely misunderstood in fiction.
Plus, let's not count out executive producer Berlanti's dedication to making television a more inclusive space.