Riverdale fans had to wait until the very last day of San Diego Comic-Con to get the news they came for, but it was definitely worth it. Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Madelaine Petsch, Camila Mendes, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, and Cole Sprouse hit a packed Hall H to talk what’s to come for everyone’s favorite high schoolers, from the first-ever Halloween episode to Jughead’s turn at another new school — but not before honoring everyone’s favorite Riverdaddy, the late Luke Perry.
Honoring Luke Perry
“We suffered a huge, huge, huge loss, and it’s something that we’re gonna be feeling for as long as we’re lucky enough to keep making the show,” Aguirre-Sacasa opened the panel. He praised Perry’s contributions to the show and noted his “many, many similarities” to the wise father he portrayed, Fred Andrews, before launching a tribute reel showcasing Fred’s best scenes with every main character on the show (including that time Petsch’s Cheryl called him a DILF to his face).
Perry died after suffering from a stroke toward the end of Season 3, but rather than rush to air a tribute episode, Aguirre-Sacasa said they opted to hold off and really think about the best way to commemorate the actor and the character he embodied. The result will be season in the Season 4 premiere episode. As we already know, the show is dealing with Perry’s passing by laying Archie’s dad to rest as well, with an episode that’s “really focused on what this character meant to this group of people, his son, his friends, and really the entire town of Riverdale.”
For the episode, something that Perry had wanted throughout his entire time on Riverdale finally comes to be: Shannen Doherty, his real-life friend and former Beverly Hills 90210 co-star will make an appearance. “I think it was cathartic for all of us,” Sprouse said of their shared grief.
To fill that parental void, the cast confirmed that Molly Ringwald, who has played his mom, Mary, here and there throughout the series, will step into a more regular role. “She’ll be Archie’s mom more or less full-time this season,” Aguirre-Sacasa said.
School Spirit Will Be Loud And Proud
Bulldog pride will be all around for the Core 4’s senior year. Aguirre-Sacasa promises that the teens will have a break from hunting serial killers and will get to actually experience the joys of high school: homecoming games, senior prom, and lots of football. And we may be welcoming a brand new teammate: Mad Dog — who will also, finally, get a birth name.
They also have a new principal coming to Riverdale High after Principal Weatherby ascended in Season 3. Kerr Smith will play Principal Honey. “He’s really good,” Mendes teased, without revealing anything at all.
The Bulldogs also get a new rival: the Stonewall Stags. And it just so happens that Jughead is headed to the prep school on a writing scholarship. Which brings us to…
What Happens To Jughead?
We have no actual intel on that Season 3 finale cliffhanger, which showed Archie, Betty, and Veronica burning their clothes in the woods, Jughead’s hat the final accessory to hit the fire, with its owner nowhere to be seen. Aguirre-Sacasa did reveal that we’ll get flash-forwards showing bits and pieces of that fateful night all the way up until we get the full story in the mid-season finale.
In the meantime, Jughead will head to a “Gossip Girl, Upper East Side, preppy, pretentious, Richie Rich, silver spoon” prep school (as Sprouse described it) on a writing scholarship, returning to Riverdale only on the weekends. “One of the big mysteries this season is centered around Jughead at the new school,” Aguirre-Sacasa teased.
We’re Celebrating Halloween!
For the first time ever, Riverdale is getting a Halloween episode! The “really fun, spooky episode,” Aguirre-Sacasa described, and not everyone is going to make it out alive. (But everyone who appeared at the panel is safe, we were assured.)
There will be some costumes — Archie’s is already set, and they’re working on getting clearance from DC for Cheryl and Toni’s looks. Betty, as fun as ever, will be home handing out candy to trick-or-treaters — but she still has a “fun story, scary story,” the creator said.
The Halloween special will be the fourth episode of the season, airing on October 30.
New Family Dynamics
Betty and Jughead are welcoming a new half-sibling into the fold, with Charles’s return at the end of Season 3 surprising us all. What does this mean for the beloved couple? “They’re not related by blood, so I guess it’s fine, right?” Reinhart said.
But there could be an added complication. “You will definitely be getting an on-screen kiss between FP and Alice, for sure,” Aguirre-Sacasa said.
Veronica, meanwhile, will be dealing with the ramifications of sending her vengeful father to jail. Mendes teased that Hiram will be making Veronica’s life miserable by sending paparazzi out to stalk her — which will really come back to bite her while she’s applying for colleges.
And Cheryl will be taking on motherhood duties, looking after Jason and Polly’s twins.
The Core 4 Is Starting A Band
Fulfilling one of Aguirre-Sacasa’s dreams from the very beginning, The Archies — pulled straight from the comics — will be on the scene to rock Riverdale. Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica will be bringing their best musical skills to the stage for an epic Battle of the Bands episode.
There will also be a musical episode, similar to the Heathers and Carrie: The Musical episodes in the past, plus special song-and-dance numbers sprinkled throughout the season.
- Veronica and Cheryl are going to bring their skills together for a new business venture, but they’ll find themselves in “some sticky trouble,” Petsch teased.
- Varchie and Bughead fans can rest easy, because the duos both start the season off strong — but, you know, anything can happen.
- We’ll see a reckoning between Reggie and Veronica in the second episode of the season, where we’ll glimpse Reggie’s vulnerable side.
- Toni gets more of a backstory this season, adding to the little we know from meeting her grandfather one time and hearing a story about her non-supportive uncle.
- One of Kevin’s old flames will be coming back for more, plus he and Betty will somehow work past their animosity from Season 3 and rekindle their friendship.
- They’re working on “resurrecting a couple of characters” from the comic books, Aguirre-Sacasa said.
- A Chilling Adventures of Sabrina crossover still seems unlikely, but there will most likely be a Katy Keene/Riverdale crossover in our future — “even though it breaks the space-time continuum,” the showrunner said.
For more Riverdale Season 4 scoop, check out our interview with the cast below:
Riverdale returns to the CW on October 9.