Warning: This post contains spoilers from Tuesday Riverdale premiere.
Rest in peace, Archie Andrews.
Riverdale kicked off Season 6 with a sharp turn to terror: Tuesday’s premiere introduced us to the town of “Rivervale,” where things were even stranger than usual. Jughead and Tabitha’s new apartment was infested with bugs, and Cheryl and her helpers glued a pile of scary dolls on sticks to scare the rest of the town from getting into the maple syrup business. She hosted her own maple harvest festival, where Archie won a bunch of contests (of course), and that night, he was called to Thorn Hill, where Cheryl stated, “A sacrifice must be made.” Archie was tied up and equipped with a horn … and Cheryl stabbed him to death and pulled out her heart to show to the other townspeople, who all seemed happy to see Archie meet his demise. (Oh, and Betty is pregnant with Archie’s baby?!?)
After we lifted our jaws off the ground, we reached for Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who confirms that, yes, Archie is no more. (At least for the rest of the five-episode event that begins Season 6.) Additionally, he sheds some light on how “Rivervale” works and what horror movies and books have influenced the premiere – and suggests that Archie isn’t the only big victim on tap.
TVLINE | So what are the rules here? Is “River Valley” an alternate dimension? Is it a dream? Do these episodes have lasting effects for the rest of the series, or is this a one-time event?
No, one of the things we’ve really been working on a lot is making sure that these five episodes … obviously, we wanted to make them as fun as possible, and we wanted to arrange them and all that sort of thing, and we wanted to do a bit of clean slate and a fresh start with these episodes. But it was really important to make sure they were what we call “in continuity,” meaning that things that happen in Rivervale would go on either echo or talk about the events of Riverdale. Every year, we start very different plots, and we always try to weave them all together, and this year is no exception. I won’t talk to alternate universes or dreams or anything like that, but I’ll say this all happens, and we’ll play as if this is all happening, even beyond the first five episodes.
TVLINE | We start again with the couples where we stopped: Archie with Betty, Veronica with Reggie, Jughead with Tabitha. There seems to be some feelings about that, but will the “River Valley” thing put a pin in everything, and they’ll deal with it later?
You’re right, we’re really jumping into that. I will say that Betty and Veronica, in an upcoming episode, do have a conversation about Betty and Archie, and Archie and Reggie have a conversation about Reggie and Veronica. So those come, even though they are in the middle of the rest of their lives. But we do have those conversations, and we track that.
TVLINE | The maple harvest festival gave me a big one Midsummer vibrations. That movie was definitely a big influence here, right?
Oh, sure. We all love that. And for me, it even goes back on. One of my favorite movies is The Wicker Man… Everyone who knows me or has seen other things I have done knows that I love The Wicker Man. They know I love popular horror. I love Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery”. It’s one of the classic town stories, and I’ve always wanted to do a version of “The Lottery” in Riverdale, because it’s such an iconic American town where unspeakable things happen. It felt, “Oh, this would be really, really great.” We always talk about how Archie sacrifices everything for the good of the city, and we thought, “Okay, well, let’s do that literally.”
I loved too Children of the Corn, which is another popular horror film. So all of those get in there. The great thing about The Wicker Man whether this policeman goes to this town and is a little sanctified, and he goes to an island and they sacrifice him. We loved the idea of Archie being such a Dudley Do-Right, he always tries to do the best thing and tells everyone how they don’t live up to the expectations of the city, we thought it would be really, really. fun to see the city take revenge on Archie.
TVLINE | So is Archie really dead for the rest of the five-episode event, or is each episode a stand-alone story?
No, they’re serialized, so Archie died in Episode 2. And I’ll say this: That’s just the beginning of the corpse count for Rivervale.
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