While the CW hit >Riverdale was showered in praise from critics and adoration from Archie fans new and old, there was a common complaint about its first season: too little time with Josie and the Pussycats! Good news for Season 2: The teen drama’s writers have heard you cry for more of this tenacious and ever-stylish trio. After the show’s packed panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, CBR sat down with the cast and creators of Riverdale and scratched at what’s to come for Josie, Valerie and Melody in the upcoming season.
Thanks to getting a 22-episode second season, the show’s creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and executive producer Sarah Schechter assured us there’s room for Josie and the Pussycats to really step into the spotlight. Riverdale‘s Hayley Law, who plays Valerie Brown, said, “We definitely have a lot more music and a lot more memorable Pussycat moments.”
“They will be stories for everyone.” Schechter added, “The Pussycats are now kind of the in-house band, anytime they have an event–” Law jumped in with relish, “We’re there!”
As the cast has only seen a portion of the scripts for this nearly double-sized season, the Pussycats couldn’t share too much about how their roles will expand. But Asha Bromfield, who plays Melody Valentine, added, “Hopefully with 22 episodes, we’ll get to see what’s going on with the girls and our relationships with each other.” Law added with a grin, “Some Pussycat drama.” Bromfield agreed, “Yeah, what their secrets are. I think that’d be cool.”
As for Josie, Aguirre-Sacasa explained why she and Pussycats didn’t get much to do in Season 1. “Ashleigh (Murray) is a star. She’s a star. And because Season 1 was focused on Jason Blossom, the Pussycats weren’t that connected to Jason. And because Josie is such a driven character, and she knows what she wants — which is music — it’s like, ‘Omigod, how do we tell music stories when we’re trying to do a murder-mystery?'”
But when it comes to Season 2, Aguirre-Sacasa explained, “We’re going to do something a little bit different, where we’re going to weave Josie into the fabric of the show more.” Specifically, Josie will be pulled deeper into Archie and the gang’s storyline thanks to a new extracurricular activity. “Josie’s going to be a River Vixen,” Aguirre-Sacasa told us. “I just want her to be more of the gang.”
Asked about the new River Vixen role, Murray said with a sly smile, “All I can really say right now is, my mom arranged it, and that’s it. That’s all I can say right now.” Yet this slight admittance is pretty telling. From Season 1, we learned that nothing matters to Josie as much as her music. She risked her friendship with long-time gal pal Val for it. She defies her father’s musical prejudices to follow the song in her heart. Music is her one and only. But that might be changing.
Murray was eager to tell us Josie has a love interest this season. “I’m curious how it’s going to play out,” she said, noting that it’d be a challenge for the very independent and ambitious young woman to make room in her life and cede some control to a “male counterpart” in a relationship. But a familiar figure to Archie fans apparently wins over this aspiring rock star. “It might be a football player that you might know already,” Murray teased before confessing, “Our new Reggie Mantle, Charles Melton.”
Reggie Mantle plus Josie McCoy! Prepare your hearts shippers. What shall we call this pairing? Jo-Reg? McMantle?
But even without major facetime, Murray, Law and Bromfield have made a big impact. In a joint interview, Bromfield and Law were eager to share anecdotes about the response of Black fans who were thrilled to see themselves in the Josie and the Pussycats. The actresses spoke specifically about how sporting their natural hair on the show has helped some viewers love their own locks, just as they are.
“I particularly have hair that doesn’t quite curl, it just goes all over the place, as you can see,” Law said, gesturing to her beautiful big do, “I feel like girls that have hair like that are scared to embrace it. But it’s your God-given hair, just own it.”
Schechter, who was also in this interview, noted that Law came to the auditions with her hair natural. “Frankly that was one of the things we loved about you when you auditioned,” the producer told Law, “I think for us, it’s about embracing what makes people people who they are as individuals.”
“I think there’s so power in that,” Bromfield added, “I think a lot of us–I mean at least for me–I spent so much of my life trying to fit in this box of like, ‘Oh I have to treat my hair, maybe put in some extensions’ to conform to what I think they want from you when I go into an audition room.”
“A lot of my experience with Riverdale has been finding my own authentic power,” Bromfield declared, “Realizing that what I have is not just enough, but it’s amazing. And it can be celebrated in a space like Riverdale, one of the hit shows on TV!”
Look for more from our roundtable interviews with the Riverdale cast coming soon.
Returning October 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Riverdale stars K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy and Casey Cott as Kevin Keller.
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