The first character details for The CW's in-development, Archie Comics-based "Riverdale" TV series have been released, and as expected for a show that's been described as "Archie Meets David Lynch," there are some significant departures from the traditional depictions of the Riverdale gang. TVLine has casting breakdowns for Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead, each of which bring new layers to the decades-old characters.
Archie Andrews is described as "pumped and looking good after working construction for his dad during the summer," plus "harboring more than one dark, terrible secret." Consistent with classic Archie traits, he's pursuing music and playing football -- and fielding romantic interest from multiple girls.
In a move likely to raise some eyebrows, Betty Cooper is said to have "some self-esteem issues and affinity for Adderall." Less surprising, she's also said to be "eager-to-please, wholesome and studious." Betty will also have a "emotionally brittle mom" and "goth-like sister," and it's noted, ominously, that her spot on the cheerleading team comes "with certain conditions."
"Riverdale" is looking to "ideally" cast a Latina performer in the role of Veronica Lodge, TVLine reports. She's said to have recently returned to Riverdale after a scandal that saw her father go to prison, and is dubbed "extremely intelligent, self-confident and immediately popular" -- and looking to shed her Mean Girl image.
The show's Jughead Jones is called an "emo-heartthrob," and the producers are said to seek a hearing-impaired actor for the role. When the show picks up, Archie and Jughead will no longer be best friends due to an as-yet undisclosed schism, with Jughead "refusing to take the olive branch being proffered by Archie, the hurt goes that deep."
While these changes may seem dramatic, shifts from classic Archie storytelling have been the hallmark of Archie Comics' publishing line in recent years, from "Life with Archie," which recast the crew as working adults with grown-up problems; "Afterlife with Archie," which sees the Riverdale gang in the midst of a legitimate zombie apocalypse; and the recently relaunched "Archie," a contemporary take on the characters written by Mark Waid and illustrated by artists including Fiona Staples.
"Riverdale" is executive produced by Greg Berlanti, whose already has the hits "Arrow," "The Flash" and "Supergirl" on his comics-based TV show roster. Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer and "Afterlife with Archie" writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has written the script for the pilot. The series -- said to explore the "secrets, intrigue and scandal abound" in the seemingly wholesome Riverdale -- was originally in development at Fox before moving to The CW.