Though Archie’s longtime best friend Jughead Jones was confirmed as asexual last year in “Jughead” #4, that won't be the case on The CW's "Riverdale." Cole Sprouse was quick to shut down the idea that his character would be asexual (or that he had anything to do with the decision), but he did offer a glimmer of hope that the show may explore that plot down the line.
"First off, I personally would love to see that exploration, but I'm just the actor," Sprouse told CBR and other reporters during a set visit in November. "At the end of the day, to say that that's my job or my duty, is probably a misunderstanding of the writers' role and the director's role and the producer's role. Like, if I was in full creative charge of this character, things obviously would be different. Things, obviously, would go a certain way, but it seems to me that they're not going to explore that angle."
"To me, that's kind of unfortunate, to be quite honest. I think there's a lot of room for growth in that, and I think that kind of representation is quite interesting, and I think it's needed, frankly," he continued. "But this is also one of those things where it's only really been canon in a single iteration of the Archie universe, and that's [Chip] Zdarsky's universe. It was said very shortly in passing, and it really wasn't addressed with kind of the fullness that I think it should have been addressed with."
"Unfortunately for the other representations of Jughead, it has garnered much of the attention on his character. Jughead has not really been asexual until that single iteration of Zdarsky's comic about maybe a year ago. So, it's not in the digest, it's not in any of the previous ones, and now it's kind of become the lynchpin of his character, which I also don't know if that's right, specifically," he added. "But I don't have that kind of control as an actor, to be quite honest. I would love to sit here and be like, 'Yes! Of course! He will do this and this!' but, you know, we'll see."
Nevertheless, Sprouse remains hopeful that we'll see Jughead's sexuality explored on "Riverdale," saying, "I know that Jughead's story right now has not fully been explored, and especially in terms of sexuality and his placement with the world, and I think -- because he as a character is so, so lost just amongst himself and amongst his relations with everyone around him -- that I think there's a lot of growth available there, and there's a lot of narrative that can be explored. But I really think if you want the answer to this question, you should point it at some of the creative leads on the show, because I think that would be a little more pointed and you guys would be able to get better answers."
This isn't the first time Sprouse has weighed in on Jughead's asexuality -- or, that is, his lack thereof. During the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, he also lamented that Jughead won't be asexual, but offered the same sense of hope that it could be brought up somewhere down the line: “If Season One is one of those events or something like that needs to happen in Season One for Jughead to eventually realize that kind of narrative, I’d love to play with that too.”
As for Jughead's potential romances? Well, "Stranger Things" star Shannon Purser is lined up to play Ethel Muggs, who is famed in the comics for her romantic pursuit of Jughead Jones. Though Ethel's character description teases that she will end up in the arms of “someone very different,” Sprouse did say Jughead would interact with the character. "I've spent some time with her on set, but they're definitely going to be exploring that angle between Jughead and Ethel," he revealed. "I know they really want to explore that... So, we'll see."
Premiering Thursday, Jan. 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, “Riverdale” stars K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller and Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle.