www.cbr.com

SDCC LIVE: Riverdale Heads Into Its Senior Year

Riverdale is a small American town that has somehow harbored the mafia, a drug trade, a cult and at least one serial killer. After the exciting events of last season, Riverdale fans are Katy Keene to find out what Season 4 has in store for the crime-busting teens. At Comic-Con International’s Riverdale panel, the series' cast and crew were on hand to discuss the lead-up to the Season 3 finale's shocking flash-forward.

The panel started with some words by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, creator of the show, who said they wanted to begin the panel by honoring Luke Perry. "I remember that when Luke auditioned, I was so shocked that Luke Perry was auditioning, and he came up to me, and he said, "I read this script and I love the character Fred because he's just like me. I have a son... and this character speaks to me.'" For the Season 3 wrap party, they shared a tribute video of Luke Perry's scenes, which was then aired at the panel.

Madelaine Petsch, Camila Mendes, KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse then joined the panel.

The Season 4 premiere will be a tribute to Luke Perry and Fred Andrews. "When Luke passed it was towards the end of Season 3, and we felt rather than rush... we really wanted to honor Luke and Fred... we wanted to be a really special episode, kind of standalone, really emotional and really focused on what this character meant to this group of people, his son, his friends and the entire town of Riverdale."

Roberto then announced that Shannon Doherty will be in the first episode of Season 4, per Luke Perry's previous requests that she be brought on the show in some capacity.

"I think it was cathartic for all of us," said Cole Sprouse about filming the first episode.

Roberto also said that Molly Ringwald will be returning for more episodes this season and will be "Archie's mom more or less this whole season."

They then showed the Season 3 blooper reel.

About memorable twists, Lili said, "probably the harvesting organs situation, but it all makes sense because it's the Farm," and Roberto added that he's always wanted to do a story about harvesting organs.

"One thing we haven't really dug into the high school world. This year, we're really playing senior year, it's the last time they're going to have a senior prom, a senior homecoming..." said Roberto about the vibe of Season 4.

There will also be a new principal since Principal Weatherby joined the Farm, and Kerr Smith will be playing Principal Honey.

About the final scene, Cole said, "I think the beanie and whoopie cap has served as the most iconic symbol fo the Archie franchise... and I think the act of burning it is a really good hook."

Madelaine talked about how her character's mental health is at an all-time low as she's talking to her dead brother's body in the basement at the end of Season 4.

There will be a Halloween episode this year, and it's episode 4 that will air on October 30. Roberto said someone dies, but no one at the table.

Roberto said they're trying to get clearance on DC comic book characters for Cheryl and Toni, and Betty has a "fun scary story."

About her new half-brother, "I think it's a good opportunity for maybe Alice and FP to rekindle something," said Lili. "I think she feels a little betrayed by her mom clearly by having method acted her way through the entire season, but also she's grieving the loss of her father whom she feels she can't really miss" because it would make her a bad person to miss someone who was a serial killer.

Jughead gets whisked away on a scholarship to a very "Gossip Girl upper east side pretentious Richie Rich silver spoon" prep school, according to Cole, on a writing scholarship.  The school is some of the settings for the flash-forward, which will be a rival school for Riverdale HIgh. The school is called the Stonewall Stags.

Camila talked about the evolution of her character and how her dad is now a very clear villain in her life. "I think in Season 4, we're going to see Veronica suffering with the repercussions of that because Hiram is a vengeful person... he's sending paparazzi to her which causes a distraction in school and getting her in trouble... making it complicated for her to apply to colleges," said Camila.

There is an extended family member in Veronica's life that she didn't know existed, which is going to be a part of Veronica's storyline this season.

"All I know is Veronica and Cheryl team up for a business venture and get into some sticky trouble," said Madelaine.

According to KJ, there will be a lot of football this season as well as Mad Dog, and this season we'll be finding out his real name, and "he could possibly be introduced to the Bulldogs which could be fun."

Archie's comic band, The Archies, will also be brought to life this season, and there will be a battle of the bands episode.

Roberto said there will be a musical episode and songs throughout the season as they normally do, and  Madelaine will be signing more as well.

About Cheryl and Toni, "we come off in Season 4 with them in a strong place... I hope Choni is endgame," said Madelaine, despite Cheryl having a body-sized secret.

About Betty and Jughead, "He's going to Riverdale only on the weekends... Betty is so supportive of him.... because she wants the best for him and his education. He wants to be the first Jones man to go to college... I think they're strong, but I'm sure something's going to happen," said Lili.

"Varchie's killing it right now," said KJ, about the relationship between Veronica and Archie so far in Season 4.

"We will definitely be getting an on-screen kiss between FP and Alice for sure... one of Kevin's old flames will be coming back as well," said Roberto.

"We are definitely getting her backstory," said Roberto about getting into Toni's backstory this year.

Kevin will be trying to direct a musical where no one dies, and there will be some beef between Betty and Kevin as well because of what happened between them at the Farm.

With Josie in New York, Josie will still be coming back for episode 1. There will be a reckoning between Veronica and Reggie with a sweet Reggie scene in episode 2 showing his vulnerability.

The Vixens will also return this year. Choreography has become a normal thing for the girls now, according to Camila.

Cole talked about how much time they waste on set because he and KJ make each other laugh too much.

About Betty and Archie's friendship, KJ said he thinks there will be room for more of that this season.

Returning to The CW on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. EST, Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Madelaine Petsch, Casey Cott, Mark Consuelos, Skeet Ulrich, Marisol Nichols and Madchen Amick.

Absolute Carnage Gives a Venom Host a New Symbiote

More in CBR Exclusives