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Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Talks the Return of ‘Riverdale’ [Part 2]

Bettina Strauss/The CW

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the creator of Riverdale, which is based on the characters from Archie Comics. New episodes of the hit series will continue airing on Wednesdays at 8 – 9 PM ET on The CW. Riverdale has already been renewed for a sixth season as well. This interview will discuss spoilers for episode 5×11.

The CW

Season five of Riverdale will begin with our characters’ final days as students at Riverdale High. From an epic Senior Prom to a bittersweet Graduation, there are a lot of emotional moments and goodbyes yet to come — with some couples breaking up, as everyone goes their separate ways to college — or elsewhere. Then, we will redock with our gang as young adults, all returning to Riverdale to escape their troubled pasts. And life — and romance — will only be more complicated now that they’re in their twenties…

I spoke with Aguirre-Sacasa about what’s next for Veronica, what makes Cheryl’s new plot different from her previous ones involving Jason, Archie and Veronica’s decision to wait, and Jughead’s voicemail to Betty. Keep reading to find out everything he told me!

The CW

First off, I want to ask you specifically about Veronica’s character. We’ve seen her in some very toxic relationships with both her father and now her husband, who she wants a divorce from. Is this divorce her opportunity to break free from this pattern and finally get her own storyline? Will we see her address this in any specific way?
Aguirre-Sacasa: Yeah, absolutely. You know, one of the key moments for me, in the episode that we come back with is when Archie and Veronica want to get back together immediately and Archie says, “I think we should hold off on that until you get officially divorced from Chad. I think that’s better for both of us.” Veronica grudgingly agrees, but she agrees, and I think one thing that does is it gives Veronica the space to figure out what she wants out of a relationship and partnership with a man. It sort of becomes her big story for the second half of the season and she comes to a very clear, strong resolution with Chad, that I hope people will find satisfying and she arrives at a really, I think surprising place regarding her relationship with Archie. So, that kind of is Veronica’s big story moving forward, for sure.

As you mentioned, Veronica and Archie have agreed to wait to be together until her divorce is final. Can you speak on this decision/their thought process, what’s ahead for them, and if Archie will be there to support her during this difficult process, even though it is Veronica’s story and she needs to do it herself?
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’ll tease this: that decision that Veronica and Archie make in 5×11 is a very fateful decision. What I love about — there’s a scene towards the end of that episode, which is Archie and Veronica in a diner, and you see how much they want to be together. It’s so clear, they have amazing chemistry, but they’re taking a beat and they’re getting their houses in order. It’s funny, Archie is definitely there for Veronica and helps her, but you sort of kind of hit on the right thing is when we talked about Veronica and we kind of put her in this bad marriage, we didn’t want to betray who she was. We wanted to make sure that when she started to pull her way out of that, she was really the one driving that; our ladies don’t do damsel in distress. So, there is some element to that for sure, Archie is a supportive guy, but as you said, it’s Veronica’s story.

The CW

We finally got to hear what Jughead said to Betty on the voicemail. Can fans prepare for a very long and overdue emotional conversation to finally put everything out in the open and heal that wound for both of them? Any chance of a possible reunion between the pair?
Yeah, first of all, I love how Cole committed to recording that message. It was a brutal, brutal message to leave and he recorded it. He spent a lot of time recording that, usually we knock these out in one go, but he really wanted to get it right. Later in the season, one of my favorite scenes of the season, I think is in 5×16 and it’s almost like a little play. It’s just Jughead and Betty talking about the voicemail and it kind of comes after we really unpack what led to Jughead leaving that message, what his frame of mind was at that moment, and again, it’s a dark story; it kind of speaks to Jughead’s trauma. Lili and Cole played that scene so beautifully that I think in that scene they do create the space to rebuild the relationship, probably in a different way, but at least to have a relationship.

Cheryl really seemed to be in a better place in terms of everything with Jason until her mother came back and by the end of the episode, it almost seems like she’s getting sucked right back in. How will this plot be different than the other times?
Yeah, well, we always talk about our characters and that they’re sort of always defined by certain things. On some level, as much healing as Cheryl has done, she will always be a girl who lost her soulmate when she was very young and lost the love that she felt with and from Jason. What’s nice about this story is that it starts a little bit like, “Oh, here we go again, Cheryl and Jason,” and Cheryl really comes to a deeper understanding of what she’s meant to do. This ministry that Penelope, of course, is starting as a scam, becomes a Cheryl story in that she’s genuinely fulfilled by it. That becomes Cheryl’s big story and I think it leads to a very surprising place and sort of redefines Cheryl by the end of the season.

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