KJ Apa Discusses the Classic ‘Riverdale’ Love Triangle and Archie Helping Cheryl

KJ Apa stars as Archie Andrews on The CW’s Riverdale, which is based on characters from the Archie Comics. New episodes of the seventh and final season will continue to air Wednesdays at 9 PM ET. This interview will include spoilers for episode 7×04, “Chapter One Hundred Twenty-One: Love & Marriage.”

CUPID’S CHECK LIST — After enlisting Archie’s (KJ Apa) help, Cheryl’s (Madelaine Petsch) plan to fool her family spirals out of control.  Jughead (Cole Sprouse) turns to Veronica (Camila Mendes) for help after finding himself in some trouble, and Betty (Lili Reinhart) gives Kevin (Casey Cott) an ultimatum.

I asked the actor about what fans can expect from upcoming episodes, the Varchie/Barchie love triangle, Archie’s storyline with Cheryl, and more! Read what he told me below.

Photo: The CW — © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The love triangle between Veronica, Archie, and Betty is not only part of the show, but it’s also such a huge theme in the Archie Comics. What can you tease about that dynamic going forward?
KJ Apa: Yeah, I mean, in my opinion, I feel like again, we’re really leaning into what those relationships were in the comics and I feel like having a 50s element allows us to kind of gain this heightened sort of reality, which is the same as the comics. I mean, you know how most of the time in the rest of our seasons, we’re trying to make it as grounded as possible with the love triangle, but now, I feel like it’s still grounded but we’re able to bring more of the humor out of it and play around with it a lot more than we were used to just because of the tone of the season. 

Do you have a favorite episode coming up that you can tease for me?
I think my favorite episode is episode five, directed by Jeff Woolnough. That, in my opinion, is the best one, because it really shows the love triangle of Archie, Veronica, and Betty, which is the love triangle that we know from the comics and that’s always been a really exciting story for me to tell. The same triangle from the comics is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and we really got to dive into that in a really comedic way.

You always tell me how much fun the musical episodes are. Do you know if we can expect one for the final season and if so, do you know what it’s going to be already?
Oh, yeah, we are definitely having a musical episode. I don’t think Roberto would let us finish this season without one. It’s definitely the biggest and I know we say that every time but I mean, you can expect it to be pretty big being last season. And what I can say about it is it’s nothing like — there’s a lot of original material, which is really fun to play with.

Photo: The CW — © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In episode four, we see Archie helping Cheryl try to fool her family. What was it like to do that storyline with Madelaine?
Well, Cheryl is struggling with her sexuality and what I love most about that episode, in particular, is, for Archie, it brings out the most — the purest side of him that we know and that we’re all used to. He goes so far out of the way at the expense of his own future to really help someone and to try and find a reason of how he can be happy in this world with her too with her struggling with this thing. And that’s who Archie is, he will literally go to the end of the earth to help someone, no matter who it is, and when I read that, I was stoked because I was like, “Yeah, this is the Archie that we love.”

That answer made me a little emotional. That’s beautiful. We haven’t gotten to see Cheryl and Archie’s friendship in a while and fans did really love it.
Yeah, I love working with Madelaine. She’s great. The Blossoms are always a little crazy so working with them, they’re all really funny people to work with. Nathalie, Barclay, who plays Clifford, and Madelaine, they’re all playing such characters, so it’s a lot of fun working with them.

When it comes to the Blossoms and their dialogue, I don’t know how you film it without breaking. I would be hysterically laughing.
Oh, I am, and when I had scenes with Barclay, I’m constantly in hysterics and it’s getting to the point where I’m like, I need to stop because it’s becoming a problem.