We love Riverdale, the Twin Peaks/Archie comics mashup that debuted on the CW this January. And thanks to the San Diego Comic-Con happening last weekend, we’ve got news about the new season! Riverdale Season 2 premieres Wednesday, October 11 at 8 p.m. It’ll also be a full 22-episode season; Season 1 was only 13 episodes.
There are a few lineup changes too. Ross Butler, who played Reggie Mantle in Season 1, left for Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Charles Melton is taking over the role (with Butler’s blessing). And good news for fans of Betty Cooper’s gay bestie, Kevin Keller — Casey Cott has been promoted to series regular. We’ll also be seeing Mark Consuelos of Pitch joining Riverdale as Hiram Lodge, Veronica’s dad and a heretofore unseen puppet master.
But the biggest casting news is that Vanessa Morgan will be joining the cast as Toni Topaz. Toni’s first appearance in the comics was in 2012. She’s a tough girl with pink hair and one of the only people who can out-eat Jughead. Toni was revealed to be bisexual in the April 2017 issue of Archie.
While Riverdale has a diverse cast — including queer characters like Kevin and now Toni, and making Moose at least bi curious — it’s also had some controversy. While in the comics, Jughead is asexual, in Riverdale, they’ve paired him with Betty. Which is, of course, not to suggest asexual people don’t have relationships — and producers have said Jughead is still figuring out his own sexuality. Still, without Jughead, asexual representation on TV is still pretty much limited to Todd on Bojack Horseman and Evan, the asexual magician from High Maintenance.
Riverdale even has its own queer pedigree. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the executive producer, first came to fame as the playwright of Archie’s Weird Fantasy. Archie’s Weird Fantasy was a play about Archie Andrews coming out as gay and moving to New York. Unfortunately, Archie Comics sent him a cease-and-desist. The play went on as Weird Comic Book Fantasy with character names changed.
Later in 2013, Aguirre-Sacasa created the comic series Afterlife With Archie, a post-apocalyptic look at the characters — but an official one this time. The book did so well Aguirre-Sacasa was promoted to the company’s Chief Creative Officer. (Though we probably still won’t see an official version of Archie’s Weird Fantasy anytime soon.)