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The CW’s upcoming take on the Archie comics will be darker and weirder than fans might expect. Set in the present day, Riverdalefollows the beloved characters from the comic books as they deal with both high school problems — like Archie (K.J. Apa) having to go the dance with two different girls — and a murder mystery.

“It’s definitely Archie, but a little darker, a little more complex and a little weirder than you might remember from the digest you bought at the supermarket,” teased executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa when he and the cast stopped EW’s lounge at San Diego Comic Con 2016. “We’re saying it’s a little bit like Archie meets Twin Peaks.”

Aguirre-Sacasa promised the series will be a “mix of the nostalgia and this newer serialized mystery element.” At the same time, the show will give viewers a subversive and Gossip Girl-esque interpretation of the source material. For example, Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) share a kiss in the series, and Aguirre-Sacasa says there will be more of that to come. (There’s a reason EW’s Tim Stack has taken to calling the series “Sexy Archie”). “There is a very taboo slumber party that happens in episode 7 where many of the kids will be kissing,” said Aguirre-Sacasa.

The cast and writers are confident that fans of the comics won’t be too disturbed by this new interpretation because the Archie comics have a history of taking their characters to new and peculiar places. As Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead, mentions, Afterlife With Archiehas zombies descending on Riverdale. “In terms of character continuity, yes, we of course, are doing them a faithful service, these classic renditions of these character. But the audience is already primed for a new, twisted, film noir, kind of creepy, scary Archie,” said Sprouse.

See the entire interview with the cast above.

Produced by Greg Berlanti, the series also stars Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom and Luke Perry as Fred Andrews, Archie’s father.Riverdale will debut midseason on The CW.

Entertainment Weekly is on the scene at San Diego Comic-Con. Go inside with all our coverage, available here.


SATURDAY, JULY 23: 6:30 p.m.–7:20 p.m. Riverdale Pilot Screening and Q&A — Things aren’t always what you expect in Riverdale. Based on the iconic characters from Archie Comics and produced by Berlanti Productions (The Flash, Supergirl, Blindspot, Everwood), this one-hour drama is a bold, subversive take on the surreality of small-town life. As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom — and nothing feels the same. Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music — and not follow in his dad’s footsteps — despite the sudden end of his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel). Which means Archie doesn’t have anyone who will mentor him — certainly not singer Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), who is only focused on her band, the soon-to-be-world-famous Pussycats. It’s all weighing heavily on Archie’s mind — as is his fractured friendship with budding writer and fellow classmate Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse). Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) is anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer, but she’s not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty’s nerves — which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother, Alice (Mädchen Amick) — aren’t the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols), there’s an undeniable spark between she and Archie, even though Veronica doesn’t want to risk her new friendship with Betty by making a play for Archie. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch)… Riverdale’s Queen Bee is happy to stir up trouble amongst Archie, Betty, and Veronica, but Cheryl is keeping secrets of her own. What, exactly, is she hiding about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there are dangers in the shadows. Riverdale makes its Comic-Con debut with a screening of the complete pilot episode, followed by a Q&A with series stars and executive producers. Riverdale is from Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Blindspot), Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Supergirl, Glee), Sarah Schechter (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Blindspot) and Jon Goldwater (Archie Comics). Riverdale premieres midseason on The CW. Become a fan of Riverdale on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/CWRiverdale, and follow the show on Twitter at @CW_Riverdale.  Room 6BCF (X)