We’ve been to our share of PaleyFest panels, but this year’s Riverdale session was truly next level. The cast and creatives behind the CW hit gathered at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre for the world premiere of the upcoming musical episode, followed by a panel touching on everything from your favorite ships to the possible identity of the Black Hood.
The fans were incredibly enthusiastic about both the episode and hearing from the cast – and the panel was stacked with pretty much all of our faves. (Although one Toni Topaz – Vanessa Morgan – was unfortunately absent.) KJ Apa (Archie), Cole Sprouse (Jughead), Lili Reinhart (Betty), Camila Mendes (Veronica), Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl), Ashleigh Murray (Josie), Mädchen Amick (Alice Cooper), Marisol Nichols (Hermione Lodge), Luke Perry (Fred Andrews), and Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones) were all on-hand, as were Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater.
Thankfully for our Riverdale hearts, they had a lot to say. Here are five things we learned from the gang at PaleyFest:
The musical episode has been a long time coming.
The audience was in for a big surprise before the panel even officially started – a sneak peek screening of the upcoming musical episode, “A Night to Remember,” in its entirety. We definitely want to avoid spoilers, but I’ll say that this may be the best episode the show has done yet. It’s everything Riverdale does well to the max – the humor, the drama, the camp, and the very real stakes. There is an intense ending you won’t want to miss watching live. (And the musical numbers are pretty dang good, too!)
Coming out of the screening, this episode was among the first topics of discussion for the panel. According to EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, it’s been a long time coming.
“[Doing a musical episode] was something we talked about even in Season 1, and we ran out of time,” he said. The concept kept getting pushed until it “came to a moment of truth where it was either we’re doing it now or we’re not doing it. Everyone really rallied and we pulled together a huge production kind of close to the end of the season.”
Aguirre-Sacasa may have been one of the musical episode’s biggest champions, but EP Greg Berlanti (who also directed Love, Simon) didn’t need much convincing to sign off on it. “I love a good musical episode,” he said. “Carrie really just fit so well with the characters and the storylines that they were doing, and I think it’s sort of given its due with the show.”
Cheryl Blossom plays an important part in the episode (pun intended, as you will see when you watch it). Madelaine Petsch said, “I think it was a really fun and rewarding thing to do – to kind of stop for a minute and do this crazy, elated episode of Riverdale.” She also shared her experience being covered in “blood” a la Carrie. “Whoa it was sticky,” Petsch said. She had to hold onto a bar in between shots because her arms would actually get stuck to her sides. “The shower afterwards was sweet relief,” she added.
We haven’t seen Cole Sprouse’s favorite Bughead moment yet.
Beyond the musical episode, you know that the panel had to talk about all of our favorite ships. Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart were asked about their favorite Bughead moment this season – and while Lili didn’t share a conclusive answer, Cole’s thoughts gave us something to look forward to.
“I think my favorite moment is coming up in an episode. It’s going to be a moment between Jughead, Betty, and Chick,” he said. “Jughead’s a badass in Season 2. Just wait,” Lili added.
Is the inevitable showdown against creepy Chick going to finally happen?! Consider us intrigued.
From Choni to Falice, there are plenty of shipping moments to look forward to.
Bughead and Varchie weren’t the only ships getting some love from the Riverdale gang, as Choni (Cheryl and Toni) and Falice (FP and Alice) got just as many cheers when they came up.
Roberto teased this week’s “powerful episode” with Cheryl and Toni, saying, “It’s something we’ve thought about for a while, and we’re excited to see it come to fruition.”
Madelaine also spoke to her perspective on Cheryl’s sexuality and how important it is for her to portray it properly. “I don’t think [her sexuality] was a realization. It is something she’s known for a long time and her mom has pushed down and hated about her, and it’s made Cheryl hate herself,” Petsch said. “I feel so welcomed by the community, and I’m so excited to bring that to life. I think it’s important and unfortunately it’s still happening, parents not accepting their children. Toni’s really helping her explore that love for herself, and I think it’s a really beautiful relationship – TBD.”
“Toni’s really helping [Cheryl] explore that love for herself, and I think it’s a really beautiful relationship – TBD.” – Madelaine Petsch
As for Falice, Mädchen Amick urged moderator Tim Stack and fans to “get on board.” I think the cheers for this ship and Skeet Ulrich as FP may have been the loudest – which is really saying something. Fans can look forward to a “really big episode” for Alice, the Serpents, and FP, according to Roberto.
The campaign for mayor of Riverdale might get ugly.
If you ask me, you do not want to be on the bad side of the Lodge family. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where Fred Andrews is going to end up now that he is running for mayor against Hermione.
While Hermione isn’t thrilled with the situation herself, she’s going to put up a fight. “I think having Fred run against Hermione is her worst nightmare,” Marisol Nichols said. “I think Hermione has a more politically savvy kill or be killed instinct… and unfortunately, [Fred’s] her opponent.”
That’s more than a little threatening. But Luke Perry didn’t seem phased. “Yeah, she’s looking to make Riverdale great again,” he said, brushing off the comments to major applause. “But Riverdale has always been great. It’s gonna get greater.”
The wig room may or may not make a return.
Okay, so it seems like this is a “probably not” situation – but it was a fun story that we wanted to share with you. Aguirre-Sacasa revealed that the wig room became a thing because Barclay Hope (Clifford Blossom) didn’t want to dye his hair red for the role. When the wig production used instead produced “a lot of notes from the studio and network that the wig was crazy,” the team had to go back to the drawing board.
“I think Greg Berlanti had the idea that we should make it a character trait that he has a room full of wigs like Lex Luthor, so that’s how the wig room was born,” Roberto shared. An origin story that can stand with the best of them.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
Featured Image by: Brian To for the Paley Center