Full Dark, No Stars: Speculating on Riverdale’s Future

Written by Ry Canteras, you can tweet Ry if you want to reach him on twitter @sabao72

Riverdale is a strange, strange, animal. The show chooses to forego its source material’s light-heartedness, humor and color and replaces all that with lots of neon on gloomy blue filters, teen angst, and evil adults. Given the serialized nature of the show, When I first read the news about an Archie pilot being made, I assumed it would follow the plot of Mark Waid (Superman: Birthright) and Fiona Staples’ (Saga) modern interpretation of Archie. Instead, we have The OC meets Twin Peaks. This really shouldn’t have been a surprise. I mean, it’s the CW is running the show, and I don’t think they’ve played a straight high school drama since Life Unexpected. God I miss that show.

I don’t hate Riverdale, but it’s not what I was expecting. Maybe that’s the problem. Archie has built so many alternate universes, mash-ups and crossovers in its whole history that sticking to a formula was just never its tradition. The last four years alone have brought us elseworld titles like Life with Archie, Afterlife with Archie, and the aforementioned Archie by Waid and Staples that were so radically different from each other that it’s pretty obvious its publisher is trying its best to reach as broad an audience as it can by throwing out the rule book. Riverdale follows the same trend.

Riverdale has two episodes left as of writing with the season’s murder mystery coming to a close and a second season apparently already greenlit, their creative team will have to go back into the well for new material. Here are a couple of crazy ideas to shake things up:

The Curveball

This one idea’s going to be highly improbable and maybe just a little bit insane: What if they kill Archie Andrews? The show is called Riverdale and it’s narrated by Jughead so, I don’t know, Archie may actually be expendable.

The alternate universe title Life with Archie shows us that Archie can still move on without Archie. The fallout of his death and its effects on those near and dear to him would make for some very interesting stories. The problem with this idea, of course, is that Archie’s death in the books came toward the end of its run, and Riverdale doesn’t look like it’s about to lose steam soon. The problem with death is you’re taking a very important character permanently off the board, unless…

Going Full Weird

Grandma Blossom seemed like she had strange gypsy magic going on. If I were to stretch this incredibly flimsy argument some more, one may even speculate Jughead possesses powers of premonition with that one dream he had. Maybe the Cooper-Blossom blood feud culminates in an ancient pagan ritual that unleashes eldritch horrors upon the sleepy town of Riverdale.

ook at that. That is flipping Ctullhu in Afterlife with Archie. Flipping. Ctullhu. The book also has zombies, but I think we can all agree that TV has enough of those.

The CW’s absolutely in love with genre television. I mean, they have Nolan-esque superheroics in Arrow, mad sci-fi in Legends, the Flash and the 100, the occult in Supernatural and the Vampire Diaries. Eldritch horrors in Riverdale wouldn’t be new to them at all.

But do you know what else the CW loves?

The Mashup

Forget the first two ideas. I only brought them up so I could set this last one up: Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

The CW love their spin-offs. Arrow has The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and somehow snuck Supergirl and Constantine into continuity. Smallville had that Aquaman spin-off at pilot stage that didn’t pan out. Vampire Diaries has The Originals, and One Tree Hill had the short-lived Life Unexpected. Archie Comics holds a vast library of other properties they can tap into that can use Riverdale as its springboard, and Sabrina would be a perfect property to bring into the fold.

The CW’s own Arrow has already deftly introduced magical and sci-fi elements into its initially very grounded reality, so a move this strange for the show wouldn’t be new to the network. Perhaps, as earlier stated, Riverdale finds itself mixed up in some weird ancient magic mystery, and Archie and the gang (with Sabrina in tow) go around town to discover whatever dark grisly secrets there are to be discovered. The first season’s premise isn’t all that different. This one just has more magic and magical abominations in it. Look, I just really want a modern take at Sabrina.

That, or Sonic the Hedgehog and Megaman, whose comics Archie Comics also have rights over. No one would see either of them coming.

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