Everything We Know About ‘Riverdale’ Season 3
Spoilers ahead for Riverdale Season 2.
Though it only premiered last year, Riverdale has already covered a lot of ground: It's dredged up aging rivalries, unmasked Jason Blossom's murderer, introduced a new — and far more destructive — killer, ignited gang wars, delved deep into the mob, sent Cheryl to (and subsequently saved her from) gay conversion therapy, and let Betty's creepy fake half-brother wreak havoc on the Cooper household. This is a show that lays its twists on thick.
And yet it still, apparently, has much more left to give. The Season 2 cliffhanger slapped Archie with some potentially life-altering criminal charges, and though the Black Hood is now safely behind bars, there are plenty of other Riverdale adults still cooking up danger behind scenes.
It may seem as though the finale only just wrapped, but fans won't have to wait long to see how things play out: Riverdale's Season 3 premiere is officially set for October 10, only a few short months away, and its cast and crew have already begun to drop some major hints about what's to come when the beloved teen drama returns. Below, see everything we know so far.
The last time we saw Archie, he was being dragged off to jail for the murder of Cassidy, who was gunned down by the Lodge's bodyguard, Andre, after he tried to rob their family cabin. Viewers know Archie is innocent, but Hiram is on the offensive, and it sounds like Archie will be suffering the repercussions of waging war with an actual mob boss for a good chunk of Season 3.
“The prospect of Archie on trial is pretty delicious,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa recently told TVLine, adding that he's also interested in "the prospect of Archie in a juvenile detention center." He also teased that there might be a "courtroom thriller" or "prison noir" element, so both seem like strong — and equally grueling — possibilities, especially since the script he tweeted of Episode 1 featured a drawing of Archie in court.
Either way, Archie's ongoing feud with Hiram will be a driving force in Season 3. "This season, Archie was sort of intoxicated by Hiram — his power and the way he moves through the world and his ruthless ideals. Archie kind of came back to the good guys' side by the end of the season, but there are consequences for what he's done this season," Aguirre-Sacasa elaborated while speaking to The Hollywood Reporter. "He and Hiram are squaring off, so I think that will be one of the main conflicts of season three, for sure."
Much of Season 2 saw the teens of Riverdale fighting their own battles: Betty with the Black Hood, Jughead with the Serpents, and Archie and Veronica with their own respective Hiram conflicts. And while Season 3 will continue to up the stakes, it will also help bring the gang back together.
"We are going to have the gonzo, crazy, heightened story and plot twists and turns that people appreciate about Riverdale, sure," Aguirre-Sacasa told Deadline. "But I’ll tell you we’re also really going to keep our eye on the prize, which is the friendships and the romances."
Lili Reinhart, who plays Betty Cooper, reiterated the sentiment during an interview with Harper's Bazaar, saying she was "very much pushing" for viewers to "see the kids interact more as a group." Having them rally behind Archie would be a fitting starting point.
Aguirre-Sacasa hinted to Deadline that Jughead's mom and sister, Gladys and Jellybean Jones, might finally make an appearance in Season 3.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if they came to Riverdale bringing bad tidings for Jughead and Betty and FP and Alice," he said.
There was perhaps no character whose Season 2 was more harrowing than Betty Cooper's. She broke up (and eventually reunited) with Jughead; faced off with her long-lost brother only to come to the heartbreaking realization that not only was he an imposter, but he'd murdered her real brother; and, after being emotionally harassed by the Black Hood, made the family-destroying discovery that he was, in fact, her father.
In Season 3, Reinhart told Harper's Bazaar, Betty might finally get to see a little more light than darkness.
"In the season finale, when you saw Betty and Jughead in bed together, she's smiling when he says, 'Will you be my serpent queen?' she explained. "[Aguirre-Sacasa] told me, ‘When I watched that scene and I saw Betty smile, it made me want more of that.' I think the girl deserves a break.”
"I think that will always be a part of her character," Aguirre-Sacasa told THR. "With the darkness, either Betty was denying it or it was controlling her. There was a struggle to understand it. I think that will continue... [but] rather than do another season of Betty struggling with her darkness, she's dealing with it another way or turning away from it or controlling it."
"If it feels like Riverdale is a place where people are getting killed all the time, maybe we find out that that’s not a coincidence. Maybe in Season 3, that’s actually part of a bigger pattern and a bigger unspoken history," Aguirre-Sacasa told Deadline.
"I think what started in my mind as a traditional coming-of-age show quickly morphed into something that was a little pulpier, something that was more noir, something that had a suspense or crime element," Aguirre-Sacasa explained to THR. "Yes, in season one, we did a murder mystery, and in season two, we did a serial killer in a small town and The Godfather in a small town. Season three will have a high genre element like that. That's what the show is. It's not just about the Archie characters. It's the Archie characters put into a specific genre, and we see how they relate and survive and adapt."
The CW announced in May that both Vanessa Morgan (Toni Topaz) and Charles Melton (Reggie Mantle) have been promoted to series regulars.
"One idea is that we might shift the focus around on different characters, some of our supporting players as well to kind of tell a tapestry of what life is like when Riverdale is on the verge of becoming Sin City," Aguirre-Sacasa revealed to Deadline, noting to keep an eye on Cheryl, Toni, Kevin, and Josie. "They’re going to carry more story than they have in Season 1 and Season 2."
Reports have surfaced about at least two new characters: Evelyn Evernever, an "otherworldly," seemingly omnipresent" 20-something who's "eager to befriend Betty" but "may be hiding dark secrets about herself," according to That Hashtag Show, and her father Edgar, an "attractive," "charismatic," and "comforting" new-age health guru who helps Alice get her life together after Hal's devastating Black Hood ordeal.
Polly, quite suspiciously, suggested bringing someone back from the mysterious farm she'd been staying at to help Alice, and all signs point to Edgar being that person. But, because this is Riverdale, the farm might not be as innocuous as it sounds on paper.
“We’ve been seeding the idea of the farm, and that the farm may not be as altruistic and as benevolent a place as Polly suggests," Aguirre-Sacasa teased to Entertainment Weekly. "What is this place, and what does it mean for Polly? What does it mean for Alice, who is sort of emotionally bereft or hollowed out at the end of season 2?"