A new CW show is set to turn the all-American memory of Riverdale, the town from the Archie comic series, on it’s head. Riverdale is described as a “subversive” take on the comics and according to Deadline today Luke Perry (90210) will be joining the cast as Fred Andrews, Archie’s dad. The show will be set in the present day and dig into the weirdness and darkness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.
The project has been in development for some time shepherded by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow) and Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, chief creative officer of Archie Comics. Aguirre-Sacasa is also writing the scripts.
A worldwide talent search found New Zealand actor KJ Apa (Shortland Street) for the role of Archie Andrews. Lili Reinhart (The Kings of Summer) and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life on Deck, Big Daddy) have also been cast as Archie’s close friends Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones, Madeline Petsch (Instant Mom) as mean-girl Cheryl Blossom, while newcomer Ashleigh Murray will star as Josie, lead singer of Josie and the Pussycats.
Perry’s character owns a construction business which he hopes to groom his son to take over someday. The series will start at the beginning of Archie’s sophomore year, when a summer’s worth of working construction has him fit, trim, and juggling attention from several girls. He’ll be pursing his music interests, trying to get Josie to record one of the songs he wrote, while balancing the demands of his football coach and father.
There does seem to be some confusion about what format the project will take. Deadline calls it a pilot, which indicates the first episode of a series, but IMDb has it listed as a TV movie. The comic series has been animated several times over the decades but only one live-action production was made. In 1990 an NBC TV movie, Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, portrayed the characters as adults, 15 years after high-school graduation.