The CW has announced the casting of Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones for the Archie Comics pilot Riverdale. Jughead will be played by Cole Sprouse best known for the Disney Channel show The Suit Life of Zack and Cody and Betty will be played by Lili Reinhart who had a recurring role in Surviving Jack.
A Dateline excusive described Reinhart’s Betty as “sweet, studious, eager-to-please and wholesome with a huge crush on her longtime best friend, Archie.” This description seems to fit the Betty from the comics but Jughead’s description seems to being going for more of a change. “A heartthrob with a philosophical bent and former best friend of Archie Andrews.” The Jughead of the comics is lazy, likes to eat and usually leaves matters of the heart to other characters.
In contrast, the current Jughead comic book written by Chip Zdarsky he was confirmed as being canonically asexual in the latest issue. However it is unclear how this will affect Jughead as he appears in other Archie Comics stories or in Riverdale. The show will have some variety in orientation as official Archie Comics website has confirmed that Kevin Keller, a popular gay character, will have an important role on the show.
Riverdale will have a darker tone that “offers a bold, subversive take” on the usually wholesome world of Archie Comics. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Jon Goldwater, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa will serve as executive producers. Berlanti and Schecter are no strangers to The CW as they are both executive producers on Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. Jon Goldwater is the current CEO of Archie Comics and son of John L. Goldwater, one of the founders of Archie Comics. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the chief creative officer of Archie Comics and also wrote the pilot.
This is not Archie Comics first foray into the world of television. The character Sabrina, the Teenage Witch had a popular show but it did not feature other Archie Comics characters. Archie and his friends have appeared in several cartoon shows over the years, such as The Archie Show, which heavily featured the fictional band The Archies. The Archies put out music as if it where a real band and even managed to get the song Sugar, Sugar to the top of the charts. The characters also appeared as adults in the live action TV movie Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (also known as Archie: Return to Riverdale.) Similar to the TV movie, the new CW series updates the characters by bringing in more adult issues.
This year marks the 75 anniversary of the introduction of the character of Archie Andrews. Check out the official Archie Comics website for more information of the show or other Archie Comics projects.