San Diego Comic-Con is winding to a close, but that doesn’t mean Sunday was totally without news. The day is typically reserved for big Hall H panels about CW series, and today brought us a ton of new information about the upcoming fourth season of Riverdale. What will the show look like in the absence of Luke Perry? What will senior year be like for our main characters: Archie (K.J. Apa), Veronica (Cami Mendes), Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and Cheryl (Madelaine Pestch)? And what about that crazy cliffhanger at the end of season three? The show’s creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, was joined onstage by the cast to go over what we can expect when the show returns to The CW this fall.
More TV veterans are joining the cast
Riverdale has a habit of casting teen stars from the ’90s as adults, and that will continue into season four. Shannen Doherty is set to appear in the season premiere to honor Luke Perry’s Fred Andrews. The two starred on Beverly Hills 90210 together in the ’90s and remained close friends, so it’s a fitting tribute to both Luke—who passed away earlier this year—and Fred, whose death will be the focus of the first episode, titled “In Memoriam.”
Dawson’s Creek alum Kerr Smith will also join the cast as Mr. Honey, the new principal of Riverdale High. According to Aguirre-Sacasa, Honey is more of a “hard-ass” than Principal Weatherby was, and takes “a harder line with the students this year, especially with the seniors.” He’ll recur throughout the season, making his first appearance in episode two, “Fast Times at Riverdale High.”
Jughead is going to prep school
Cole Sprouse teased that this season will find Jughead on a scholarship to a prep school, which he likened to the one in Gossip Girl. The prep school, called Stonewall, will be a rival school for Riverdale High, presenting new challenges for the character. One thing it won’t affect? Jughead’s relationship with his sister Jellybean. Sprouse says we’ll see more of that sibling relationship in season four.
The season will be more high school-focused
One common complaint about Riverdale is that we rarely see the kids as students, with most of the plot set outside the school. That will change in season four, which Aguirre-Sacasa says will be more high school-focused. “This year the kids are seniors,” he explained, “and we haven’t really dug deep into the high school world. So this year we’re really playing senior year. It’s the last time that they’re going to have a senior prom, it’s the last time they’re going to have a homecoming game, so we’re really dig in deep into the high school franchise.”
Last year’s cliffhanger will be this season’s big mystery
The rivalry with Stonewall and the fact that the show is getting more in-depth with high school whatnots will tie into the cliffhanger from the third season finale, which featured a flash-forward to Betty, Veronica, and Archie burning their clothes and Jughead’s iconic hat. That scene takes place after senior year, and so far we have no idea what it could mean. Aguirre-Sacasa said that the midseason finale will take place on that night, and that the season will feature more flash-forwards teasing what happened.
The core four are starting a band
In happier news, the four main character—Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead—will form a band called The Archies in season four. That’s a famous carryover from the comics, and also follows up on what we saw in last year’s flashback episode, when their parents—as played by Apa, Mendes, Reinhart, and Sprouse—were part of a band called The Fred Heads. Music has always been a major part of the show, so The Archies seemed inevitable.
There’s finally going to be a Halloween episode
One thing fans have wanted for ages is a Halloween episode of the series. That wish is finally coming true this year! Episode four of the season will be set on the spooky holiday, and someone is going to die. The cast said it was no one on the panel, so we can breathe easy for now, but we’re sure to be on edge when that episode airs later this fall.
Images: The CW