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Before RIVERDALE, Archie Was Almost a Time-Travel Movie Starring Louis C.K.

Before RIVERDALE, Archie Was Almost a Time-Travel Movie Starring Louis C.K.

Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) is about to come to life on The CW in the dark new series Riverdale. Described as a mix of Gossip Girl and Twin Peaks with all the iconic Archie characters, the midseason show is definitely not your childhood version of Archie.

But during the network’s 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour panel for Riverdale, executive producer and Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa revealed that this isn’t the first time he tried to bring Archie to live-action. And the first iteration looked and sounded way different than what Riverdale became.

“[Archie Comics CEO] Jon [Goldwater] and I have been working doing comic book projects and during one of our first meetings, we both had talked about wanting to do something in the live-action realm,” Aguirre-Sacasa told the room of journalists. “Our first thought had been to do an Archie movie. We partnered with some producers and we had gone to see Perks of Being a Wallflower which I loved. So the pitch was a slice of life coming-of-age movie which we took around to many places and a lot of the studios really loved the pitch and our characters. But they didn’t know how to market a coming-of-age film. It was not a big enough movie for a bunch of places.”

According to Aguirre-Sacasa, one studio that did show interest was Warner Bros. where Riverdale executive producer Sarah Schechter was working at the time, and she bought the pitch.

“We were so excited,” he said. “A few weeks go by and the contracts are sorted out and we get a phone call that one of the vice presidents at Warner Bros. who had not been in the pitch would like to have a kick-off meeting. He was like, ‘I want to get in on the ground floor.’ We go to the kick-off meeting and he said, ‘You know, I’ve been thinking about this and I think you guys need to do something a little more high-concept, a little bigger than just a coming-of-age show. I want you to think about time travel. Like Archie traveling through time.’ And I said, ‘… Okay.’ We just sort of sat there.”

A time-traveling Archie movie?! It can’t get any crazier than that. But yet, it did.

the CW

“He said, ‘It seems like you don’t like the time travel thing. I’ve got another thing: portals. Portals are huge. This is a portal to another dimension.’ We were just sitting there gobsmacked,” Aguirre-Sacasa said as the room and the panel of cast members erupted in laughter. “And then this was the greatest one which I actually think is a funny idea: he was like, ‘What if Louis C.K. is Archie?’ We were like, ‘We hear you … but we’re going to regroup.'”

That’s right, Louis C.K. was almost your modern version of Archie Andrews. Let that sink in for a moment.

“We spent about a month trying to figure out how to do a high-concept Archie movie and that’s kind of the exact opposite of what we wanted to do,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “All parties backed away and for a year or so nothing much happened. Then I read in Deadline that Sarah Schecter had joined forces with Greg Berlanti and either Sarah called me or I called her and said, ‘Let’s do Archie as a TV show.’ It made so much sense. It really felt like this was a match made in heaven.”

That’s when Riverdale began to seriously take shape.

“During our first meeting, Greg said, ‘You’re going to need a dead body,'” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “We took a pitch out that was more slice-of-life, coming-of-age and Fox bought it. One of the first things they said was, ‘We need to make this a little edgier and have a bit more of a hook.’ Seven months after Greg said to me, ‘You need a dead body,’ I was like, ‘We need a dead body.'”

He paused to laugh, then continued, “That’s when this show really crystallized artistically. It went from being a coming-of-age show to a loss-of-innocence show. It really framed every story we would tell which would be a more traditional Archie coming-of-age story but something that was darker, moodier, a little bit more noir.”

While a time-traveling Archie movie starring Louis C.K. is something that we seriously need to see happen at some point in the future, Riverdale is the Archie TV show that we deserve right now. What do you think of the original concept for the movie? Tweet me your thoughts and reactions at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: The CW

Riverdale premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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