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SYFY WIRE Riverdale

Weird crossover of the day: 'Riverdale' now shares the same universe as... 'Pretty Little Liars'?

Are HBO Max and The CW setting up their own multiverse of teenage madness?

By Josh Weiss
Riverdale; Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

It seems that HBO Max and The CW might be quietly laying the groundwork for a teenage multiverse of madness. Case in point: Episode 6 of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin makes a direct reference to Sisters of Quiet Mercy, a notable locale featured in The CW's Riverdale. While totally unexpected, this small crossover between the two properties is not out of the realm of possibility when you consider the fact that Warner Bros. Television (part of the newly-minted Warner Bros. Discovery) co-produces both shows and owns/has a major stake in the network and streaming service on which they air. What's more: they share the same showrunner in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

“We kind of just wrote that line in," the executive producer admitted during a recent interview with TVLine. "I assumed that we wouldn’t be allowed to reference Riverdale, since it’s in a completely different universe, but it stayed in. So, yeah, I guess it does exist in the same universe. Bailee [Madison] gives a great look when that’s mentioned. That was obviously just a fun Easter egg in an episode with the biggest Easter egg of them all, which is going to Rosewood.”

He continued: "Alex [Aiono], who plays Shawn, is obsessed with the idea of a rivalry between the Millwood High Steppenwolfs and the Riverdale Bulldogs. I would love for there to be a football game between them. Who knows, though? If we did push it further, I don’t even know how far we’d be allowed to push the shared universes. It would be great, though, that’s for sure.”

Episode 6 of Original Sin also name-drops Cole Sprouse, who plays the role of Jughead Jones in Riverdale. When asked about this, Aguirre-Sacasa joked: "It's a multiverse!" But hey, if Marvel Studios can pull it off, why not the world of teenage dramas?

The latest iteration of the Pretty Little Liars franchise is also executive produced by Marlene King (who developed the original property), Michael Grassi, Caroline Baron, and Alloy’s Leslie Morgenstein, and Gina Girolamo. Aguirre-Sacasa produces under his Muckle Man Productions alongside Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. 

Riverdale recently wrapped up its sixth season and despite a number of cancelations among The CW's programming slate, will return for a seventh outing.

Episodes 1-7 of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin are now available to stream on HBO Max.

Looking for more sci-fi, horror and supernatural action? Check out Resident Alien and Chucky on Peacock, and catch up on the first season of SYFY's SurrealEstate in the SYFY app ahead of Season 2's return.