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SYFY WIRE Riverdale

Wait, did Riverdale just kill off its star? Showrunner talks that heart-ripping Season 6 premiere

The CW's Riverdale kicked off its sixth season with a bloody sacrifice... of Archie Andrews.

By Josh Weiss
Riverdale 96 Archie PRESS

The CW's Riverdale — a dark and mature spin on the beloved Archie comics line — kicked off its sixth season Tuesday evening with a bloody sacrifice...of Archie Andrews. That's right, The leading man played by KJ Apa had his heart literally ripped out of his chest in what is the first of a five-episode arc that includes a crossover with Kiernan Shipka's Sabrina Spellman (heading to Riverdale after Netflix pulled the plug on her solo Chilling Adventures series).

Chatting with TVLine about the Season 6 premiere, Riverdale showrunner and executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa promised that Archie's gruesome end following the maple harvest festival is "only the start of the body count." And yes, the character will remain dead for the time being...just probably don't expect him to stay buried for the rest of the show's duration.

"We wanted a little bit of a clean slate and a fresh start with these episodes. But it was really important to make sure that they were what we call 'in continuity,' meaning that things that happen in Rivervale would continue or echo or speak to the events of Riverdale," Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "Every year, we start very disparate storylines, and we always try to weave them all together, and this year is no exception. I’m not going to speak to alternate universes or dreams or anything like that, but I will say that this is all happening, and we will play as though this is all happening, even beyond the first five episodes."

The showrunner went on to enumerate the creative influences behind the horror-inspired episode, citing such cultural touchstones as The Wicker Man, Children of the Corn, and Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery."

"It felt like, 'Ooh, this would be really, really great,'" Aguirre-Sacasa continued. "We’re always talking about how Archie is sacrificing everything for the good of the town, and we thought, 'Ok, well, let’s make that literal' ... We loved the idea of Archie, who is such a Dudley Do-Right, he’s always trying to do the best thing and telling everyone how they’re not living up to the expectations of the town, we thought it’d be really, really funny to see the town get their revenge on Archie."

This idea of diving headfirst into the horror genre came from the writers asking themselves: "What haven’t we done, and what do people always ask us about?’" the showrunner recalled. "And we hadn’t yet ever gone into supernatural horror or overt horror, and it’s something that we’re asked about all the time from our fans, and even from the cast. So it felt like, ‘Oh great, this is definitely the time to do it.'"

Episode 2 of Riverdale's sixth season airs on The CW next Tuesday (Nov. 23) at 9 p.m. EST.