'Riverdale' Season 3 Casts Archie's New Nemesis

Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee Penelope Ann Miller ('The Artist') will play Ms. Wright, the district attorney hell-bent on convicting Archie (KJ Apa) of murder.
Dean Buscher/The CW
'Riverdale'

Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) may not be guilty of murder, but he'll have a hell of a time convincing Riverdale's newest castmember of that fact.

The CW's Archie Comics drama on Sunday revealed during its stop at San Diego Comic-Con that it has cast Penelope Ann Miller (The Artist) as District Attorney Ms. Wright. The Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee technically isn't playing a villain, but since she's determined to convict Archie of murder — a crime he did not commit — he's certainly going to see her as his new nemesis.

At the end of season two, Archie was framed by Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) for murder. Ms. Wright, described as "savvy" and "eloquent," is the prosecuting attorney in charge of handling Archie's case. With a conviction in mind, she will weave together disparate moments of Archie's young life to portray him as a dangerous, violent sociopath who is capable of committing a heinous crime. She's the only thing standing between Archie spending the rest of his life in prison and his freedom.

Before the panel began, a quick glimpse at season three screened for the crowd gathered in Hall H. A flash of two scenes featured Archie, Veronica (Camila Mendes), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) — trying to have the "best Labor Day Weekend ever" after the "worst summer" — going for a swim together. The two couples were showing off a lot of PDA, which elicited a lot of screams from the 7,000-plus in attendance. The second cryptic scene included Betty hearing weird chanting in her backyard, as it appeared as if Polly (Tiera Skovbye) had officially recruited their mom, Alice (Madchen Amick), into her mysterious cult, The Farm. A "weird spiritual" ceremony around a bonfire included Polly and Alice holding her twins above the fire.

The Farm, which has been teased since early in season one, will finally be explored in full this year. Riverdale creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was inspired by the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country along with the "horrific Allison Mack cult and it felt like that was really interesting to explore," he said.
 
Season three will also feature a three-month time jump when it picks up, as the kids are all about to go back to school. Moderator Kelly Ripa — married to Riverdale regular Consuelos — kicked off the panel by asking showrunner and Archie Comics boss Aguirre-Sacasa if the Riverdale kids are ever going to do some actual schoolwork. And he surprisingly revealed they actually will. "It's junior year, it's the first time they're thinking of college and we're going to try to infuse this season with a lot more high school stuff," he said. "We're going to talk about the SATs, applying to colleges, advisers, extracurriculars, etc."

Among many cheers, Ripa then gave a shout-out to Vanessa Morgan, newly minted series regular for season three as Toni Topaz, who is set for a lot more screen time. "I ship 'Choni' harder than I ship anything else," Morgan said as the cheers reached deafening levels. Ripa then let slip that Toni might find herself in a rivalry with Josie (Ashleigh Murray) this season, perhaps because Toni's girlfriend Cheryl (Madeleine Petsch) used to have a crush on Josie, but both Morgan and Murray seemed surprised by that. Aguirre-Sacasa then laughed and revealed the two actors didn't yet know about that particular storyline.

Now that Archie is on trial for murder (at least in the first episode, as Apa hints), Mendes teased that there might be trouble ahead for his relationship with Veronica. "I think they're going to run into some problems," Mendes said. "I don't want to say too much." But at least one of the core relationships will be safe at the start of this season. "Right now I think they're rock solid," Reinhart said of Betty and Jughead. "They start off season three as the investigative duo."

Another relationship will soon blossom, starting in episode three. Longtime player Reggie (Charles Melton) will find himself in "an unlikely romance," according to Aguirre-Sacasa. But he wouldn't reveal much more than that, except that Reggie will also start working in Veronica's speakeasy this season. With Veronica and Archie on the rocks, take that as you will.

And Sprouse revealed that Jughead's mom, as well as his sister Jellybean, will also be arriving in Riverdale this year. Aguirre-Sacasa couldn't announce the casting just yet, but he did tease their first appearance will be "around episode eight or nine." Plus, coming later in season three will also be a flashback episode where all the young actors will play their parents when they were in high school, as well as another musical episode.

Riverdale returns for season three on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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