12 Surprising Facts About Riverdale

The CW
The CW

Based on the classic Archie Comics, the CW’s Riverdale takes a darker, Twin Peaks-like twist on characters Archie Andrews, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, and Jughead Jones. For one, this show has a whole lot of murder.

Trying to figure out who the unknown “Black Hood” murderer is has been an addicting draw for fans since the series first aired in 2016. And while the real lives of Riverdale's stars and the production of the show isn’t nearly as dramatic as the series, that doesn't make them any less fascinating. Just ahead of the series' return, we've gathered up some things you might not know about Riverdale.

Warning: Spoilers for all aired episodes ahead.

1. RIVERDALE WAS ORIGINALLY PITCHED AS A TIME-TRAVELING MOVIE.

Before Riverdale came to its current iteration, there were a few other out-there ideas for what it could be. One pitch from someone at Warner Bros. saw Archie as a time-traveler, in a movie where the redhead protagonist would be played by Louis CK. (Yep, this happened.)

"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,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained during the CW’s 2017 Winter Television Critics Association panel. Eventually, they went against what was pitched and decided Riverdale would be a TV show … minus any time travel.

2. JUGHEAD ONLY HAS ONE BEANIE.

Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart in 'Riverdale'
The CW

Jughead Jones’ beanie in Riverdale is extremely important to the character, similar to his iconic crown in the comics. Given this, it’s surprising to learn Cole Sprouse only has one beanie that he wears every single day during filming. Apart from the obvious fact that it probably smells, it’s a little peculiar to only have one copy of a staple piece of costume.

While appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Sprouse allowed Fallon to try on the beanie, but warned him not to smell it. "Same one, still smells like Mane and Tail," Sprouse explained. "We did get another one at the end of last season, but it was stolen when I placed it on a lunch table in the scene where Cheryl slapped Jughead."

3. THE POP’S DINER SET LOOKS SO REAL, PEOPLE THOUGHT IT WAS.

Not only is Pop’s Diner the place to go for the characters on Riverdale, people in real life have actually been enamored by it and tried to eat there, as they thought the set was real. While doing a Reddit AMA, Sprouse revealed that because their onset location is near an “industrial thoroughfare,” it isn’t uncommon for “hungry 18-wheelers” to pull into the filming lot thinking they could get a quick bite to eat at Pop’s.

However, the Pop’s used in the Riverdale pilot actually is a real restaurant, called Rocko’s Diner in Mission, British Columbia.

4. KJ APA BROKE HIS HAND DURING THE SEASON ONE FINALE.

Cole Sprouse and K.J. Apa in 'Riverdale'
The CW

In the season one finale of Riverdale, Archie Andrews heroically saves Cheryl Blossom from drowning in a frozen lake, and in real life, KJ Apa might’ve gone a bit too far with the Method acting. In the scene, Archie smashes through thick ice with his bare hand, and although Apa wasn’t actually punching real ice, he did do some real damage.

"That was a gnarly day of shooting, I'll tell you that much," Apa told TV Line. "I wasn't really punching the ice, but I got a little bit too excited. I was punching a foam mat … [that was] sitting on the ice … It was cold, so I didn't really feel it. It wasn't until 20 minutes after that I realized I broke my hand. I didn't tell anyone."

5. COLE SPROUSE AND CAMILA MENDES WENT TO COLLEGE TOGETHER.

Though they weren’t as close in circles as Jughead and Veronica, Riverdale co-stars Cole Sprouse and Camila Mendes attended New York University together. Though Mendes told Office Magazine that the two were not friends while at school, she did say that the actor was a familiar face on campus.

"There was a time when we had class in the same building so I would always see him outside, Mendes shared, before calling Sprouse a “weirdo” then. They’ve clearly come a long way since their NYU days.

6. EVERY RIVERDALE EPISODE IS BASED ON A MOVIE.

Cole Sprouse, Ashleigh Murray, Lili Reinhart, Asha Bromfield, K.J. Apa, and Hayley Law in 'Riverdale'
The CW

While it might be obvious to some die-hard fans, many viewers may not realize the significance of every episode title of Riverdale. All the episodes are the names of, or a variation of the names of, old movies. And it’s not just for aesthetic purposes, as they literally tell fans what the episode will be about.

Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Teen Vogue how much the episode titles reveal: "We usually work on the episode, and then, as we're going to the end of the breaking of the story, we're like, 'What's the title of this episode?'" he shared. "And then we have a list of provocative titles. Often the stories guide us."

If you’re keen on spoilers, just check out the upcoming episode titles for Riverdale, and you’ll probably figure quite a few things out.

7. SHOWRUNNERS WANTED SPROUSE TO PLAY ARCHIE.

Unlike most of the Riverdale stars, when Sprouse was initially approached about a role in the series, he wasn't interested. "At first ... I was immediately turned off," he told WWD. "But in more recent years, Archie comics have tried to stray away from the 'golly, shucks Arch, let’s go to the sock hop' thing."

When he agreed to audition, Sprouse was first asked to read for the role of Archie. However, the actor fell in love with Jughead and almost immediately knew he wanted that part. “He’s very much an outsider," Sprouse told WWD. "He has a pretty unique perspective because he’s seeing the town and the friendship and the friendships that are forming from a more objective point of view."

8. MADELAINE PETSCH’S FEAR OF WATER MADE FILMING DIFFICULT.

K.J. Apa and Madelaine Petsch in 'Riverdale'
The CW

In season one of Riverdale, Cheryl Blossom has many scenes by a large body of water. While viewers probably didn’t think twice about it, the actress behind the redheaded River Vixen had a seriously tough time shooting the parts.

"I'm afraid of open bodies of water. I was in a glass-bottomed boat that broke a long time ago, so I've always been kind of freaked out," Madelaine Petsch told Glamour. The actress originally thought she could have a stunt double for her opening boat scene, and had a panic attack prior to having to do it herself. However, she confirmed that the fear was only temporary. "Once we started shooting, I was fine," Petsch said.

9. COLE SPROUSE FOUGHT FOR JUGHEAD TO BE ASEXUAL.

Fans of the Archie Comics might find it weird that in Riverdale, Jughead has a love interest. Fans of just the show, and not the comics, probably have no idea why that would be strange. In the more recent comic book versions, Jughead is actually asexual, something that was revealed once Riverdale had already started production. "The day I was cast was actually the same day he was announced as canonically asexual," Sprouse told Glamour. "It wasn't in the Digest—it was in [Chip] Zdarsky's universe, so it was in one of the newer comics that was written."

“I think, in this show, he’s not a romantic and not asexual,” Sprouse continued. “I argued in the beginning, creatively, that he should be both, but in this show, he’s kind of a tortured youth that ends up finding a comfort and a resonance with another person who’s going through a lot of trauma.”

Though Jughead has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with Betty, Sprouse is still open to the representation of asexuality. “If it ends up finding a place in Riverdale and in future seasons, then hopefully we'll do it with tact and in a way that respects what it is and how it resonates,” Sprouse said.

10. VANESSA MORGAN GOT DEATH THREATS WHEN SHE JOINED THE SHOW.

Vanessa Morgan in 'Riverdale'
The CW

Before Jughead and Toni Topaz kissed or began their mini-fling, viewers were already enraged about the possibility of the character breaking up Jughead and Betty (a.k.a. Bughead). In the end, Vanessa Morgan—the actress who plays Toni—was put on the receiving end of much of this fan anger.

Morgan revealed to Glamour that fans were sending her some pretty awful messages upon her introduction. "She's a Southside Serpent, a gang member, and Jughead's first friend," Morgan teased at the time. "So I might stir up the pot a bit with the Bughead relationship. There might be a little love triangle."

"I’ve already had some death threats," Morgan added. "But the thing is, it's half death threats because they don't want that [actually] happening, and there's half that's just all love.” Luckily, the actress didn’t take the fandom to heart.

11. SPROUSE IS IN TALKS TO WRITE RIVERDALE COMIC SPIN-OFFS.

Not only is Sprouse a fan of Riverdale and the Archie Comics the show is based on, but he actually wants to try writing comics based on the world, and seemingly will do so sometime in the future.

When asked if he’s ever reached out to the comic book writers about collaborating, Sprouse told Vulture: “Not so much with the comics creators. Now there’s a Riverdale universe that’s gonna take off in print form now, too. Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa] has talked to me about writing a couple of those, which would be awesome. I’d love to try my hand at that.”

12. 13 REASONS WHY STAR KATHERINE LANGFORD AUDITIONED FOR BETTY COOPER.

Katherine Langford in '13 Reasons Why'
Beth Dubber, Netflix

The leading lady in another favorite teen series had her shot at playing Betty Cooper, according to Camila Mendes. While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Mendes revealed she auditioned with Katherine Langford, before Langford was cast in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. “I remember we went out and we got falafel with a guy who was auditioning for Archie,” Mendes said of the day.

The role of Betty eventually went to Lili Reinhart, which clearly worked out for the best. Although Langford is done with the Netflix series, she gained major attention from her role as Hannah Baker, and Reinhart fits the Riverdale role perfectly.

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in October

Charles Baker as Skinny Pete in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019).
Charles Baker as Skinny Pete in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019).
Courtesy of Netflix

It has been six years since Breaking Bad fans last caught a glimpse of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), as he sped away from Albuquerque and the men who held him captive there for so long (Walter White included, at least in a metaphorical sense). While we've longed to see what happened next, and what Jesse might be up to today, that it would ever become a reality seemed unlikely ... until earlier this year, when Vince Gilligan confirmed that he had secretly shot a Breaking Bad movie titled El Camino, that will catch us up on the man formerly known as Cap'n Cook.

In addition to that October 11th premiere, Netflix has plenty of other movies, shows, and specials coming your way in October.

October 1

Carmen Sandiego: Season 2
Nikki Glaser: Bangin’
93 days
A.M.I.
Along Came a Spider
Bad Boys
Bad Boys II
Blow
Bring It On, Ghost: Season 1
Charlie’s Angels
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Cheese in the Trap: Season 1
Chicago Typewriter: Season 1
Crash
Exit Wounds
Good Burger
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Honey 2
House of the Witch
Lagos Real Fake Life
Men in Black II
Moms at War
No Reservations
Ocean’s Thirteen
Ocean’s Twelve
One Direction: This Is Us
Payday
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie
Scream 2
Senna
Signal: Season 1
Sin City
Sinister Circle
Supergirl
Superman Returns
Surf’s Up
The Bucket List
The Flintstones
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
The Island
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Rugrats Movie
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Tomorrow with You: Season 1
Trainspotting
Troy
Tunnel: Season 1
Unaccompanied Minors
Walking Out

October 2

Living Undocumented
Ready to Mingle (Solteras)
Rotten: Season 2

October 3

Seis Manos

October 4

Big Mouth: Season 3
Creeped Out: Season 2
In the Tall Grass
Peaky Blinders: Season 5
Raising Dion
Super Monsters: Season 3
Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween

October 5

Legend Quest: Masters of Myth

October 7

Match! Tennis Juniors
The Water Diviner

October 8

Deon Cole: Cole Hearted
The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween

October 9

After
Rhythm + Flow

October 10

Schitt’s Creek: Season 5
Ultramarine Magmell

October 11

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
The Forest of Love
Fractured
Haunted: Season 2
Insatiable: Season 2
La influencia
Plan Coeur: Season 2
The Awakenings of Motti Wolenbruch
YooHoo to the Rescue: Season 2

October 12

Banlieusards

October 15

Dark Crimes

October 16

Ghosts of Sugar Land
Sinister 2

October 17

The Karate Kid
The Unlisted

October 18

The Yard (Avlu)
Baby: Season 2
Eli
Interior Design Masters
The House of Flowers: Season 2
The Laundromat
Living with Yourself
MeatEater: Season 8
Mighty Little Bheem: Diwali
Seventeen
Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales Collection 2
Tell Me Who I Am
Toon: Seasons 1-2
Unnatural Selection
Upstarts

October 19

Men in Black

October 21

Echo in the Canyon
Free Fire

October 22

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright

October 23

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Dancing with the Birds
Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy

October 24

Daybreak
Revenge of Pontianak

October 25

A Tale of Love and Darkness
Assimilate
Brigada Costa del Sol
Brotherhood
Dolemite Is My Name
Greenhouse Academy: Season 3
The Kominsky Method: Season 2
Monzon
Nailed It! France (C’est du gâteau!)
Nailed It! Spain (Niquelao!)
Prank Encounters
Rattlesnake
It Takes a Lunatic

October 28

A 3 Minute Hug
Little Miss Sumo
Shine On with Reese: Season 1

October 29

Arsenio Hall: Smart & Classy

October 30

Flavorful Origins: Yunnan Cuisine

October 31

Kengan Ashura: Part ll
Nowhere Man
Raging Bull

10 Intriguing Friends Fan Theories

Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

Friends is a classic sitcom about twentysomethings navigating life, love, and work in New York City. Or at least that’s one theory about the beloved sitcom, which premiered on September 22, 1994. Here’s another: Friends is a glimpse inside a mental ward, where six disturbed patients are working through their personality disorders. In the 25 years since it made its debut, Friends has inspired a ton of wild fan theories on Reddit and Twitter. Here are a few of the strangest (and be careful: Mr. Heckles’s murderer is still at large).

1. Rachel dreamed the whole thing.

In the summer of 2017, this photo of the Friends season four DVD box ignited a fan frenzy. The image on the box shows the titular pals snoozing side by side. Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, and Joey all have their eyes shut, but Rachel—resting right in the middle—is wide awake and looking directly at the camera. Why is she the only one with her eyes open? Some fans suggested Rachel was plotting something sinister, or secretly very “woke.” But plenty more insisted it was proof the whole show was Rachel’s dream. According to one Twitter fan, Rachel fell into an anxiety-fueled dream the night before her wedding to Barry and imagined her own group of hip New York friends to cope with her frustration and dread. Except she woke up to reality the next morning, as shown on the DVD cover, where she’s surrounded by her dream friends.

2. Phoebe hallucinated the show.

Another popular theory suggests that Friends was all in Phoebe’s head—only this take is much darker. The basic premise is that Phoebe never got off the streets. She was a lonely, homeless woman with a meth addiction who peered into the window of Central Perk one day. She noticed five friends laughing over coffee, and imagined herself as part of the gang. In this fantasy, her pals didn’t always get her weird sense of humor, but they loved her anyway. In reality, the twentysomethings in the window were wondering why that “crazy lady” was staring at them. This theory gained so much traction that a journalist asked Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman about it at a television festival. She quickly threw water on the whole thing. “That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard,” Kauffman replied. “That’s a terrible theory. That’s insane. Someone needs a life, that’s all I’m saying."

3. It was one long promotion for Starbucks.

The cast of 'Friends'
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

According to one manic Facebook rant, Friends was not a sitcom at all. It was actually a 10-year marketing ploy, designed to make Starbucks the new go-to destination for young people. Why else do the characters spend so much time in a coffee shop? True, the shop is not called Starbucks, but the subliminal evidence lies in Rachel’s last name (Green, like the Starbucks company color) and hair (styled like the mermaid in the Starbucks logo). Then there’s Ross and Monica’s last name, Geller, which is close to the German word gellen. It means “to yell,” just like the Starbucks baristas calling out customer names. The case only gets flimsier from there, but if you really want to read about how Chandler and Moby Dick are connected, you can dive down that particular rabbit hole here.

4. Ross lost custody of Ben because he was a bad dad.

Ross’s son Ben arrives in the very first season of Friends, in the aptly titled episode “The One with the Birth.” He’s a constant character for several seasons, but as the show goes on, Ross seems to spend less and less time with his kid. Ben disappears after the eighth season, and never meets his half-sister Emma onscreen. There’s one explanation for this drop-off: Ross lost custody of his son due to increasingly disturbing behavior.

The blog What Would Bale Do lays out a bunch of examples: Ross sleeps with his students, tries to hook up with his cousin, and asks a self-defense instructor for help scaring his female friends. He’s also generally pretty jealous and possessive. According to this theory, Ross’s ex-wife Carol hit a breaking point and took full custody of their son, which is why Ben stops coming around his dad’s apartment in the later seasons.

5. Mr. Heckles was murdered.

Rachel and Monica’s mean old neighbor dies of natural causes in season 2—or at least that’s what they want you to think. By one Redditor’s account, Mr. Heckles was killed in cold blood. Moments before he dies, Mr. Heckles shows up at Monica and Rachel’s door, complaining that their noise is disturbing his birds. (He does not have birds.) Monica says they’ll try to keep it down and as Mr. Heckles leaves, he says he’s going to rejoin his “dinner party.” Minutes later, he’s dead. Ergo, his dinner party guest killed him. Of course, the likelier explanation is that Mr. Heckles was a crazy old man who wasn’t even having a dinner party. But where’s the fun in that?

6. There's a reason why the gang always got that same table at Central Perk.

The cast of 'Friends' chats with talk show host Conan O'Brien
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

How did the gang manage to snag the coveted center couch at Central Perk every single time? Simple: Gunther reserved it for them. It was all part of his ongoing campaign to win Rachel’s affections, and it explains why the group never had to fight for seating space. Well, except that one time.

7. There's a Parks & Recreation crossover.

In “The One With All the Candy,” Rachel insists she doesn’t sleep with guys on the first date, only for her friends to immediately call her out. Monica rattles off three names: Matt Wire, Mark Lynn, and Ben Wyatt. Could she be talking about the same Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation? According to Reddit, their ages check out. Ben would’ve been 26 at the time of the episode, making him a perfectly acceptable one-night stand for 29-year-old Rachel. But how does Leslie Knope feel about this?

8. Monica was the product of an extramarital affair.

Ross and Monica’s mom doesn’t even try to hide her favoritism. Judy Geller thinks Ross is a genius and Monica is, well, trying. (But could be trying harder.) One bonkers (and since-deleted) fan theory suggests Judy’s preference stems from a family secret: At some point in her marriage to Jack Geller, she had an affair, one she could never forget because it spawned Monica. Judy’s shame over this tryst is what causes her to lash out at Monica and praise Ross, her one 'legitimate' child.

9. There's all in a psych ward.

David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, and Matt Leblanc in 'Friends.'
Getty Images

What if Central Perk wasn’t a coffee shop at all, but rather the cafeteria at a mental institution? As one theory goes, all six main characters are suffering from personality disorders. They’re confined to a facility for treatment, and can only shuffle between their rooms (i.e. their “apartments”) and the cafeteria (i.e. “Central Perk”). This situation also explains why the group is so hostile toward new people. They’re not actually teasing Monica’s new boyfriend; they’re attacking anyone who tries to take one of the friends out of the mental hospital.

10. Joey really wanted some pancakes.

This very silly—but very solid—fan theory is centered on Joey’s love of food. In “The One With Ross’s Library Book,” Joey has a one-night stand with a woman named Erin. He doesn’t want to see her again, and asks Rachel to break the news to her over pancakes. Apparently Chandler used to do this when he lived in the apartment. He’d even save extra pancakes for Joey. Rachel refuses to be a part of this, but once she’s left alone with Erin, she feels bad and offers to cook. Things escalate over the episode and pretty soon, Joey is the one who’s too clingy for Erin. Rachel has to tell him and, feeling bad yet again, she offers pancakes. Reddit claims this was all just a plot for pancakes. It kind of adds up: Joey can’t cook but likes to eat, and he has enough soap opera money to pay an actor (Erin) to play a part in this conspiracy. So he cons his roommate into making pancakes, twice, in a ruse that’s both delicious and diabolical (and, yes, a little bit silly).

This story has been updated for 2019.

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