For a show based on the wholesome world of Archie Comics, The CW's Riverdale sure has taken things to the extreme. Adorable love triangles have given way to slut-shaming, statutory rape, and not-so-subtle hints of twincest. If that's what Season 1 has to offer, what the hell lies in store for Season 2?
Well, recent fan theory have suggested that hell might be exactly what lies in store, with the undead suddenly rising amidst a zombie apocalypse. Yep. You read that right. #Jughead may soon swap burgers for people, biting Betty's buns with the kind of ferocity that's rarely welcome in consensual teen relationships... and it's all #Sabrina's fault.
Season 2 Of 'Riverdale' Could Be Based On 'Afterlife With Archie'
Archie Comics regularly asks the big questions, like: Will #Archie pass his high school chemistry exam? Will Betty or Veronica win Archie's affections? Will Jughead ever take off his hat? However, comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took the series to a whole new level in 2013 when he created an alternate series called 'Afterlife With Archie', asking what would happen if a zombie contagion hit Riverdale?
The apocalypse starts in the comics when Reggie accidentally kills Jughead's dog in a car accident. Distraught over the death of his beloved Hot Dog, Jughead enlists the help of #Sabrina the Teenage Witch, asking her to bring the canine back to life using magic.
As we all know though, one should never dabble in the dark arts, especially when pets are involved. Unsurprisingly, things take a turn for the sinister and Hot Dog returns as a zombie, infecting Jughead who subsequently brings about the end of the world. The series then followed Archie and the gang as they fight the undead, leaving Riverdale to evade the hordes of zombies who were once their friends and family.
But Why Do Fans Think Zombies Are Coming To Season 2 Of 'Riverdale'?
It all started when Riverdale producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa discussed a potential Halloween-themed episode with Comicbook.com, revealing that an adaptation of 'Afterlife With Archie' "is still on the table."
Next came the announcement that Sabrina would appear by the end of Season 1, before potentially starring in her own Riverdale spin-off. The teenage witch's inclusion on the show doesn't guarantee a zombie apocalypse, but it sure helps make a contagion seem more likely.
However, it wasn't until the fifth episode of Riverdale when it seemed as though 'Afterlife With Archie' could actually be a semi-plausible route for the show to take. 'Heart of Darkness' took a surprisingly dark turn in many respects, paying homage to the #horror genre with creepy old mansions, creepier old ladies with glass eyes and a number of knowing nods to what lay in store:
Veronica — "I just spent 24 hours in the gothic horror story that is Cheryl Blossom's life."
Jughead — "The horror, THE HORROR!"
And finally, this on-the-nose narration from Jughead;
"Fear. It's the most basic, most human emotion. As kids, we're afraid of everything. The dark, the boogeyman under the bed, and we pray for morning. For those monsters to go away. [But] No, they never do. Not really. Just ask Jason Blossom."
How Could Jason Blossom Start The Zombie Apocalypse On 'Riverdale'?
While many fans began to connect the dots in recent weeks, Redditor DeCurt1998 has managed to collate some of the most convincing points into one coherent theory that positions Jason Blossom as the new Patient Zero. Here's a summary of how Riverdale could soon give The Walking Dead a run for its money, along with a few more ideas of our own:
1) Let's start with the most obvious allusion to 'Afterlife With Archie'. Remember when Cheryl Blossom was attacked by a zombified Jason in the opening scene from 'Heart of Darkness'? While this sequence turned out to just be a dream, does this mean that Cheryl already knew Jason was infected by some kind of zombie virus when they went down to the river together? If that's the case, then Jason could turn out to be Patient Zero in the Riverdale zombie apocalypse.
2) In an earlier episode, Cheryl broke down at a pep rally, telling Veronica that "[Jason] was supposed to come back." Logically, this remark refers to how Jason was always planning to return after running away from their parents, but what if Cheryl is mortified that he didn't come back from the dead? This would certainly explain that head shot which took his life. How else does one kill a zombie?
3) Scout leader Dilton Doiley admits to Jughead that he's teaching his boy scouts how to fire guns as a means of survival. Sure, this wouldn't be entirely out of place in an American town like Riverdale, but it's rather strange that Dilton is choosing to train his kids now in this way. After all, gangs are nothing new to the area, so why is Dilton so spooked? Coincidentally, Doiley just so happened to be the first person in the comics to realize that the zombies were real. Just saying.
4) Despite kick-starting the zombie apocalypse in the comics, Jughead's spirit also plays an important role, accompanying his friends as a kind of narrator figure. This storytelling device is also crucial to the #TV show Riverdale, where Jugheads chronicles events in a similar fashion.
5) There are also a few more minor similarities between 'Afterlife With Archie' and Riverdale, including Polly's mental breakdown, hints of incest between the Blossom twins and Sabrina's scheduled involvement on the show. While each of these could be chalked up to writer/producer Aguirre-Sacasa simply recycling ideas, it's worth bearing in mind that the number of coincidences at hand are too numerous to just dismiss out of hand.
If this fan theory is true, then it's entirely possible that Jason Blossom's blood could somehow infect other residents, bringing 'Afterlife With Archie' to, well, life in the second season of Riverdale.
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Is There Any Chance That Zombies Could Actually Come To 'Riverdale?
Of course, it's entirely possible that there are logical explanations for each of the aforementioned coincidences, and that perhaps Aguirre-Sacasa is simply laying the groundwork for a homage in the Halloween episode. After all, it would be hugely brave for a teen show to veer so dramatically into another genre, potentially alienating half of their audience.
However, in a new interview with EW, Aguirre-Sacasa has now confirmed that Jughead could soon turn into Jugdead, explaining that there will be a new genre element in Season 2, which will leave people saying, "They’re not really doing that, are they?"
Aguirre-Sacasa explained to EW that Riverdale was originally planned to share more in common with Buffy the Vampire Slayer than Dawson's Creek, but then they realised that this was an approach that the show wouldn't be able to turn back from;
"Ultimately we ended up going for Riverdale and starting with a more grounded, less supernatural version of that because we thought we could always go there, but if we started there, it would be hard to take that away. So start a little more grounded and normal, and then introduce something supernatural as opposed to, once you’re supernatural, it’s going to be hard to go back to non-supernatural, so that was kind of the thinking behind that.
Sounds promising, right? When asked directly whether 'Afterlife With Archie' could tie into Season 2 of Riverdale, Aguirre-Sacasa revealed "There’s a chance that happens."
Yes. You read that right. There's a legitimate chance that the modern day Gossip Girl may soon veer into Lovecraftian horror territory, complete with a visit from the undead. When pressed on what this would look like, Aguirre-Sacasa revealed that;
"If we did go there, I think we’d more lean into the Lovecraftian horrors or it would be more like the Evil Dead zombies rather than the Night of the Living Dead zombies, if that makes sense. Night of the Living Dead right into Walking Dead, it seems like they’re biological warfare or they came from science or extra-terrestrial, whereas the Evil Dead zombies are very much about the Book of the Dead and the Necronomicon and demons possessing the bodies and stuff. That’s where I gravitate toward anyway. I’m more horror than sci-fi."
Whether he's Jughead or Jugdead, Cole Sprouse remains one of the most charismatic actors on TV right now, so we imagine that he and the rest of the cast would be game for this unprecedented genre switch, which I for one am ecstatic about.
While we wait for official confirmation that the zombie apocalypse is coming to Riverdale, we'll leave you now with another quote from Sprouse's Jughead, one that will take on far more resonance if Aguirre-Sacasa delivers on this promise:
"Here's the thing about fear. It's always there. The fear of the unknown. The fear of facing it alone. Fear that those closest to you are the monsters. Fear that as soon as you slay one, theres another monster waiting to take its place. Fear, that there's one more boogeyman waiting at the end of the dark hall..."