The best part about the TV world is the way it recycles. TV may taketh by killing off our favorite characters in TV shows, but it will giveth later when those beloved actors are given a shot to fill our screens again on a new show. No TV loss was felt quite as deeply as this summer's very short-lived love affair with Barb from Netflix's Stranger Things played by Shannon Purser (seen in her final scene below).
Now we're getting Barb back — well, Shannon Purser, anyway. Purser has been cast in The CW's Riverdale, joining Archie and co. as Ethel Muggs, known in the comics as the tall, awkward girl forever pining after Jughead Jones. It's an inspired casting choice giving us a chance to see more of Purser but also providing a bit more insight into what we can expect from Riverdale. Unfortunately, due to privacy settings I can't embed the Riverdale pilot trailer for upfronts here, but you can watch it on Vimeo.
According to EW, Ethel gets a chance at a bit more depth than the usually boy-crazy comic version of Ethel:
"Ethel will also be drawn into a friendship with Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) after they team up for a revenge plot on Reggie Mantle, a bully and Archie’s rival."
The confirmed Archie characters cast for Riverdale are these:
- K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews
- Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones
- Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge
- Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper
- Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom
- Trevor Stines as Jason Blossom
- Olivia Ryan Stern as Tina Patel
- Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy
- Luke Perry as Fred Andrews
- Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge
- Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper
- Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle
- Cody Kearsley as Moose Mason
- Daniel Yang as Dilton Doiley
- Irie Hayleau as Valerie Brown
- Ashanti Bromfield as Melody Valentine
- Casey Cott as Kevin Keller
- Sarah Habel as Ms. Grundy
- Robin Givens as Mayor Sierra McCoy
- Shannon Purser as Ethel Muggs
Those are quite a few of our favorite characters from the Archie comics, though for a show being described as "Archie meets Twin Peaks" a few of these characters may not be quite as we remember them. Ms. Grundy, for one, was much older than Sarah Habel's sexy young teacher.
There are definitely a few Archie mainstays missing from this list. It may just be they are waiting to introduce a few characters later to spice things up, since this is already a hefty ensemble, but that doesn't mean we can't start to imagine what other actors we'd love to see in the remaining roles.
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Midge Klump - Played By: Lucy Hale
Midge is definitely a must-include for Riverdale. She's a bit more balanced compared to Veronica's uber-femininity and Betty's super sweetness. She usually sports a modern pixie cut and isn't afraid of bright colors. Midge can almost always be seen with Moose and the two are often in the throes of a jealous argument. She hates Moose's barbaric jock temper, but always seems to end up with him anyway, much to Reggie's chagrin.
An updated version of Midge might not pair her with Moose (for reasons audiences will understand when Riverdale airs in October) but she would be a definite asset to the Betty and Veronica squad eventually. Ruby Rose is a Midge doppelgänger for sure, but a bit old for the role. Thus I posit Lucy Hale (who's wrapping up her current TV series Pretty Little Liars) as someone who's proven she can rock short hair and deserves a chance to flare her temper a bit more after playing a tortured worrywart for so long on PLL.
Chuck Clayton - Played By: Justice Smith
So Coach Clayton, Chuck's father, has already been cast with Colin Lawrence, so it seems likely we'll see Chuck soon enough. As one of the primary African-American characters of Archie, he's also a must-have. He's an athlete but also a great artist. He loves to draw comics and hang with his girlfriend Nancy (below).
We loved watching newcomer Justice Smith in Netflix's The Get Down, as well as in the YA drama Paper Towns. He'd nail the artistically inclined Chuck and look good while doing it.
Nancy Woods - Played By: Amandla Stenberg
Known mostly as being Chuck's cheerleading girlfriend, Nancy gets a bit of a bad rap in the Archie comics for always feeling second to Chuck's comic book obsession. A modern Nancy might be a bit more open to Chuck's artistic endeavors, especially since she exhibits an interest in watercolors in the comics.
Including Nancy is a chance to throw some more intelligent diversity into the show, though we're intrigued by an all-black Josie and the Pussycats. And adding Nancy ups the number of couples, something all teen dramas can't have too much of. Amandla Stenberg is a perfect choice for the part having already dabbled with roles on both Mr. Robinson and Sleepy Hollow, not to mention winning over teens everywhere as Rue in 2012's The Hunger Games movie.
Harper Lodge - Played By: Ali Stoker
Veronica's cousin was a minor character, but an interesting one. A pink-haired, wheelchair-bound advice giver and author of children's books, Harper was also a total fashion icon. Harper is also one of the few characters to actually hit it off with Reggie, who can be somewhat of a self-absorbed jerk.
It may seem a bit obvious, but the role was practically made for Ali Stroker, who has been crushing it on Broadway of late. She won us over on Glee and would look amazing with pink in that long blonde hair. Watching her lock lips with the boys of Riverdale and dole out advice to romantically confused teens sounds perfect.
Sabrina Spellman - Played By: Kiernan Shipka
This role will be the one to look out for. Sabrina Spellman is the teen witch of Riverdale who went on to have both her own successful comic series and also a hit TV show, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Forced to live a dual life and keep her powers a secret, Sabrina has more than the average amount of teen issues to deal with. She wants to use her powers for good, but as a newbie is constantly making a mess of situations.
As a small-town murder mystery, writing Sabrina into the show would be an excellent way to up the intrigue and weirdness. Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka might be perfect for this role. She's young enough to add some youth to the part and has proven she can handle the darker themes of a more adult show. It would be easy to see her struggling on her own with a deep dark secret while being the sweet Sabrina Archie fans know and love.
Raj Patel - Played By: Suraj Sharma
It's interesting that Raj hasn't been cast yet as his sister Tina has. Olivia Ryan Stern will play Tina, one of Cheryl Blossom's little devoted followers. Raj is the ultimate millennial, constantly filming his friends and obsessed with media. He's a bit like Dawson of Dawson's Creek with his film ambitions but suffers from a father with high expectations. Classic teen drama right there.
After a stint on Homeland and a powerful performance in Life of Pi, Suraj Sharma might want to switch gears and charm the ladies on Riverdale. He'd be a great addition to the cast, and Archie comics are known for their varied characters. I can already picture Raj's recording obsession leading him to uncover part of the mystery — not to mention keeping his mean girl sister in check.
Are you looking forward to The CW's Riverdale? Which Archie character is your favorite?