Warning: This article contains spoilers from Riverdale Season 3. Proceed at your own risk.
Riverdale is gearing up for another musical episode. After last season’s musical take on Carrie, the show is going even darker in Season 3. Its next big performance is inspired by Heathers: The Musical, based off the 1989 film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.
Taking on a dark comedy like Heathers proves Riverdale writers know exactly what they’re doing. Despite criticism toward the show’s tone — some viewers have asserted it’s too dark for high school and too cheesy to be a gritty drama — its writers are doubling down.
While the most recent episode (Season 3, episode 9) suggested Archie died from his fight with a grizzly bear, promos for future episodes suggest he actually made it out alive. As if there was ever any doubt, right? It’s not like we were sweating.
“Last year, we had a blast doing Carrie,” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement. “This year, we wanted to honor another iconic teen movie. Heathers: The Musical is BIG FUN, with great roles for the Riverdale kids. And everyone is singing.”
Who will star in Riverdale‘s next musical?
The role of Veronica Sawyer will go to Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), while her dark and devious love interest, J.D., will be portrayed by Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor). This should create some interesting tension between Josie and Sweet Pea who, as we saw in the Season 3 premiere, had a brief fling over the summer. Will playing the iconic lovers reignite the flame?
The three Heathers will be played by Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart). While the first two are very fitting, Betty’s role as a Heather is unexpected — but it does makes sense that she’d play Heather Duke, who was portrayed by Shannen Doherty (Charmed, Beverly Hills 90210) in the film.
Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) and Reggie Mantle (Charles Melton) will play jocks Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney, respectively. Fangs Forgarty, Evelyn Evernever, Toni Topaz, and Peaches ‘N Cream will assume smaller supporting roles.
Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) is Peter Dawson, a character who was cut from the musical. He will also direct the play, as he did for Season 2’s Carrie.
As for Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), who was missing from the previous musical, the play’s security will be his top priority — presumably to keep everyone safe from the Gargoyle Gang and Hiram Lodge. This is befitting considering his new full-time gig as Veronica’s security.
What songs will be performed?
It’s unclear which songs will be performed throughout the episode, although (good news!) the episode will include nine.
The title of the episode is “Big Fun,” which is also the title of one of the songs in the musical, so that one’s a given. It’s likely “Candy Store” and “Dead Girl Walking” will also make appearances.
The cast released an album for its last musical episode, so a Heathers-inspired album will probably be available after the episode airs.
Is this musical really a fit for Riverdale?
In my opinion, there couldn’t be a better musical fit for Riverdale. Heathers the film is dark yet playful, which is the very essence of Riverdale.
The show’s tone has gotten dramatically darker as seasons have progressed. Maybe if Heathers was attempted in seasons 1 or 2, it would’ve flopped, but now, the residents of Riverdale are in a perfect place to own Heathers‘ darkness.
Given that people are getting murdered left and right in this town — first by the Black Hood and then by the Gargoyle King (here’s who we suspect could be the Big Bad!) — Heathers’ violence won’t shock anyone. They’re all used to death and the feelings that accompany it, so the characters will basically just play out another version of their lives.
Casting two of Riverdale’s supporting characters (Josie and Sweet Pea) in lead roles is a bit unexpected. If Josie’s short-lived dalliance with Reggie after Carrie is any indication, it probably won’t mean much even if the two do reconcile.
One surprising detail about the call list is the play is sponsored by The Farm, which has been a thorn in Betty’s side since the season premiere. The Farm is essentially a cult, and it’s all about living off the grid. Alice and Polly Cooper have already fallen victim to The Farm, and it looks like it’s getting ever closer to Riverdale.
When will the Heathers episode air?
The musical episode — Season 3, episode 16 — will air Wednesday, March 20 at 8/7c on The CW.
How are Riverdale fans reacting to the news?
Fans aren’t reacting well to news that Riverdale is tackling the cult classic. The film is iconic, so it would be surprising if there wasn’t any skepticism — especially toward Riverdale, which is one of the most trolled shows on social media.
Personally, I think Heathers is a great fit for Riverdale. The show has to do the whole film justice in one meager episode, and that’s concerning, but Riverdale’s tone does align with Heathers. I’m excited!
Watch the trailer for the next Riverdale episode below, and be sure to catch up before the musical episode.
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