Archie Comics has gone through a number of changes on the printed page in recent years, from Mark Waid's more grounded comic book series to weird mash-ups like Archie vs. Predator. Later this month, The CW will contribute to this trend with Riverdale, a show putting a dark, Twin Peaks-like twist on the source material. It definitely looks like a strange take on the Archie lore, but surprisingly, a proposed Archie movie could have been a lot stranger because of two simple words: time travel.
Earlier this week at the Television Critics Association (via TV Guide), Riverdale creator and Archie Comics chief creative officer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa talked about how back when an Archie movie was being considered, he was working with his friend and Pitch Perfect director Jason Moore on making that happen. However, during their pitch meeting at Warner Bros, a vice president from the company had his own suggestion. According to Aguirre-Sacasa:
We go to the kickoff meeting and he said, 'You know, I've been thinking about this and I think you guys need to something a little more high concept, a little bigger than a coming-of-age [story]. I said, 'Yeah, great. We're open to that.' He goes, 'I want you to think about time travel.' I say, 'What do you mean?' 'You know, Archie traveling through time.'
Picture it in your heads, folks: the red-headed Archie getting into shenanigans across history on the big screen. Yeah, it doesn't sound right, does it? Granted, Archie Comics has gone in some unusual creative directions, like Afterlife with Archie, which depicts Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and the other characters dealing with a zombie apocalypse. As a movie though, this is too radical a departure from what Archie should be.
Needless to say the time travel idea didn't sit well with Robert Aguirre-Sacasa and Jason Moore, but this Warner Bros executive had a back-up idea ready. Aguirre-Sacasa continued:
[He goes], 'Portals are huge. This is a portal to another dimension.' We're just sitting there gobsmacked.
You probably think it can't get any weirder than time travel and portals to another dimension, but it does. This Warner Bros executive than gave his pick for who should play Archie: Louis C.K. So now the main protagonist has gone from an optimistic teenager to a middle-aged comedian. Truly bizarre. Robert Aguirre-Sacasa said that he and Jason Moore tried for a month to make this story work, but they eventually decided this wasn't something with wanted to work on. Fortunately for Aguirre-Sacasa, he was approached a year later to work on a television series more in line with what he originally envisioned, which lacks any temporal-manipulating or parallel universe elements.
That television project became Riverdale, which premieres Thursday, January 26 at 9 p.m. EST/PST on The CW. And hey, maybe somewhere down the line we'll get an Archie movie that's more in line with the classic stories and not nearly as sci-fi.