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Riverdale Season 6: Weird Superpowers Twist Explained By Creator

Riverdale creator explains the thinking behind season 6’s shocking twist in the midseason premiere that revealed Archie & Betty now have superpowers.

The creator of The CW’s Archie Comics adaptation, Riverdale, has clarified the meaning of its latest supernatural twist of giving half its protagonists superpowers. The show’s sixth season returned from its midseason break with a bang this week as main characters Archie and Betty were revealed to have not only survived an explosion, but to have come out of it with new superpowers. Things are further complicated by the fact that said explosion actually happened at the end of season 5, and that the first five episodes of season 6 have been set in the alternate universe of Rivervale, with the series having only now returned to where it originally left off.

Riverdale’s season 5 finale concluded with Betty and Archie deciding to enter a serious relationship just as a bomb in Archie’s house went off, planted by the villainous Hiram. Returning to the Riverdale that fans know and love, it quickly became clear that not only had neither of them died, but that Archie had now been granted superhuman strength and immunity to pain. Betty, meanwhile, is now capable of reading that an individual is poised to commit a crime through her ability to perceive a red aura around them. Though Hiram seems to have died, showrunners have nevertheless teased that in classic Riverdale fashion, Hiram may not be dead.

Riverdale’s creator/executive producer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, discussed the midseason premiere’s twist in conversation with TVLine. Acknowledging the positive reaction to the Rivervale alternate universe’s overtly paranormal storyline, Aguirre-Sacasa explained the writers’ room’s desire to take the show’s supernatural themes further, as well as to maintain the echoes of Rivervale within Riverdale’s alpha timeline. He detailed plans for the direction of season 6 as well as the writers’ influences:

[For the rest of the season] echoes and ripples from Rivervale are happening in Riverdale in hopefully unexpected ways. We kind of thought: What if Stephen King and M. Night Shyamalan were in the writers’ room this season? [We’re inspired by their stories] where a normal community finds that one or more of its members have these abilities that are far beyond what we normally think of.

The series has seen its fair share of twists and turns since its premiere on The CW back in 2017, but superpowers are new territory even for Riverdale. That said, the show’s Rivervale arc has teased a more explicitly paranormal direction for the show, with fans even being treated to teenage witch Sabrina Spellman’s Riverdale debut. The ambitious five-part season premiere even killed off protagonist Archie Andrews in its first episode, though in Riverdale’s main timeline, he is, of course, currently alive and well. Aguirre-Sacasa promises that ripples of the alternate universe’s events will continue to resonate throughout Riverdale, so Archie’s death may prove to be impactful after all.

Riverdale’s latest twist may distance it ever further from its initial premise as a high school murder mystery, but for long-term fans of the show, this escalation is just another stop on the wild ride that has been Riverdale over the past few years. This is a show that has seen Cheryl keep her dead brother’s stuffed corpse in the basement, Betty be diagnosed with “serial killer genes,” the town be host to an organ-harvesting cult, and, of course, the entire storyline that led to Hiram bombing Archie and Betty in the first place – to name a few. Riverdale’s explicit introduction of wholly supernatural elements is a sign that the show has perhaps embraced its reputation for ridiculousness – and that now, no longer needing to be constrained by reality, it can be bolder and more adventurous in its storylines than ever before.

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