It’s time to meet a new Riverdale resident!
Season two of the hit CW drama will introduce the Archie Comics character Toni Topaz, ET exclusively reveals.
Toni, who will be played by The Shannara Chronicles‘ and Ottawa native Vanessa Morgan, is a “vivacious” member of the Southside Serpents, who is known for her signature pink hair and impressive appetite.
In the Archie Comics, it’s strongly hinted that Toni is bisexual and Riverdale executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed to ET that season two will “explore” this topic.
The showrunner also revealed that Toni might mean “trouble” for Betty and Jughead’s relationship. Uh-oh!
Keep reading for even more exclusive details on Toni Topaz’s introduction and what’s to come in season two!
ET: We’re so excited that Toni Topaz is coming to Riverdale! Can you tell us a little bit about what this character is like and who is playing her?
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Toni Topaz is a character who was added on a little more recently in the comic books and she’s always been very, very vivacious, exciting and a bit of a disrupter. She very famously has as large an appetite for hamburgers as Jughead Jones. In the Riverdale version of this character, she’s going to be a student at Southside High. She’s going to be a member of the Southside Serpents and she’s going to be a friend and confidant to Jughead Jones.
And we have a terrific actress named Vanessa Morgan playing Toni Topaz. Vanessa auditioned for Riverdale for us last year and we all fell in love with her. We didn’t have a spot for her last year, but I called her after she auditioned and tested and I said, “I’m so sorry I’m not going to be able to bring you aboard this year, but I love you and I promise you’re going to come and be a part of Riverdale next year.” And so I’m thrilled that she’s going to be coming on as Toni Topaz.
In the Archie Comics , Toni is always rockin’ her signature pink hair. Are we also going to see the same with Vanessa’s look?
RAS: 100 percent. Actually, in the two times that Vanessa auditioned, she happened to have pink hair and I was like, ‘We’ve got to do the pink hair!’ And so yes Toni will be absolutely rockin’ her signature pink hair.
In the Archie Comics, it’s hinted that Toni is bisexual. Is the topic of Toni’s sexuality something that is also going to be explored on the show?
RAS: That’s a really good question and I believe yes that is something that we’re going to explore.
You said that Toni will be a “confidant” for Jughead at Southside High. Could she be someone who is going to shake things up for Betty and Jughead’s relationship?
RAS: Bughead is pretty strong, and pretty undeniable, and pretty epic, but you know even the most epic of romances has trouble — and trouble often comes as a third party. So yes, it is conceivable that Toni will potentially test the limits of Bughead.
We’re so thrilled that season two of Riverdale will be 22 episodes! With the addition of nine more episodes, how are you going to expand the world of Riverdale?
RAS: We were so happy with the response that people had to season one. We gave it our all and we were so happy that the fans were so passionate and that people so responded to these characters and these actors that everyone loves. I think the one thing that we wanted to do in season one that we didn’t get a chance to was explore some of our secondary characters.
Characters like Kevin, like Josie, and like the Pussycats, so 22 episodes is just a much, much bigger canvas and allows us to kind of spotlight those characters in a really big way. For example, episode three is probably our biggest and our strongest Kevin Keller episode and Josie is going to be much more part of the gang. She’s going to be a River Vixen and she’s going to have romances and stuff, so it’s not just going to be music stories. It’s going to be so great to have that room to explore.
Season one was kind of all about who killed Jason Blossom, but in season two, we launch two or three kind of big sort of mysteries. The biggest thing that I think I’m most excited about, and that most people will be excited about, is just to have more time with these characters that they love. We all wanted [22 episodes] and that’s what we were working towards, so we’re really excited about it. It’s a huge mountain to climb but we’re ready.
Riverdale season two premiere airs Wednesday, October 11, at 9/8c on The CW.