Published on Showbiz Junkies — January 12, 2017 | Written by Rebecca Murray

The CW’s set to premiere the new dramatic series Riverdale, based on characters from the Archie Comics, on January 26, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT. Camila Mendes and Lili Reinhart take on two of the comics’ most popular characters, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper. The two characters have vied for the attention of Archie since the comic books first arrived back in 1942, but according to Reinhart and Mendes their friendship has evolved in Riverdale. Mendes and Reinhart were paired up for roundtable interviews at the San Diego Comic Con and together they talked about Veronica and Betty’s relationship and what viewers can expect when they tune in to check out Riverdale.

The Plot: “As a new school year begins, the town of Riverdale is reeling from the recent, tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom — and nothing feels the same… Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) is still the all-American teen, but the summer’s events made him realize that he wants to pursue a career in music — not follow in his dad’s footsteps—despite the sudden end of his forbidden relationship with Riverdale’s young music teacher, Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel). Which means Archie doesn’t have anyone who will mentor him — certainly not singer Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), who is only focused on her band, the soon-to-be-world-famous Pussycats. It’s all weighing heavily on Archie’s mind — as is his fractured friendship with budding writer and fellow classmate Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse).

Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper (Reinhart) is anxious to see her crush Archie after being away all summer, but she’s not quite ready to reveal her true feelings to him. And Betty’s nerves – which are hardly soothed by her overbearing mother Alice (Mädchen Amick) aren’t the only thing holding her back. When a new student, Veronica Lodge (Mendes), arrives in town from New York with her mother Hermione (Marisol Nichols), there’s an undeniable spark between her and Archie, even though Veronica doesn’t want to risk her new friendship with Betty by making a play for Archie. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch)… Riverdale’s Queen Bee is happy to stir up trouble amongst Archie, Betty, and Veronica, but Cheryl is keeping secrets of her own. What, exactly, is she hiding about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there are dangers in the shadows…”

Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes Interview:

In the pilot episode, Veronica is a softer and sympathetic character than comic book readers might expect. Will that change over the course of the season?

Camila Mendes: “I think Veronica is always going to be struggling. She’s not used to being the nice girl. But after everything that’s happened with her father and the whole fraud/embezzlement, she’s trying to be a nicer person and trying to reinvent herself. It proves difficult because she’s not used to getting no for an answer. She always wants to get what she wants and that gets in the way of their friendship. I think there will be more cattiness as the drama increases. Right now they’re kind of setting up the friendship because Veronica’s the new girl. She doesn’t know these people yet.”

Lili Reinhart: “But it’s important for us to say that we don’t want these girls to be catty. We really don’t. We want them to be friends at the end of the day. We don’t want it to be a constant head-to-head rivalry. We want these girls to like each other. It’s so easy to just play girls that hate each other.”

The comics seemed to have Betty and Veronica always circling back to how they related to each other because of Archie. How does the show make them be more independent and less about Archie?

Camila Mendes: “Well, because they all have other things going on in their lives. I have my family drama. She has her family drama. Archie has all these decisions he has to make. Also, there’s another love interest for him.”

Lili Reinhart: “There’s another love interest for all of us.”

Camila Mendes: “We’re not always going to be centered around Archie.”

Lili Reinhart: “There is a love triangle, but the show is not strictly about the love triangle. It’s about all of these characters in this town; the secrets are coming out in this town. The light is being shined on all these problems. Season one focuses on the murder mystery of Jason and whodunit. We don’t know. We really don’t.”

In the current comics Betty is a more tomboyish. She’s a mechanic. Would you like to see that on the show?

Lili Reinhart: “Heck yeah…episode four. She is more of a tomboy. Veronica is the girlie-girl. Betty’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and fix a car. Hint hint. We are very much adding that tomboy element. It just shows kind of how opposite they are at the end of the day. They complement each other.”

It’s hinted that Betty is taking medication. Can you talk about that?

Lili Reinhart: “Well, Betty is under a lot of pressure from her mom, Alice, to be the perfect child. Betty has a sister, Polly, that you’ll meet later on in season one and Polly is the wild child, troubled kid, always getting in trouble. And Alice, Betty’s mom, wants Betty to be everything that Polly wasn’t. She wants Betty to be the epitome of the perfect student. She wants her to be the perfect sister to Polly and the perfect daughter. That pressure kind of makes her crack and at one point her mom goes into her room and says, ‘Oh, you forgot to refill your Adderall. Here you go!’ Her mom is very manipulative.”

What is the relationship like between Veronica, Betty, and Cheryl (played by Madelaine Petsch)?

Lili Reinhart: “Betty and Veronica are a team, more so.”

Camila Mendes: “Veronica comes in and immediately sees that Veronica does not get along with Cheryl. Veronica is kind of like neutral because she knows who Cheryl is – she’s been Cheryl before – but she also really likes Betty and prefers Betty.”

Lili Reinhart: “It’s not Cheryl’s fault. Cheryl just wants to attack the weak one and Betty just so happens to be the weak one at this point.”

Would you like to see a Betty and Veronica “ship” happening?

Lili Reinhart: “People want that, man! People are aggressive.”

Camila Mendes: “I’m curious if there will be hints of that.”

Lili Reinhart: “I mean, Betty and Veronica are not about to be a lesbian couple. We have gay characters, we have gay couples on the show – half of our production team is gay.”

Camila Mendes: “But I feel like the modern Veronica…this isn’t her first time kissing a girl. She’s a sexually confident woman. She’s probably the most experienced out of all these people. She comes into this small town and she’s like, ‘Who are these people? They don’t know nothing!’”

Do you think Betty getting together with Archie is a good idea at this point in time when we meet them in the series?

Lili Reinhart: “No. He has way too much stuff going on in his head to be with Betty. I’m very protective of Betty. I think Archie could have been really good with her before that summer happened. He’s dealing with the guilt of hearing a possible gunshot when he was with Miss Grundy. He’s dealing with what he wants to do with is life, whether he wants to play music or play football or go to business school. So, I think Betty needs someone who’s going to love her and treat her with respect, give her attention. Like, the attention that she deserves and he definitely can’t do that right now. Maybe someday, but not now. Maybe Betty will find her own love interest…”