There was a lot to love about the first season of Riverdale, from the twisted mystery of who murdered Jason Blossom, to the sparks flying between Betty and Jughead, to jaw-dropping fashions of the ever-classy Veronica, and the broach-brandishing Cheryl. But an early fan-favorite character was Kevin Keller, the openly gay best bud of Betty who was great for a laugh or a shoulder to sigh on, and who found both love and a corpse in Season 1. But just when it seemed Kevin was being pulled into the central plot line, he nearly vanished completely! Thankfully, Season 2 promises more episodes — up to 22 from Season 1’s 13 — and more attention paid to Riverdale‘s beloved bestie.
“If I had one big regret from Season 1, it was that we didn’t get to explore those secondary characters like Josie and Kevin more,” series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a roundtable interview post-panel at Comic-Con International.
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“Kevin in the first season, he was a really supportive friend,” Aguirre-Sacasa continued. “He was always cracking jokes, and he did have that subplot with Joaquin. But because Joaquin was a bit of a double-agent [working for the Southside Serpents], you really didn’t get into a deep romance with him. That was one of the other things we really wanted to do with Kevin,” he explained, “Like we do with all of our characters, we really explore the dark side of Kevin [in Season 2].”
Aguirre-Sacasa shared that episode three will center on Kevin. “The story is what does Kevin do when he’s not in that circle of friends,” he explained. “Is he doing something that is potentially dangerous? We get to explore that a little bit. We all flew down yesterday, but Casey actually had to stay to film episode three, because he’s got so much of it.”
At this Casey Cott, who was paired with the show’s creator for this interview grinned. “I’m going to do a lot this season,” Cott said. “Mostly kind of diving into all the stuff from last season, what’s underneath all that, including his relationship with Betty.” Cott noted that at the start of Season 1, Betty and Kevin were very close, discussing crushes and hanging out often. But as the season went on, both got boyfriends, and lost sight of each other. Returning to their relationship is something Cott said he’s “really excited to dive into.”
Riverdale second season will also plunge deeper into Kevin’s relationship with his stern Sheriff father, and Cott added, “It dives — in a weird way that sounds a bit like a cliché — into Kevin’s relationship with himself. Which then influences [him and his dad] specifically, and just figuring out what makes Kevin tick.”
Following in the tradition of Season 1, each episode of the second season will be named after a film. In this case, “The Watcher in the Woods,” which Aguirre-Sacasa explained is an “old Disney, terrifying movie.” But the title tips to another thread from Season 1 that will be picked up: Kevin and Moose’s secret hook-ups.
Memorably, the pair was fooling around in the woods when they stumbled across Jason’s water-logged remains. Then Moose ran back to his girlfriend Midge, and Kevin fell for Joaquin. Could the title “Watcher in the Woods” mean that Moose and Kevin resume their tree-side trysts, and someone spots them, threatening to out the relationship? Aguirre-Sacasa said of this complicated connection, “We do explore that a little bit, in a nice, surprising way.” Cott chimed in, “It’s beautiful.”
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Of course, fans remember that Kevin’s boyfriend Joaquin fled town as the law was cracking down on the Southside Serpents. But with the gang getting a stepped up role in Season 2 — thanks to Jughead’s joining their ranks — will there be any chance of the dreamy bad boy returning?
“You know, Joaquin got on that bus to San Junipero,” Aguirre-Sacasa said of the meaningful Black Mirror nod, “I think it’s going to take a lot to get him back to Riverdale… but I’ve said this to every single actor — even those whose characters have died — never say never in Riverdale, and there’s always ghosts that could come back to haunt them. So is it possible Joaquin will come back? Yeah, anything is possible.”
While fans might root for a reunion, Cott prefers the way Riverdale left things. “It is a beautiful button on that weird love that we have to watch him go in the bus,” Cott mused. “If (Joaquin) does come back, that’d be totally cool. But there is something beautiful about watching teenagers move on and figure it out.”
Look for more from our roundtable interviews with the Riverdale cast coming soon.
Returning October 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, Riverdale stars K.J. Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy and Casey Cott as Kevin Keller.