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Riverdale -- "Chapter Eighty-Eight: Citizen Lodge" -- Image Number: RVD512fg_0020r -- Pictured (L - R): Mark Consuelos as Javier Luna and Michael Consuelos as Young Hiram -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Riverdale boss previews Hiram’s origin story, a Jughead-centric episode, and more

When Riverdale returns, the small town is in a state of chaos. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) is missing, and thanks to Hiram (Mark Consuelos) freeing the inmates of his prison, things are even crazier than usual. Speaking of Hiram, upcoming episodes will feature his origin story, along with more information on what exactly happened during the years we skipped with the time jump.

EW spoke with showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about what to expect from the rest of season 5.

I have to say, now that we’re a few episodes in, I don’t always like time jumps, but I think this one worked.

ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA: I think partly because some of the cast members were so clearly outside of the high school range and so much of the show happened outside of the high school, and it was always about a town and not just a high school, it felt like the risk to take. The writers and actors have really loved it, though we were worried, because what is Archie if not the embodiment of high school? So I appreciate that. I’m with you; time jumps can be very weird.

In the coming episodes, are we still piecing together much of what happened in those years we didn’t see?

Absolutely. In an episode that focuses on Jughead, we’re going to unpack what the last few years were for him. We’re going to see how Betty and Jughead’s relationship continued after high school and how it devolved into what we found when they moved back to Riverdale. Ditto for Archie. We have gotten a few glimmers of what Archie’s time in the Army was like but we unpack all of that trauma and experience, and ditto with Betty and Veronica. But I would say in terms of really burrowing into the past, it’s sort of Jughead and Archie that we really pull apart all of the bad things that happened to them that led to their time in Riverdale again.

With all of the inmates running around, this first episode back is almost giving me Gotham City vibes.

Absolutely. One of my favorite episodes we did was called “Riot Night” and it fully felt like Gotham City, and it’s similar here. It’s a classic criminals-running-amok-in-Riverdale kind of thing. When we were doing this, we were like, “I guess it will be just a bunch of anonymous inmates,” and then we were like, “Actually we have so many villains who are in jail, we’re good.” [Laughs] We love bringing those characters back.

Where did the idea for Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) creating her own ministry come from?

When we were talking about the Blossoms, that storyline is based on this famous female preacher who, I think it was in the ’20s or ’30s, was really popular in Los Angeles. If you saw the HBO show Perry Mason there was a similar character. That was where the idea came from. The idea of creating their own ministry felt somehow outlandish and yet very very Blossom-esque. That is a very big story for the Blossoms and it turns out to be a very defining story for Cheryl [Madelaine Petsch], so more to come on that story.

We saw Josie and the Pussycats in the latest trailer. What can you say about their return?

I don’t want to spoil it but we’re getting to them sooner rather than later. And I will also say this: It’s probably my favorite Josie [Ashleigh Murray] episode that we’ve ever done. It’s wonderful; it was so great to have the girls back. It’s one of our strongest episodes of the season. Every year we do some weird episodes and they’re coming up and they’re some of the best we’ve done I think.

What went into the decision to tell Hiram’s origin story, and why was now the time to tell it?

Honestly, it’s all about Mark Consuelos. Mark joined us in season 2 and he’s been such a terrific addition to the show. He’s been completely up for being our big bad. He’s such a good actor and we’ve never really done an episode that focused on Hiram in a really deep way. It was so great to have Michael [Consuelos] do that episode and I think it was really special for Mark and Michael. And I do feel like we’re building to quite a thing with Hiram this season so it’s good to understand what makes him tick a little bit more. It’s a very off-the-beaten-path episode but we can’t wait for people to see it.

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