During the first season, there are many 75th annual events happening in the town of Riverdale, such as the 75th Annual Variety Show and the 75th Anniversary Jubilee. In 1941, 75 years ago, the characters Archie, Betty, and Veronica were created by publisher John L. Goldwater and artist Bob Montana, and introduced in Pep Comics #22.
In this series Jughead wears a pronged beanie as an updated version of the whoopee cap the character traditionally wears in the comics. The whoopee cap was a popular hat for kids of the early 20th century, made by cutting a fedora into a crown-like shape.
K.J. Apa said that for all the scenes where he's eating junk food with his friends at a diner and eating burgers, he has a bucket just off camera where he spits out all the food after taking a bite for the camera shot. This is because while filming the show, he's on a very strict diet to maintain his six-pack abs for his shirtless scenes. Apa said that to make up for it, he eats what he wants in the break between filming two seasons of the show.
In one scene Jughead says Archie is acting like a superhero and should have a superhero name, "like Pureheart the Powerful". In the comics there's a "spinoff" where all Archie comic characters ARE superheroes; and Archie's superhero is Pureheart the Powerful.
The character of Jughead Jones is canonically asexual in the comics. Cole Sprouse was very much behind this being apart of the character in the show, as a way to give the asexual community positive representation in the form of a central character in the series, as were fans, but the writers ultimately decided not to explore it. Sprouse and fans were all openly critical of this decision, though Sprouse has remained open to that part of the character being explored later
Camila Mendes (Veronica), Cole Sprouse (Jughead), and Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones, Jughead's father) all went to NYU. In an interview, Mendes said that she knew Sprouse from NYU and that they had exchanged a few words, however Sprouse did not remember her.
It was announced that Ross Butler would be departing the series after Season 1 due to other project commitments, with the role having to be recast for Season 2. It was announced a day after the Season 1 finale that Charles Melton would be Ross Bulter's successor.
In Season 1 Episode 10, Jughead indicates he'd rather not be in the middle of a "Seth Rogen movie". This may be a reference to Seth Rogen attending Point Grey Secondary School in his youth, where many scenes of "Riverdale" are filmed.
K.J. Apa said that he does not mind being shirtless and showing off his abs on the show because that is how the character is written in the script. He said, "Someone has to have abs on the show. It's always strange to play a sex object. But when I read the script, it was how they were taking it. So I was prepared for that, and I knew that people were going to take it like that as well. But yeah, it is strange. I don't think it's anything I'm ever going to get used to. As soon as you get used to becoming a sex object, that can be dangerous. When people look at you as a sex object, that's not how you're defined. There's more to Archie than abs and his body and getting with girls. He's a humanized character, and people should see past that, but initially, at first glance, people are going to have that first impression of sex object."
Skeet Ulrich, who appeared in Scream (1996), plays Jugheads's father. Lochlyn Munro, who appeared in the subsequent Scream parody Scary Movie (2000), plays Betty's father. Marisol Nichols, who appeared in Scream 2 (1997), plays Veronica's mother.
Even though the show is shot near Vancouver, Canada; the aerial shot of the town is actually from Harbor Springs, Michigan, USA. The church at the end of the street is called "The Holy Childhood Church of Jesus" . Population is just 1,200.
KJ Apa, who normally portrays Archie, portrays Fred Andrews (Archie's father) in his high school days in S03E04. In this episode, KJ seems to closely resemble Dylan McKay from the 1990's teen drama "Beverly Hills, 90210". Dylan McKay was played by Luke Perry, who plays Fred Andrews.
Many of the actors playing the adults are famous for roles in movies and TV series from the 80's and 90's: Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills 90210"), Mädchen Amick ("Twin Peaks"), Skeet Ulrich (Scream), Molly Ringwald (16 Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink) and Robin Givens ("Head of the Class").
The juvenile hall Archie is sent to at the beginning of season three, Leopold and Loeb, is so named after a pair of Chicago students who, in 1924 at the ages of 19 and 18 respectively, were charged with the murder of 14 year old Bobby Franks.
The character of Kevin Keller was premiered in Veronica #202, in September 2010. He is the first openly gay character in the Archie universe. In the comics, he is married to Clay Walker in at least one possible future.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-) is another Archie comic adaption and takes place in the same universe as Riverdale. The town of Riverdale is referenced multiple times in the show, and there has been speculation of a crossover episode taking place somewhere in the near future.
All the episodes of Season 1, with the exception of chapters 5 & 11, "Heart of Darkness " and "Return to Riverdale", are movie titles. One dates back as far as 1937. This is "La Grande Illusion" "Heart of Darkness", by author Joseph Conrad and published in 1899, was used as the basis for "Apocalypse Now".
Though shown as a tough biker gang, the "South Side Serpents" were originally a gang of small thugs led by Fangs Fogarty in the "Li'l Archie" comics in 1950-60 mainly. Their T-shirt represented a snake forming an "S" symbol, which is found on the bikers' leather jackets and tattoos. "Serpent" is also the French translation for "snake".
Two episodes refer "Montreal" in the series where Hiram Lodge made probable shady deals leading to his imprisonment. Though it is a reference to Canada, where the series is shot, Montreal (or rather the South Shore suburb of St-Lambert) is the home of Heritage, which translated Archie comic books in French for many years until recently.
Lochlyn Monroe and Marisol Nichols both appeared in "Charmed". Monroe played Prue's love interest in Season 2 and Nichols played Chris' girlfriend from the future, Bianca. Madchen Amick starred in "Witches of East End", another show about witches.
While their apparent mutual feelings for each other may seem odd to casual viewers, the concept of the famously asexual Jughead showing a romantic interest in Betty dates back years ago to the comics when the two were often seen together. Betty would occasionally flirt with Jughead, and Jughead would even admit that if he were to ever show any female romantic interest, it would be her.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was originally going to appear in the Season 1 finale, but was taken out because there was so much going on in the episode already. A "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" TV show has been ordered by the CW however it got moved to Netflix as it got a automatically Two Season Order.