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Riverdale season 2 will feature new troublemakers, including Veronica's ex

Watch the first trailer for the new season

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Darkness, romance, and trouble are coming to Riverdale — where, let’s be honest, all three are already in plentiful supply. Season 2 of the hit CW series will welcome old flames, new love interests, re-examined relationships, and the only thing scarier than Dark Betty: Dark Veronica!

The collective cast of the show (returning Oct. 11) appeared at Comic-Con International on Saturday in a thunderous panel filled with teases from the main ensemble (including the fabulous foursome, the three Pussycats, a Blossom, and a sheriff’s son) as well as producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Sarah Schechter.

The panel dove into some of the tested dynamics of the second season — expect a more hardened Archie and, if you can believe it, Cheryl — and introduced a few key characters that will really do some damage to the relationships we know from season 1.

“The Angel of Death”: After kicking off with a blooper reel from season 1, the panel debuted the first footage from the second season, which wasted no time showing a blood-soaked Archie scrambling to bring his injured father into the hospital after the gunshot cliffhanger in the season finale. Quickly, the entire town rallies to find out what happened to Fred — we’ll know his fate by the episode’s end, Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed. Archie also seems to bear his first secret of the season: He appears to remember more about the gunman than he shares with his friends. Fellow witness Pop Tate adds a perhaps too dramatic but still crucial description of the new villain: “It’s like the angel of death come to Riverdale.” (The stakes escalate even higher when Jughead floats the idea that it’s possible the attack on Fred Andrews was actually a hit.)

Watch the trailer below:

Hiram Lodge: Long teased in season 1, Veronica’s father figure is finally coming to town — and Camila Mendes says actor Mark Consuelos fit in seamlessly with the Lodge women with his shifty behavior. “He plays the role with such confidence and subtlety — he’s not trying to push this Godfather-esque character,” Mendes says of Consuelos. “He’s just so calm and collected because at the end of the day, he’s a businessman and he knows how to put on a face and charm people, but the whole time, I’m still suspicious.” Veronica will remain conflicted between trying to turn the Lodge family toward normal, non-criminal behavior, and her latent desire to simply be included in her family’s secrets, however dark they may get. “There’s a side of Veronica that really wants to know that…he’s going to try to be a good person, but at the same time, he’s still doing the same things he was always doing and keeping secrets with Hermione, and they’re not letting Veronica cross that bridge. She’s just trying to get to them and be like, ‘Let me be part of this family. I want to be a Lodge. I want to help.’”

Nick St. Clair: The now-official romance between Archie and Veronica will be tested not only by Hiram (who schemes up a “crazy” relationship with Archie) but by the arrival of Veronica’s bad boy ex-boyfriend from New York. “He brings out Veronica’s dark side, which I don’t think we really got to see in season 1,” says Mendes, to which Schechter added, “Dark Veronica is much darker than Dark Betty.” On a positive note, Mendes gushed about how the character will actually do some good by bringing the show’s women together: “Episode 205, let me just say, is a really big ‘girls sticking together’ [episode]. This Nick St. Clair guy, the ex-boyfriend that comes into town, he does some really bad things. And it involves Veronica and Cheryl. And because of that, it brings all of the girls together to kind of fight it. It’s kind of in the same light as episode 3 in season one.” (That episode, you’ll remember, found the girls fighting back against the football team’s slut-shaming.)

Toni Topaz: With Jughead staying put at Southside High, his romance with Betty could face some heat thanks to his new classmate (played by Vanessa Morgan). “She is a Southside Serpent, and she’s sort of Jughead’s guide into the Serpent world,” said Aguirre-Sacasa. “We jokingly say that she’s got a lot of the same interests as Jughead, so it’s almost like she’s a female Jughead. She’s trouble! I think she’s trouble, getting Jughead into this gang. And I think she might be trouble for Bughead.” (That’s Betty + Jughead.) Sprouse added, “Jughead is placed kind of in the middle of two worlds that are starting to collide and really erupt, and as the season [progresses], it’s going to start forcing him to really pick a side, which is quite a dangerous space for him to be in because he’s a very morally gray character.” Excitingly, Toni will also stay true to her comic roots, in which the character was presented as bisexual. “That’s something that’s in the comic books and has been for a while, and we thought it would be really, really fun to have a bisexual character from the comics on the show,” said the producer. “So, it’ll be trouble for a lot of the people on this panel.”

Penny Peabody: The panel didn’t spend much time discussing Brit Morgan’s new character, known to fans as “the Snake Charmer,” but it’s a fairly safe assumption that there’s trouble brewing among the adults with this wily attorney (who represents much of the Southside Serpents’ perpetually problematic interests).

In addition, Aguirre-Sacasa expressed his hope that Jughead’s oft-mentioned little sister, Jellybean, and their absent mother would appear in the back half of the 22-episode season. Casey Cott casually mentioned a new, unnamed love interest for Kevin (after the one-way departure of Serpent Joaquin), and Ashleigh Murray teased that Josie will “bat a couple eyelashes” at Reggie (Charles Melton) this season.

And that’s it. What, were you expecting big news about Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Blame the limits of Comic-Con scheduling for that one, as the final question of the panel — truly, in the final seconds of the 45-minute-long event — pressed Aguirre-Sacasa and Schechter on whether the show would turn toward the supernatural (a la zombie Jason Blossom). “That’s a very, very, very good question,” Aguirre-Sacasa began. “I love horror stuff and I love dreams and jump scares and things like that, so we’re always trying to figure out ways to put hints of that in Riverdale. We have been talking about one very prominent supernatural character that exists in the Archie universe and — ”

…now we wait.