Riverdale returns this week for a second season of murder, mystery, and maple syrup. Now that Jughead is living on the south side of town, Riverdale will focus on two high schools: Riverdale High and Southside High. Last season, Betty tried to take Jughead out of Southside. She didn’t want him to be alone, nor did she want him to fall into the wrong crowd. As we saw in the finale, Jughead is now officially a Southside Serpent, a gang that Betty greatly fears.
With Jughead at another school, that means we’ll meet more Southside gang members this season. One of those characters will be Toni Topaz. Toni is a member of the Serpents and will be one of Jughead’s classmates. Toni will be played by Shannara Chronicle‘s actress Vanessa Morgan and will make her first appearance in Episode 3, “Watcher in the Woods.”
Comic Book History
In the comics, Toni is a transfer student to Riverdale High. Flirting with both Veronica and Sayid, she’s one of Archie Comics’ openly bisexual characters. She’s very competitive, especially with Jughead, and is also a member of The Bettys — Betty Cooper’s all-girl band — that features Betty, Toni, Sabrina (yes, the teenage witch), Ginger and Midge.
On the show, Toni will be a fellow member of the Southside Serpents, the gang that Jughead’s dad is a part of. While the Serpents are a gang, they are also a family. They offer to look after Jughead when his dad is sent to prison. Toni will be part of that family for Jughead.
Riverdale’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told ET that Toni will be a confidante for Jughead, someone in whom Jughead can confide. Toni will also have her classic comic book pink hair and signature Southside Serpents jacket.
Trouble for Bughead?
During Season 1, Betty’s life was a mess. Archie had just broken her heart and her sister was missing. Jughead became her best friend and her boyfriend. He was there for her while her family was falling apart. Now Jughead’s world has fallen apart and he’s at a different school from Betty. This is where Toni can really fit into the show. Not only can she show him around Southside High, but she can be there for Jug when Betty can’t.
This is why fans are worried that Toni may come between the #Bughead ship. Jughead never fit in with the Riverdale High crowd. He was the “weirdo,” as he liked to call himself. Toni is a Serpent from the other side of the tracks, so she knows what it’s like to be different, especially as a bisexual woman. In the current run of comics, Jughead is asexual, so Toni could help Riverdale Jughead discover his comic book asexuality, which would definitely change the #Bughead relationship.
Whether Toni becomes a possible love interest or helps Jughead discover another side to his sexuality, Toni will definitely be a character to watch this season.
Riverdale returns this Wednesday, October 11 at 8/9C on The CW.