Archie Comics is turning 75-years-old this year!
Over the years there has been many successes and failures associated with this company. When most people try to think of any successful television program based on Archie, they’ll think Sabrina the Teenage Witch with Melissa Joan Hart or the animated Josie and the Pussycats series from Hanna-Barbera. Maybe if you’re older, you’ll think of The Archie Show. There have only been fourteen shows based on Archie comics, most with the Archie cast (meaning no Josie or Sabrina) not making past a few episodes except for the mentioned The Archie Show, so Riverdale, a show that has been trying hard to find somewhere to live, already has a few odds against it.
The cast for Riverdale was just announced, and in it’s wake there has been a lot of unhappy fans.
Our cast so far is comprised of K.J. Apa as Archie (who has since dyed his hair red), Cole Sprouse as Jughead (who has since dyed his hair black), Lili Reinhart as Betty, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl, Ashleigh Murray as Josie, and Camila Mendes as Veronica (who also dyed her hair black).
I was excited to see Murray as Josie. I think she’s super cute and, judging by her picture, even looks like the bubbly and fun Josie. But the public comments on this cast photo regarding Murray are not as nice. Most folks are saying “why cast her as Josie when Valerie is black?” or “Josie has red hair…”
After finding out that Murray would be portraying Josie, I thought “I have a feeling it’ll be an all black Josie and the Pussycats OR Valerie is going to be white.” The first part of my thought was true (happily enough!) and later, Archie Comics’ Instagram account posted this:
Most people are responding pretty positively to this post, and while that does makes me happy, it frustrates me that there are still people complaining! Why are there so many issues with the female characters being black? This is especially frustrating as the only other successful shows or movies featuring Josie either had racist jokes towards Valerie (as in the Josie and the Pussycats (2001)) or they made her white! (as in the Josie and the Pussycats show from the 1970s).
In reality, recasting isn’t a huge deal unless people make it a huge deal.
To prove this, let’s look at some images from the Sabrina the Teenage Witch live action sitcom and cartoon show:
The live action Sabrina ended up being such a success that reprints of older Sabrina comics were altered to have Salem as a black cat, yet no one complains about this or the original casting in the first place.
All casting concerns for Riverdale should be held off until actual clips from show are released, that way we can see how well the actors are portraying their character. If they are able to emulate a modern day Josie, Valerie, and Melody, then their skin tone shouldn’t matter.
So before we declare this the worst Archie show ever, let’s wait until we actually see it.