Tomorrow night time (August 11), Riverdale lastly returns to The CW for the belated second half of Season 5. And when it does, the guarantees of change that got here pre-season are beginning to repay in a giant manner — starting with the return of Vanessa Morgan’s Toni Topaz to the collection in Episode 15.
Way again in 2020, aka a lifetime in the past, Morgan spoke out concerning the remedy of Black characters on the collection, saying they had been used as “sidekick non-dimensional characters to our white leads.” While dialogue constructed publicly on the Internet, Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had already reached out to Morgan to debate how the present might change, and launched an announcement that boiled all the way down to: “she’s right.”
Though the primary three episodes of Season 5 had been choosing up the items left over from when COVID shut down manufacturing in March of 2020, after a seven-year time leap, viewers met a model new Toni Topaz. Unlike pre-time leap, Topaz was front and center on the collection (prompting some followers to start out referring to it as “Tonidale”), working with the opposite characters to select up the items of a city in even worse form than it was with all the teenager murders.
“This year has been so, so challenging with the pandemic, with the racial reckoning,” Aguirre-Sacasa instructed Decider. “And when we set out to do Riverdale, one of the motivating ideas behind it was to take these characters and have them reflect the world at large. This season has been about honoring that idea in a way that we hadn’t always… We have such a huge cast, such a deep bench of wonderful actors. It’s rare to be on a show where your top 12 series regulars all could be leads on their own show, very easily. They’ve got that kind of star power.”
In order to maneuver Morgan into that crowded highlight, the collection made the considerably controversial option to break up a fan-favorite couple: Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) and Toni, aka Choni.
“One of the nice things about Season 5 is that we try to spread the love and the story around, and really make sure that, in Vanessa’s case, that the character of Toni wasn’t just spoken about in relation to her romance with Cheryl,” Aguirre-Sacasa famous.
Though followers might have disagreed with splitting up the pairing, and plenty of of their storylines have nonetheless revolved round one or the opposite tentatively enthusiastic about getting again collectively, it’s inarguable that Toni has grown in massive methods over the primary half of Season 5. But proper as Tonidale was getting ramped up, the present hit a bit of (however joyful) snag: Morgan gave delivery to her son, River, on January 29. The present was in a position to write in her being pregnant, and accomodate a maternity depart for the actress, however that meant followers simply getting enthusiastic about Toni lastly getting her personal storylines needed to watch the character disappear for a great chunk of time.
Don’t fear, although… When Toni comes again? She is again.
“I talked to Vanessa, and I was like, ‘when you come back, how much do you want to come back?’” Aguirre-Sacasa recalled. “And Vanessa was like, ‘I’m so in.’ We see Toni as a mother, we see Toni as a leader of the Serpents, we see bad-ass Toni come back, we see Toni fighting for the town alongside Archie. We see Toni having a deepening relationship with Fangs. And yes, we do bring Toni and Cheryl back in each other’s orbits, but in a way in which they compliment each other, rather than diffusing their impact.”
She’ll even be coming again with a child in tow. But for those who had been questioning whether or not Morgan’s actual life son can be pulling double responsibility on Riverdale? Don’t fear, little River gained’t be becoming a member of the Morgan appearing dynasty fairly but.
“It is not Vanessa’s real baby,” Aguirre-Sacasa stated. “In some scenes, it is a baby, a real live baby. In other scenes, it is a very lifelike doll. We jokingly say that it’s a little bit like that Apple TV show, Servant, with that creepy baby doll. But no, it is not… She’s rightfully so, protective of her child.”
Look for Morgan’s return, together with faux (and appearing) child, later this yr. Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.