As if we could be any more impressed with him after he bucked the childhood stardom trends and retreated from the limelight to pursue an NYU education, now Cole Sprouse wants Jughead to be asexual on Riverdale. Because for this Suite Life of Zack & Cody alum, telling the stories of underrepresented communities is way, way more important than the opportunity to kiss Betty (Lili Reinhart) or Veronica (Camila Mendes).
“I think there’s still a lot of room in Riverdale for that,” he told HollywoodLife at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.
Sprouse’s famous Archie Comics character was confirmed as asexual by writers Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson at New York Comic Con in 2015, and first openly discussed it in the “Jughead” #4 issue last February.
But since The CW is The CW — full of hotties, hormones, and hookups — we pretty much assumed that Sprouse’s version of the character would divert from the source material and, say, get involved in a love triangle.
And we assumed right, but what we didn’t know was that Sprouse himself would fight to keep that storyline alive on the show … and that, to this very day, he’s still fighting.
“Jughead will have romances with women … and burgers,” he said, adding that he fought the network on this, “but at the end of the day, I still had to do my job.”
That job, for now, entails portraying a mysterious, wounded character who recently had a falling out with Archie himself (HelloGiggles received the first four episodes of Riverdale in advance, and, um, really freaking loved them) and, per Sprouse, is “super choosy about the people he lets in … but when he lets them in, he goes full throttle with it.”
From what we’ve seen so far, none of the people Jughead has “let in” is a romantic interest. And Sprouse still thinks that, in time, the show could allow him to explore his character’s sexuality (or lack thereof) in a way that is honest and respectful to the underrepresented asexual community. Which is important, because while shows like The Big Bang Theory and BoJack Horseman have explored asexuality in recent years, in the teen genre, this area of the spectrum is basically unheard of.
“If Season 1 is one of those events, or something … needs to happen in Season 1 for Jughead to eventually realize that kind of narrative, I’d love to play with that too,” he concluded.