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Welcome to the dark side, Betty Cooper

Lili Reinhart is picture perfect as perennial good girl Betty in ‘Riverdale.’ But this season will see her show off a grittier side.
Cole Sprouse Lili Reinhart
Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones and Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper. Bettina Strauss /The CW

Last season, "Riverdale" was a hit. And this season promises to be bigger, better — and darker. “[Early in the] first season, we introduced the darker side of Betty,” says Lili Reinhart, the 21-year-old behind Riverdale’s dream girl.

But don’t worry — this season promises even more Dark Betty. “Her world is changing,” Reinhart continues. “We’ll see that darkness come from a more real place.”

Ahead of the premiere of the second season — October 11 at 8 p.m. — we chat with the Cleveland born actress about representation, feminist moments and of course, Betty’s romance with Jughead.

What does the new season hold for Betty?
Dark Betty will come up this season as something much more mental, more internal. She’s going to face major problems and find herself right in the middle of a mystery. And she’ll go through some mental games, and a really traumatic event that’ll lead her into a depression. It’s going to cause a lot of psychological damage.

Comic book readers are more accustomed to Betty as the good girl. What’s their feedback been like?
Usually when we get feedback from people, they’ve seen the show because their children are watching it. And they’re surprised! They say, “You’re not the Betty I grew up with.” But I like that Betty is facing real problems. That makes her character deeper. She’s still a happy, bright and innocent girl, but now she’s balanced with real emotions.

It definitely reflects a broader representation of women in television. Do you think “Riverdale” fulfills that?
Yes. It's refreshing to see this new generation of TV, where women are friends with each other. Betty and Veronica aren’t fighting over a man. It’s a very important part of our show that these girls are friends and they’re not competing with each other for attention or love. They can conquer the world without fighting for a man.

We will definitely mention feminist themes [in the second season]. It will touch on a lot of important things young people face: Mental health, romance, friendship, love triangles.

These teens are definitely facing darker problems, too. 
Definitely. For a long time, television has showed teenage characters in only one dimension: innocents, who are always happy. Villains, who are always bad. They’ve never showed you the different aspects or colors of their personalities.

Last but definitely not least, what can we expect from Betty’s relationship with Jughead?
There’s going to be a civil war in Riverdale and you’ll have to choose sides: Betty will be on one and Jughead on another. And all these external forces are going to try to separate them, which is sad. Although they try to maintain that connection, inevitably the circumstances will distance them. But they’ll continue to fight against the forces working to separate them.

 
 
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