Vanessa Morgan hasn’t even made her first appearance on Riverdale yet—hell, we still have another six weeks to go before Riverdale even returns—and she’s already the focus of one of the biggest storylines of the new season.
As we reported earlier this summer, Morgan’s Toni Topaz will make her way onto the scene when Jughead starts spending more time on the south side of town. (To recap, Jughead had to move there after his dad was thrown in jail, transferring schools in the process.) Topaz—the pink-haired, relatively new Archie Comics character—will figure prominently in the series second season as a potential foil to Betty and Jughead’s relationship.
“She’s a Southside Serpent, a gang member, and Jughead’s first friend,” Morgan tells us of her alter-ego. “So I might stir up the pot a bit with the Bughead relationship. There might be a little love triangle.”
But for die-hard Bughead fans, there’s nothing “little” about a threat to the hottest teen-drama couple since The O.C.‘s Seth and Summer. “I’ve already had some death threats,” Morgan reveals. “But the thing is, it’s half death threats because they don’t want that [actually] happening, and there’s half that’s just all love. Who knows if [my character coming between Bughead] is even going to happen. People are just jumping to conclusions.”
As for working with rumored real-life couple Lili Reinhart (Betty) and Cole Sprouse (Jughead), Morgan says the duo has been a dream. “Lili and Cole are awesome, and they have been nothing but welcoming to me. It’s great doing scenes with them. I feel lucky that everyone has been so nice. And Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom) is my best friend in real life!”
Love triangles and friendships aside, there’s an equally important reason for Topaz’s introduction to the hit CW series: The character identifies as bisexual. “It’s so huge because I have so many bisexual friends [in real life]…. I’m happy to be representing [that with this character],” Morgan says. “You can love both [genders]. It doesn’t matter guy or girl, so I’m proud to represent that.”
As for Topaz’s impact on the show, Morgan has high hopes: “I hope the lesson is, Don’t judge a book by its cover, by someone’s upbringing, or by who they love. I hope people watch Toni and think, Why are we judging people? I would love that if people took that from my character.”
The second season of Riverdale premieres October 11 on the CW.