There’s a new big bad in Riverdale, and his name is Percival Pickens. Played by Chris O’Shea, the character made their Riverdale debut during the sixth episode of season 6 in March 2022. Although his intentions in the town were a mystery at first, fans braced themselves for something sinister from the new citizen.
After Archie (KJ Apa) survived Hiram Lodge’s (Mark Consuelos) bomb, his house is ruined. As the red-headed protagonist and his mom, Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald), were cleaning up the debris in their now-totaled home, Percival arrived. He knocked on the door and handed the mother-son duo a card noting that he would love to buy the house — which, reminder, is in ruins. Archie and his mom looked stunned as they digested the offer, but eventually, Mary sold the home to her son.
“Something wicked this way comes,” Chris, for his part, teased on Instagram ahead of his first Riverdale appearance.
In December 2021, it was announced that the You star would be joining The CW series. “Although he presents as charming (and is), Percival’s also manipulative, powerful and increasingly dangerous as he comes into conflict with our characters, most especially Archie,” Deadline reported at the time. “A descendent of one of Riverdale’s founding fathers, General Pickens, Percival wants to turn Riverdale into a ‘utopia,’ a dark agenda he pursues quietly but ruthlessly.”
Now that Hiram is out (the character seemingly died during the same episode in which Percival was introduced), the show is in need of a new big bad. According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, that’s what fans can expect from this new character.
“Hiram was a great villain. He was a great mafia boss, gang lord. So, when we were talking about bringing in a new big bad, we definitely didn’t want anyone who was swimming in those waters,” the executive producer told Decider in March 2021. “And given that the season was more supernaturally tinged and on the fringes of that, we were thinking of him as more of a villain out of a Stephen King novel. Like Randall Flagg out of The Stand, or like the proprietor of the shop in Needful Things. Someone who had a very different tone and manner of villainy from Hiram. So that we weren’t trying to fill those formidable shoes, which we probably would not have been able to do.”
During a separate interview with TV Insider, Roberto referred to Percival as “a more malevolent, mysterious and enigmatic stranger,” confirming “definitely, he is our Big Bad.”
Fans will remember in season 2, Archie and the gang celebrated Pickens Days, a Riverdale holiday to celebrate the town’s founder, General Augustus Pickens. With his direct descendant in town now, anything is possible.
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