Millions of hearts surely broke throughout the Riverdale fandom when Ross Butler confirmed he would not be reprising the role of Reggie Mantle in the second season of the CW show – leaving it to be recast. It was revealed at the time that the main reason as to why he was leaving was due to some “scheduling conflicts,” which many fans assumed meant his hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why would be picked up for season two. This turned out to be true, as each show is preparing for its second season. But don't worry – there's a really big positive outcome from all of this.
Who is the new Reggie on Riverdale?
Riverdale returns with a new Reggie in Season 2, which premieres on The CW Wednesday, October 11 at 8 PM. Charles Melton will play the new Reggie. Not only is he hot AF, but he also appears to be best friends with the cast (K.J. Apa, in particular). The two recently played in a charity soccer match together. Cast bonding – how cute?!
Ross took to social media after the announcement to thank fans for all their support and share his thoughts on the casting news. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that he is actually thrilled that Charles will be taking over for him and is excited to see his Reggie next season.
So what does Charles Melton look like? Spoiler: HOT.
As for getting a replacement Reggie to swap with Ross, they definitely did a good job as far as appearances go. Charles and Ross have very similar features, and we're not just talking about their chiseled facial structures – they're both absolute jacked. We're talkin' muscles for days.
Why is Ross Butler leaving Riverdale?
By now, fans know that Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why have officially been picked up for another season. However, when Ross decided to leave Riverdale, he actually wasn’t even sure 13RW was going to return. He opened up to Seventeen in an interview, explaining how he came to his decision.
"There are other projects that I'm looking at, but the main reason was 13 Reasons. I was pretty sure it was going to come back for a second season and I put all my chips on that coming back,” he said. "If I left Riverdale and 13 Reasons didn't happen, I would not be in a good place, but I was getting some good vibes that it would get picked up."
What did Ross' co-stars think of him leaving the show?
Ross' Riverdale castmate Cole Sprouse felt it was only necessary to recast Reggie, given the fact that he hopes to see a lot more of the character in the second season.
"We talk about Reggie, everyone talks about Reggie, and we all very much want Reggie to be one of the fundamental characters that he deserves to be according to the digests," the former Disney Channel kid said in an interview. "The truth is, the antagonizing nature of Reggie within the show would be a wonderful, wonderful balance for Archie's narratives. It's something [the creator of the show] and I had talked about a little bit, and is understood. Obviously, we want to see more. We all want to see more."
At Riverdale's Comic-Con panel, which J-14 attended, executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained that recasting Reggie only happened because they found the right guy for it. If they didn't find Charlie, Reggie may have been retired as character from the show forever. Can you imagine?!
"You know, when we were first casting Reggie for season one, it took us forever to find the guy who kind of embodied that, and that was Ross Butler. And then when Ross had to leave, we had to make a really tough decision. Do we retire the character, or do we try to replace this great actor? For me, and I think for the producers and for the cast, Reggie's such an important part of the show, and he's such a big element, he's Archie's kind of day-to-day rival, that I said, 'Listen, if we can find the right actor we'll do it, if we can't we'll retire Reggie,'" he said. "And Charles was one of the first actors who came in, and he had it tough because since we had had everyone else cast, we made him read with K.J., we made him read with Cole, we made him read with Ashleigh for various reasons, because he has stories with all three of them. And the chemistry was kind of instantaneous."
It was a huge risk to take – leaving one hit show for another who’s future was uncertain at the time, but it definitely worked out the way he had hoped. Of course Ross will surely be missed on Riverdale, but the silver lining to all this news is that more Zach Dempsey will be hitting screens some time soon.
This post was originally published on May 13, 2017, and has since been updated.