Riverdale's Marisol Nichols on Hiram's arrival, crazy fan theories, and the identity of that green-eyed robber

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      Fall TV season is officially upon us (thank God) and at the top of everyone's trash-TV list is Riverdale. Don't believe us? Just have a look at the queue outside Vancouver's the Templeton (1087 Granville Street) earlier tonight (October 13), where hundreds of fans of the hit Archie-Comics adaptation waited hours for a chance to sip milkshakes and pose for Instagram snaps at one of seven Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe pop-ups happening across Canada.

      The icing (or whipped cream) on the double-chocolate milkshake? A surprise visit from actress Marisol Nichols, who plays socialite turned waitress turned bookkeeper, accessory in white-collar crime, and devoted wife and mother Hermione Lodge on the series. Needless to say, attendees (Riverheads? Riverdames? Rivernerds??) were shook. Or shooketh, as one frazzled fan put it after coming in contact with Nichols. Much screeching was heard.

      Between greeting Vancouverites and kicking back with a Betty (Old Fashioned Vanilla), Nichols took the time to chat with the Georgia Straight about Hermione's surprisingly threatening edge; what the arrival of her onscreen husband, Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), means for the town of Riverdale; and the identity of that creepy, green-eyed, masked robber. (Warning: this story may contain spoilers.)

      And don't worry, Vancouver: unlike her Kiwi co-star KJ Apa, Nichols has plenty of love for the Lower Mainland, where filming for Riverdale's second season is ongoing. ("The restaurant scene is insane and I'm obsessed," she enthuses.) Bonus: she reads the Straight ("I'm always looking for stuff to do in the city," she says) and recently checked out the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival, which she "loved", with her nine-year-old daughter. A+ damage control, Mama Lodge.

      Georgia Straight: I have to say, I was a little taken aback by how menacing Hermione was in this week's premiere. Will we see more of that from her this season?

      Marisol Nichols: Yeah, you will. When we met Hermione [in season one], Hiram was gone, so she got to start over. And in my creating her, I felt like this was her first chance to start over and really be the kind of person that she wanted to be. And then, as you saw throughout the season, Hiram became more and more... You could feel him. Even though he was in prison, he still had his hands in all the dealings and [Hermione] couldn't get away. And now, this is the Hermione that has to survive and will protect her family. 

      GS: How will Hiram's arrival in town affect Hermione's relationship with her daughter, Veronica (Camila Mendes)?

      MN: It's a touchy situation because Veronica is so headstrong. Like you saw on season one, she's, like, at her dad, whereas Hermione knows how dangerous he is and that if you push him too far, he is not an honest, safe person. So [Hermione] will have to do things to protect Veronica that may seem like she doesn't have her best interests in mind. But I will fight tooth and nail to say that Hermione's actions are always meant to protect her.

      GS: What about Hermione's relationship with Fred (Luke Perry)? How will that be impacted?

      MN: What relatonship with Fred? [Laughs.] That is, like, no. We don't talk about Fred. You know how we don't talk about Fight Club? It's that kind of thing. 

      GS: Side note, but the casting for the Lodge family is on point. Being Latina, what was it like to portray a Latina character alongside actors who are also Latinx?

      MN: Listen, I've been in the business for about 20 years and I've seen it change a lot. And now, it's gotten to the point where before it was like, 'Yeah, we'll have a Latina. We'll have a minority, but we'll have them in the fourth or fifth character, just so we have the token minority.' And I was happy to be the token minority, fine. But now, [we’re playing] the leads. I'm so happy. I want a business that's just colourblind and it's just 'Who's the right person for the role?' We're going in a good direction.

      GS: Hiram doesn't seem like the type that would approve of his daughter's relationship with Archie (KJ Apa).

      MN: No. But I gotta say, c'mon, wouldn't you want your kid to date somebody like Archie? Like, if my kid was a teenager, I'd say, 'Yeah, you could totally date an Archie.' That would be all right with me.

      GS: You interact with Riverdale fans a lot on Twitter. What are some of the craziest fan theories you've read about where the storyline is headed?

      MN: I've heard theories that Betty's mom (Mädchen Amick) is a witch. Have you seen that? Isn't that hilarious? But I just wanna do a shout out to all the fans that thought Hermione killed Fred. How dare you? Like, c'mon, where's your loyalty? [Laughs.]

      GS: What can you tell us about the green-eyed, masked robber on the loose? It seems like he may be targeting those with connections to the Andrews family.

      MN: Not much, unfortunately. But I will say that Riverdale is a town of mystery. And if you hear Jughead's (Cole Sprouse) voiceover, he kind of narrates that and is painting this picture of this town and this evil that is coming. So I would say that the green-eyed man is that incarnation.

      New episodes of Riverdale are available for streaming every Thursday on Netflix Canada.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.