EXCLUSIVE: With Riverdale coming to an end after its upcoming seventh season, the CW is eyeing another soapy, noir thriller teen drama set in the world of Archie Comics. Jake Chang, which is in development at the network, comes from writer Oanh Ly and writer-director Viet Nguyen, who both worked on the Archie Comics-based Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Daniel Dae Kim’s 3AD, Archie Studios and Warner Bros. Television.
Jake Chang is an Asian-American–led mystery following a 16-year-old private investigator as he navigates the racially and socioeconomically diverse worlds of his ever-gentrifying home of Chinatown, and the elite private high school he attends. The show will blend soapy teen drama with the neon noir aesthetic, all while flipping nearly every Asian stereotype—honor, martial arts, destiny, lineage, parental sacrifice—on its head.
Jake Chang is brand new character in the Archie Comics universe. His existence first came to light in February when Archie Comics filed paperwork to trademark it. In April, it was announced that Jake Chang will make his comic debut July 27 in the “Mystery of the Missing Mermaid” Betty and Veronica story. Above is a sketch of the character.
The TV adaptation is being developed as a standalone series; there are no current plans to introduce the character on Riverdale’s final season.
“We are so proud and honored to be a part of this new wave of Asian-American content created by and starring Asian-Americans,” Ly and Nguyen said. “The world of Jake Chang is vast, compelling, and a whole lot of fun. And just like our rascally teen detective, we’re going to lean into the ‘F U’ of the original ‘Fu Chang’ IP and delightfully destroy all familiar tropes and tell a unique Asian-American story.”
Archie Comics’ Fu Chang is an American-educated international private detective living in the Chinatown district of San Francisco, California during the 1940s. It is unclear how Jake and Fu are related but there is clearly some lineage here.
Ly will co-write the script with Nguyen who is set to direct. The two are executive producing alongside Jon Goldwater, through Archie Studios and its overall deal with WBTV, as well as Kim and John Cheng through 3AD. Archie’s Head of Development Matt Lottman also is expected to serve in a producing capacity on the series from Warner Bros. Television.
“We are so excited to be working with Daniel and the team at 3AD to bring a treasured classic to life for modern audiences,” Goldwater said. “Oanh and Viet have crafted a unique vision that will be unlike anything you’ve seen from the Archie universe before. We’ve had such a great relationship with the whole CW team, and we look forward to having more great success together with Jake Chang.“
Archie Comics worked with Ly and Nguyen on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which ran on Netflix for four seasons. The company also produces Riverdale, which is headed into its seventh and final season.
“3AD is so excited to join the Archie universe, especially with writers like Oanh and Viet at the helm,” Kim said. “Jon, Matt, WBTV and the team at CW have been great shepherds of these beloved characters and we hope to continue their tradition of success.”
Kim launched 3AD to produce premier content for TV, film and digital media with a commitment to storytelling featuring traditionally underrepresented characters and cultures. 3AD, which produces the hit ABC series The Good Doctor, is led by Daniel and Head of Development Cheng. It is under a first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios. Kim is repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Gang Tyre Ramer.
Ly, whose credits also include Sweet Tooth, is repped by Industry Entertainment and CAA. Nguyen, who also worked on Crush the Skull, Let the Right One In and Midnight Club, is repped by Rain Management Group and UTA. Archie Comics is repped by WME and Richard Thompson at Brecheen Feldman Breimer.