'Riverdale': The Gargoyle King Arrives in Truly Terrifying Fashion

Ahead of Riverdale's third season, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa teased fans to be wary of "The Gargoyle King," tweeting out a poster of the cast overlaid with red antlers.

"Beware the #gargoyleking," Aguirre-Sacasa wrote, immediately sending fan theories into overdrive in regards to just who, or what, said villain could be.

During Wednesday night's season 3 premiere, the first whispers of the creepy character were spotted when Jughead (Cole Sprouse) asked Dilton Doiley (Daniel Yang) and Ben (Moses Thiessen) about the role-playing game they were playing at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe. While Dilton was about to answer Jughead, Ben quickly stopped him.

Later, Dilton showed up at Jughead's house asking to talk, but Jughead was on the way to court and asked Dilton to wait for him instead.

Things then came to a terrifying head at the end of the episode, when Jughead returned home from Archie's trial only to find Dilton no longer there, a map and compass in his place.

Setting out after pinpointing a location on the map, Jughead ended up in the dark woods where he found a ritual-like space set up with a towering tree branch statue of the Gargoyle King looming over the bodies of Dilton and Ben, who were both on their knees with symbols carved into their backs.

Jughead immediately checked to see if they were okay, and while Dilton appeared unresponsive, Ben was able to make noise, a blue substance coming from his mouth as Jughead tried, unsuccessfully, to talk to him before screaming for help.

Tellingly, the scene prior to Jughead's discovery saw Archie traveling on a bus headed out of Riverdale, a glimpse of the town sign revealing that it, too, had been branded with the same symbols that were seen on Dilton and his friend.

Betty (Lili Reinhart) also had visions of the Gargoyle King in a season 3 trailer, so it seems this mysterious figure will impact several residents of Riverdale in the episodes to come. It's also unclear how or if the King fits in with The Farm, the mysterious cult-like group Betty's sister and mother recently joined.

The end of the episode indicated that that may be the case, as a ceremony in Betty's backyard saw Alice (Madchen Amick) and Polly (Tiera Skovbye) drop Polly's infant twins over a fire only for the babies to hover in the air as if by magic, although it remains to be seen whether that illusion has anything to do with the Gargoyle King.

Judging by the final few minutes of the season premiere, fans are in for quite a bit of mystery as season 3 rolls on.

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Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Photo Credit: The CW