Riverdale Season 4 did not end how creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa intended due to the production shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the season ended three episodes early, with Episode 19, "Killing Mr. Honey." While the episode was crafted with a natural cliffhanger, the cast and crew were not able to shoot important events like prom and graduation that originally would have ended the season.
The good news is that The CW renewed Riverdale for Season 5 back in January, before the pandemic hit the United States, which means that Aguirre-Sacasa and his writers' room can plot how to tie up the loose ends of Season 4 in the next season and begin plotting their next mystery for the town of Riverdale to be embroiled in.
Productions are still shut down all across the world with no definitive indication of when they'll be able to pick up, but there's still a lot we do know about the upcoming season from what was supposed to happen and those dangling loose ends. Here's everything we know so far...
The show will return in early 2021: Typically, Riverdale premieres in October, but because of the production shutdown due to COVID-19, The CW has pushed its new season until January 2021. While we don't yet have an exact premiere date for Season 5, we do know that Riverdale will remain on Wednesdays at 8/7c and lead into Nancy Drew.
Senior year will continue in Season 5. The Season 4 finale was supposed to see Archie (KJ Apa) and his friends graduate from high school and plot their futures together, but due to the production shutdown, Season 4 ended with a few senior year rites of passage that still need to be filmed — and we will get them in Season 5.
"We'll do prom as our season premiere next year," Aguirre-Sacasa told TV Guide. "I love that we're not short-changing things like prom and graduation. We're saving them to do them next year."
A big time jump is happening. Madchen Amick revealed to TV Guide that Riverdale was "planning on a bit of a time jump, after [the teens had] all gone off to college and something brings them back to the town," but those plans were put on hold with the abbreviated season.
"We're talking about what we can do [in the writers' room]," Aguirre-Sacasa told TV Guide of the now botched time jump plans. "Usually, time jumps are the best when they happen in between seasons, but we're definitely talking about all of our different options."
Aguirre-Sacasa hinted to TVLine that the plans for the time jump are still in the works, though, saying, "What we're doing is picking up right where we left off for the first three episodes, and then doing a time jump... after those three episodes."
That means we won't be saying goodbye to FP or Hermione just yet. In February, news dropped that both FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich) and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) would both lose their series regular status in Season 5, which makes a lot of sense given the time jump. However, since we'll still be in the kids' senior year when Season 5 kicks off, we will get to see both of the adults again and give them a proper goodbye.
"Marisol already knew what we had planned for Hermione and really loved it, and wanted to make sure we weren't going to change that [in light of the shutdown] — which we weren't," Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "Skeet was completely down...Neither character dies. My hope is that they're a part of Riverdale as long as there's a Riverdale. Even as we talk about stories for Season 5, if Hermione and FP fit into those stories, we're writing them that way and hopefully, we'll be able to use them, depending on what other commitments they have."
Jughead and Veronica will find out about Barchie. Season 4 had Bughead and Varchie shippers' heads spinning when Betty (Lii Reinhart) and Archie started getting closer. They pretended to date to save Jughead from the Stonewall preppies, but then actually cheated on their significant others during the musical episode. That illicit kiss will not stay secret for long in Season 5.
"Neither Veronica nor Jughead have found out about [Betty and Archie in Season 4]," Aguirre-Sacasa said. "I don't know if this is a spoiler, but I can tell you that they definitely will find out in very different ways. I don't think it's the end of the drama, or it's the end of the love quadrangle by any stretch of the imagination." The Riverdale ship war continues.
The voyeur has a "personal" reason for videotaping everyone. A lingering mystery from Season 4 is the mysterious voyeur sending disturbing videotapes to everyone in town. Aguirre-Sacasa says the identity of the voyeur will be revealed in Season 5, and the person will have a personal reason for making the tapes and forcing the teens to face all the trauma they've experienced over the past three years before they move on to college.
Riverdale returns next season on The CW.