While Riverdale may have more in common with teen dramas like Pretty Little Liars, the popular Netflix drama could soon draw comparisons with the likes of Game of Thrones – following suggestions that its main character could be killed off in the upcoming season five.
Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa recently teased that Riverdale favourite Archie himself could be in grave danger in the episodes to come.
The writer posted an illustration to his Twitter page which seemed to show Archie’s friends standing mournfully at his graveside (although we suspect there is more to this than meets the eye).
Riverdale was one of the first to halt production due to the pandemic, after a crew member came into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 in March.
This meant that the fourth season was abruptly cut down to 19 episodes, leaving fans with a cliffhanger ending to obsess over and uncertainty about when it would be resolved.
Fortunately, things look to be picking up, with the cast reunited and filming kicking off at the beginning of September this year with a (literally) steamy scene…
We also know that the next season will finally bring the long-awaited prom episode to screens, with a first-look image of the event ready to feast your eyes on below.
Read on to find it, in addition to everything else we know about Riverdale season five so far.
*Warning: spoilers ahead for Riverdale season four*
When is Riverdale season 5 released on Netflix?
Back in January, The CW confirmed a fifth season of the outlandish show, which is based on Archie Comics, was in the pipeline.
While it was originally scheduled to air this October, the impact of the pandemic is likely to delay its originally planned premiere date.
Pre-production began in August 2020, before creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed in September that shooting was beginning on the new season, posting an Instagram photo of himself and Riverdale cast members.
On 14th September he posted another image, this time of the “first scene… of season five” – featuring KJ Apa in character as series protagonist Archie, apparently standing in a steam room.
RadioTimes.com predicts the show is likely to return in January 2021, but there’s a chance it could be earlier if work can resume without a hitch.
We’ll keep this page updated with the latest news on the release of Riverdale season five.
It looks like Riverdale isn’t going anywhere either, as The CW president Mark Pedowitz named it as one of three shows that define the network’s current new direction.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, he said: “We transitioned from a female-skewing network in 2010, ’11 and ’12 to more male-focused with Supernatural, and now we’ve shifted back a bit with Riverdale, All American and In the Dark to something different.”
Who’s in the cast of Riverdale season 5?
While details of the next season’s cast have not yet been announced, what we do know is that Jughead’s dad, F.P. Jones (Skeet Ulrich), will not be making a return.
As he revealed to TV Line, Ulrich has decided to “move on to explore other creative opportunities”, bagging a role in the upcoming Tom Hanks film Bios.
During a recent Instagram Live , Ulrich revealed he had quit the show because he “got bored creatively”.
“How’s that? That’s the most honest answer,” he added frankly.
His co-star Marisol Nichols, who played Hermione Lodge, is also confirmed not to be returning as a series regular.
Back in February, Riverdale creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement: “Part of life in Riverdale — and part of growing up — is saying goodbye to people.
“I’m grateful to Skeet and Marisol for their incredible work on the show these last four years, and we all wish them well on their future endeavors. FP and Hermione will never be far from our hearts. And, of course, they’re always welcome back in Riverdale.”
On the other hand, Mädchen Amick will be returning and recently shared a snap from a Zoom table read for season five, expressing how excited she was to be back.
What will happen in Riverdale season 5
While most of the plot is under wraps, we do know a couple of things that will definitely happen.
For one, we know that we’ll finally be treated to the prom episode that was planned for season four, with showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa saying on Instagram, that it would be the first episode back.
“Rest assured, ALL the queens will reigning SUPREMELY next season,” he said.
Aguirre-Sacasa had previously told TV Line in May that the prom and graduation episodes are “big, emotional episodes”.
He added: “There’s a lot of stuff with the characters that we’re still playing out, so it felt like maybe what we’ll do is start with the last three episodes.
“After being with the kids at the high school for four years, you kind of don’t want to take graduation away from them. So what we’re doing is picking up right where we left off for the first three episodes.”
It also looks like there will be a huge time jump, with star Lili Reinhart confirming during an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
“We’re actually doing a seven-year time jump into the future so we’re not going to be teenagers anymore,” she explained.
“I’m really psyched about it. I think it will be really nice to play an adult. But I also really appreciate that Roberto [Aguirre-Sacasa], our showrunner, said let’s revamp. So we’re not just stuck in high school for seven seasons.”
Why was Riverdale season 4 cut short?
Riverdale season four ended on 19 episodes – instead of the expected 22 – because the coronavirus halted production on the show, cutting the season short.
This meant that a key prom episode, originally due to air as episode 20 in season four, will now kick things off for season five, as the high schoolers don their glad-rags and buckle up for some serious drama.
“When it became clear that we weren’t gonna be able to finish the season, the first thing I kind of did was look at episode 20 to see if we could cobble together an episode from that,” showrunner Robert Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly.
“Though we actually shot the prom, where a lot of dramatic stuff happened, there were so many emotional scenes with Archie and Veronica and Jughead and Betty that it felt like we just couldn’t quite do it.”
Aguirre-Sacasa’s comments hint at a possible reckoning for the ‘love square’ between the central four characters, Betty, Veronica, Archie and Jughead, after Archie and Betty shared a kiss – cheating on their respective partners – during season four, episode 17.
“We haven’t heard or seen the last of the song that Archie wrote for Betty [during season four, episode 18], and right at this moment where they should be celebrating everything, a lot happens,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “It’s pretty dramatic what happens at prom with Varchie.”
Could this be the end of Archie and Veronica as a couple? Will Jughead also break things off with longtime girlfriend, Betty – or will Archie’s song reignite her old feelings for him, making her the one to betray Jughead?
And what will this all mean long-term for the Riverdale teen residents as they graduate high school and head off to college?
Riverdale writer Ted Sullivan also revealed in a tweet that season four was due to include a “heavy” episode focussing on Toni (Vanessa Morgan), which some fans are guessing will focus on her past sexual assault.
This episode will now also be postponed to form part of season five.
Riverdale season 5 trailer
With production only just getting underway, we’re still a while away from a trailer just yet – but showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did post a sneak preview photo to Instagram of the prom episode, showing Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Toni (Vanessa Morgan) together. Check it out below:
And while announcing that production was back underway on Twitter, Aguiree Sacasa also shared a teaser poster which shows a mystery woman running away from a truck, seemingly terrified, at Riverdale’s city limits.
Riverdale seasons one to four are available on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.