Riverdale season 5 release date – Cast, plot and when it arrives on Netflix

Looking ahead to the future of the wild Archie Comics-inspired series.

Riverdale

Archie and his friends have returned to our screens for a fifth season, and the much anticipated Riverdale time jump has now finally happened.

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The new series had picked up directly where season four left off to make up for the three episodes that had been cancelled due to the pandemic, but has now jumped seven years into the future as had previously been teased by several cast members and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

The time jump isn’t the only change for the new series – there have also been new cast members, with Chris Mason joining  the show alongside previously announced character Tabitha Tate (Erinn Westbrook).

We also know that, at some point, Toni Topaz will be expecting a bundle of joy after actress Vanessa Morgan revealed her real-life pregnancy has been incorporated into season five.

“Feeling grateful to my showrunner and producers for being so accommodating and writing my pregnancy into the show!” Morgan wrote on Instagram ahead of season five’s release.

Here’s everything you need to know about Riverdale season five.

*Warning: spoilers ahead for Riverdale season four*

What time is Riverdale season 5 released on Netflix?

Riverdale returned to US screens on 20th January 2021 on The CW, with new episodes being available from 8am on 21st January on Netflix UK.

Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed the news on Twitter, sharing a photo that revealed the date along with the caption, “Back to the Future….buckle up gang!.”

The CW had confirmed a fifth season of the outlandish show, which is based on Archie Comics, was in the pipeline back in January, with the intention originally for it to air this October before the pandemic got in the way of that.

Pre-production began in August 2020, before creator and 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.

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.”

Riverdale season 5 release schedule

Since it airs on The CW in the US, the full season of Riverdale is not released all at once on Netflix UK, with episodes arriving weekly instead.

Check out the release schedule below to know when you can expect to see each upcoming episode.

  • Thursday, February 11th: Episode 4 – Purgatorio
  • Thursday, February 18th: Episode 5 – The Homecoming
  • Thursday, February 25th: Episode 6 – Back to School

Is Riverdale finished?

No, and far from it – as well as being in the middle of its ongoing fifth season, the show has already been confirmed for a sixth run, so there’s still plenty more to come.

The show will go on a mid-season break at some point during its fifth run, but we’re not at that point yet with new episodes still arriving on a weekly basis for now.

Riverdale season 5 trailer

The CW released the first full trailer for season five in December 2020, teasing a whole load of drama to come – from masked sadists masquerading as Archie and his friends, to Veronica sobbing over what looks like a potential romance between Betty and Archie.

And while announcing that production was back underway on Twitter, showrunner Aguiree-Sacasa also shared a teaser poster which shows a mystery woman running away from a truck, seemingly terrified, at Riverdale’s city limits.

Who’s in the cast of Riverdale season 5?

Riverdale Ep.302b -- T13.2020252 -- Photo Credit: Dean Buscher / © 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Netflix

KJ Apa, Camilla Mendes, Cole Sprouse Lili Reinhart, Casey Cott and Madelaine Petsch all return in main roles for the new series.

One cast member who hasn’t returned is Jughead’s dad, FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich).

As he revealed to TV Line, Ulrich 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.

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.”(sic)

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.

Meanwhile, Aguirre-Sacasa announced back in September that Drew Ray Tanner (Fangs Fogarty) would be joining season five as a series regular, with the showrunner announcing that he’ll be living with “on-again, off-again boyfriend Kevin Keller [Casey Cott] and Serpent Queen Toni Topaz [Vanessa Morgan]”, before adding that we’ll be seeing more of Tanner’s singing.

And a new cast member for the series is Broadchurch star Chris Mason, who will play will play Chad Gekko, Veronica’s controlling and jealous husband who works on Wall Street, in a recurring role.

Riverdale season 5 spoilers

In the trailer and a few first-look photos, we see the Riverdale gang head to prom – the “last dance they have with their friends,” we see a bloody-faced Archie tell Veronica.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Riverdale if there wasn’t any drama at a school event. Not only do we see a few fights break out but the trailer also hints at Veronica’s discovery of Betty and Archie’s kiss last season, with a devastated Veronica seen crying: “Something happened between Betty and Archie.”

According to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the prom episode will be the first one back, with the producer telling 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.”

Again, in Riverdale fashion, it looks as though season five will introduce another round of masked criminals, with the group receiving videos of people murdering and injuring their others whilst wearing cartoonish masks of Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead’s faces.

While fans of #Choni (Cheryl and Toni) will be in for a surprise this series after Vanessa Morgan, who plays Toni Topaz, revealed that her real-life pregnancy was written into the show.

Announcing the beginning of her maternity leave on Instagram, the actress wrote: “Feeling grateful to my showrunner and producers for being so accommodating and writing my pregnancy into the show! Also proud of my body for allowing me to still work almost 9 months preggo.”

While the circumstances of Toni’s pregnancy are currently unclear – especially since part of the upcoming series jumps seven years into the future and so could see Toni and Cheryl begin a family together – what’s guaranteed is that we’re bound to see some drama between the couple.

Meanwhile, a poster for the upcoming season hints at the potential resurrection of a dead character. Sharing the promo pic on Twitter, Aguirre-Sacasa wrote, “Nothing stays buried forever”, along with several emojis including a broken heart, a skull and crossbones and an engagement ring. While it’s impossible to tell which character could be brought back from the dead at this stage, all bets are on Cheryl’s late brother Jason – the show’s very first murder victim.

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.”

And KJ Apa recently gave away more details about the time-jump shortly before the new series debuted, telling TVLine, “Archie enlisted in the Army after graduation, and when he returns, after all that time in the Army, he discovers the town is on the verge of becoming a ghost town, thanks to Hiram.”

He continued: “He came back and saw Riverdale turning to s**t pretty much, and he’s like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to let this happen.’ So he wrangles the whole team in, and they figure out ways to revive the town, and the best way to do that is through Riverdale High.”

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.

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Riverdale is streaming now 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.