‘Riverdale’: Here’s Why the Series Will Jump Ahead 5 Years in Season 5

Season 5 of Riverdale will jump ahead five years, giving fans a glimpse at the lives of Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) after college. Here’s why Riverdale‘s showrunners decided to take the five-year leap.

Riverdale – Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, and Cole Sprouse | Dean Buscher/The CW

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‘Riverdale’ Season 4 was cut off 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced Riverdale to conclude season 4 earlier than showrunners originally had planned. In March, Variety reported that production had been suspended after someone involved with the show had come in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. To prevent the spread and keep everyone involved safe, filming of future episodes was canceled — including the episodes intended to conclude season 4. Because of the pandemic, these episodes are now being worked into season 5. 

A jump in time means less need for the adult stars 

Since Marisol Nichols and Skeet Ulrich announced their departure from Riverdale, fans have been wondering how the writers would work their leaving into the story.

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For Ulrich, the time jump was one of the reasons he wanted to pursue other projects. “Creatively, I’m just ready to do other things,” Ulrich told The Today Show Australia. “I know they want to take the show in a little bit [of a] different direction next season, too, and jump five years ahead. It just seemed like the right time to move on.” 

As one fan pointed out on Twitter, the time jump makes sense in terms of the parent’s narratives. “The parents are leaving because of the time jump, the kids are gonna be adults now, so there’s no need to focus on the parents anymore.”

Jumping ahead 5 years allows for a better story

Since the students of Riverdale High were seniors at the end of season 4, the following year would put everyone in college. By incorporating a time-lapse into the writing, showrunners will have the freedom to tell a more engaging narrative. Jumping ahead five years will let the writers introduce a new mystery that reunites the teens of Riverdale instead of following each student around during their years at college — something that could get very confusing.

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“A time jump is the best way to do it,” one fan shared on Twitter. “They can’t follow [Betty, Archie, Veronica, and Jughead] to a bunch of different schools. There will be a mystery/problem that brings them all back to Riverdale after college, and the show will continue from there.”

Plus, the time jump would align Riverdale with the storyline in Katy Keene, a series in the related universe for five years in the future. 

What to expect in ‘Riverdale’ Season 5 

Executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained to TV Line how the last three episodes of season 4 will now kick off season 5 of Riverdale. “Usually, time jumps happen in between seasons because there’s a tease at the very end,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “Maybe what we’ll do is start with the last three episodes,” which include episodes about senior prom and Riverdale High School’s graduation. “So 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.”

It will likely be some before fans get season 5 of Riverdale. Mädchen Amick — who plays Alice Cooper — told Popsugar “everything’s up in the air” with the schedule for season 5. Of course, the cast and crew are waiting for it to be safe to start filming.