Riverdale is officially back and wrapping up high school before jumping into the future. After the series ended its fourth season prematurely in March, Season 5 was left to finish up some high school milestones and solve the auteur mystery before a making major time jump.
In the episode that became the Season 4 finale, the gang was sent a creepy video of "themselves" killing Principal Honey (Kerr Smith). That disturbing ending was not the originally intended finale for Season 4, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production was forced to shut down early. The season wrapped three episodes early with Episode 19, depriving us of the anticipated prom and graduation episodes.
Early Season 5, picking up near the end of senior year, has revealed that prom came with a lot of heartbreak for Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) when he finally confessed that he and Betty (Lili Reinhart) had kissed. It turns out that Jellybean (Trinity Rose Likins) was the one sending the auteur videotapes as a way to keep Jughead (Cole Sprouse) in town, while Charles (Wyatt Nash) was the one committing the gruesome murders we assumed were the auteur's doing.
Of course, this is just the beginning. Here's everything else we know about Riverdale Season 5.
It's airing now: Riverdale Season 5 officially premiered on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 at 8/7c, leading into a season of Nancy Drew.
Riverdale has already been renewed for Season 6: The CW announced on Wednesday, Feb. 3 that Riverdale and 11 other CW shows are renewed for the 2021-22 TV season, so we aren't saying goodbye to this misfit crew just yet.
Jughead still needs to find out about the Barchie kiss. Season 4 had Bughead and Varchie shippers' heads spinning when Betty and Archie started getting closer. They pretended to date to save Jughead from the Stonewall preppies, but then they actually cheated on their significant others during the musical episode. We already saw how Veronica found out, but we still need to see what Jughead's reaction to the transgression will be.
"I don't know if this is a spoiler, but I can tell you that [Veronica and Jughead] definitely will find out in very different ways," Aguirre-Sacasa previously teased. "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 big time jump is happening. Mädchen Amick previously 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.
Though Aguirre-Sacasa admitted to TV Guide that time jumps are usually "the best when they happen in between seasons," the writers did eventually move forward with a time jump. Aguirre-Sacasa told TVLine, "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."
Veronica has a new man in the future: Veronica (Camila Mendes) will have a new man after the time jump. According to Deadline, Chris Mason (Broadchurch) has been tapped to play Veronica's husband beginning in Episode 4, when the show will time jump seven years ahead. His character is named Chad Gekko, a "controlling and jealous" Wall Street banker -- related to Gordon, perhaps? -- who is not a fan of Veronica's friendship with Archie and her life in Riverdale.
More Fangs, please! We will also be seeing a lot more of Fangs in Season 5. Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed via Instagram that Drew Ray Tanner had been promoted to series regular for the upcoming season, writing: "Thrilled with this news!! @drewraytanner is a series regular on #Riverdale starting this season!!! Fangs Fogarty has come a LOOOOONG way from the comic books!!!"
Pop's granddaughter is coming to town: The Resident alum Erin Westbrook will be joining Season 5 as Tabitha Tate, Pop Tate's granddaughter, who has big plans to franchise the iconic Chock'lit shop even as Riverdale struggles to survive around the establishment, per Deadline.
Production on Season 5 has faced some delays. After a long hiatus, Riverdale went back into production in Vancouver in the fall of 2020. Mädchen Amick posted her annual first episode of the season table read selfie. While everyone was socially distanced and remote for the read-through, show creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed with a very steamy photo that filming began on Sept. 14.
However, Riverdale, along with several other Vancouver-based productions, was forced to pause production less than a month in when British Columbia reported a backlog in COVID-19 tests. Production resumed again in October, keeping the show on track for its January premiere.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.