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Riverdale Season 5 - What We Know So Far

The fourth season of the CW's modern take on the Archie comic books, Riverdale, came to a truncated end. Due to the industry-wide shutdown of film and TV productions, the season was only able to air 19 of its intended 22 episodes, which left quite a few plot threads up in the air. Who has been shooting the disturbing videotapes that Jughead (Cole Sprouse) keeps finding around Riverdale? Will there be fallout from Archie (KJ Apa) and Betty's (Lili Reinhart) tryst? What kind of drama is going to happen at the school's prom and graduation? You know neither event is going to go off without a hitch.

Sadly, fans of the spooky teen drama will have to wait until season 5 for any answers to these questions. The silver lining is that a fifth season has already been confirmed, and we already have quite a bit of information about what to expect. While we wait to see exactly how the Archie gang's high school years wrap up, let's run through everything we know about the release date, cast, and plot of Riverdale season 5.

What's the premiere date for Riverdale season 5?

Longtime fans of Riverdale know that the show has had a steady release schedule for most of its run. Just like Halloween and pumpkin spice latte discourse, a new season of Riverdale has come around in October every year since the second season premiere in 2017. Sadly, due to production delays, season 5 won't be keeping the same schedule, and we won't be seeing another season of the show in 2020.

However, it's not all bad news. According to TV Guide, the CW already has an alternate premiere window planned for the next season: January 2021. This delay is likely to give the production plenty of time to recover from the stoppage. While that date is obviously a hopeful estimate at this point, it does signal to fans that the network is serious about getting Riverdale back on the air.

Another important detail regarding the release date is that the final three episodes of season 4 will be completed and air as part of season 5. It's certainly a relief to know we will indeed get the conclusion to the show's bonkers fourth season stories, even if it's not until January 2021.

There are a few changes in store for the cast of Riverdale season 5

One of the biggest assets of Riverdale is the talented ensemble the show has assembled to bring its iconic characters to life. There haven't been any announcements regarding the core crew, so it's safe to say that we can bank on KJ Apa, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, and Cole Sprouse returning to reprise their roles for the fifth season of the show.

However, ahead of season 5, we have learned that two cast members won't be returning as series regulars. According to a report from Variety, Skeet Ulrich, who plays Jughead's gang leader father, and Marisol Nichols, who plays Veronica's troubled mom, are saying their goodbyes to Riverdale.

That news came in February, before production on the final episodes of season 4 were halted. In a more recent interview, series creator and showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa clarified how the actors' exits would be handled in light of the recent developments. He confirmed to TV Guide that both actors will be appearing in the three episodes that will tie up season 4 and the characters' high school years. He also specified that neither character dies, and that even though they won't be series regulars going forward, we may end up seeing them again on the show: "Even as we talk about stories for Season 5, if [Nichols] and [Ulrich] fit into those stories... we'll be able to use them, depending on what other commitments they have."

Why those particular characters won't be featured as regulars on the show going forward likely has to do with the plan for the show's narrative heading into the fifth season.

Where is the plot of Riverdale heading in season 5?

Season 4 of Riverdale was building up to two big events in the lives of its teen protagonists: senior prom and graduation. The end of the high school era is fast approaching, but if you thought we'd be following our protagonists to college, think again. The show has something very different planned.

According to TVLine, season 5 of Riverdale will feature a significant time jump. No specific details have been given by the show's creative team, but TVLine speculates that the jump will leapfrog the characters past college and into their early 20s.

The site also spoke with Mädchen Amick, who plays Betty's mom Alice Cooper, about the show's future. The actress offered an unconfirmed educated guess on where season 5 might pick up: "I can only imagine there's something that's going to bring them back to town. If they're all off going to these different colleges, I think that they had a time jump planned, that something brings them back."

However far into the future we jump, it looks like season 5 of Riverdale is going to give fans something new when the show returns in 2021.