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Riverdale was one of many shows that ended earlier than expected in the 2019-2020 TV season due to production halts, but fans could at least rest easy knowing that The CW had already renewed the series for a fifth season. That said, Season 4 had to end without giving Archie and the rest of his senior friends a prom, a graduation, and a setup for what would happen when at least some of them presumably went their separate ways for college. Now, Riverdale has apparently found a way to potentially avoid splitting up Archie and the gang.
The CW series will include a time jump early in Season 5, and TVLine reports that the jump will span several years to bring the characters closer to the ages of the actors and skip through the inconvenient college years that might have separated them. Speaking with the outlet, Riverdale executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa went on the record on some of what is happening with the time jump:
We’ve been talking and planning on doing a time jump, and of course, usually time jumps happen in between seasons, because there’s a tease at the very end. [I]t felt like maybe what we’ll do is start with the last three episodes. 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.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had previously revealed that Season 5 would pick up where Season 4 left off despite Episode 19 having to serve as the Season 4 finale. Archie and the gang will still get their graduation, and the prom will actually be the Season 5 premiere. The episodes had been written, and they'll still be filmed, and the time jump will come after.
The good news is that Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols, who were slated to leave Riverdale at the end of Season 4, will return for those first three episodes of Season 5, and the time jump provides a solid explanation for why their characters might not really fit into Riverdale anymore. If a time jump really does take Archie and his pals from the end of high school all the way to after college, Jughead and Veronica reasonably wouldn't be spending as much time with their parents.
Of course, we can't rule out gruesome ends for Skeet Ulrich's F.P. Jones or Marisol Nichols' Hermione Lodge, but at least it's easy to imagine a safe reason why Riverdale won't need them full-time in Season 5, and Riverdale has arguably dealt enough tragic twists to the kids in recent seasons.
Riverdale is far from the only show on The CW that will have to figure out how to pick up in the 2020-2021 TV season after getting cut short in the previous season, but Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has given Riverdale fans some specific things to look forward to while The Flash fans mostly just have a cliffhanger to mull over for the time being.
That's not to say that the de facto Season 4 finale of Riverdale didn't leave viewers on a cliffhanger, but Riverdale routinely delivers bonkers endings even in episodes in the middle of the season rather than a premiere or a finale. Jumping ahead after three episodes shouldn't be too big of a deal.
For now, you can relive the first three seasons of Riverdale streaming on Netflix. There are also plenty of new TV shows and seasons that are on the way in the not-too-distant future, and you can find them on our 2020 summer premiere schedule.