Riverdale Showrunner Confirms The Twisted Season 6 Premiere Death, And What Comes Next

KJ Apa carrying a box of comics in Riverdale
(Image credit: The CW)

Spoilers ahead for the Season 6 premiere of Riverdale, “Chapter Ninety-Six: Welcome to Rivervale.” Read at your own risk!

The Season 6 premiere of Riverdale finally arrived on The CW this week, and it took the show in a direction that it's never gone in before. The season kicked off with the first part of a five-episode event titled “Rivervale,” in which nothing is truly as it seems. While there were plenty of intriguing developments throughout, the episode ended with a shocking death. Now, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has previewed what loyal viewers can expect moving forward.

Let’s back up a bit, though. The fifth season's finale ended with Archie (KJ Apa) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) discovering a bomb underneath the former's bed. The explosive device was planted by the town’s notorious kingpin, Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), as a vengeful move before departing the titular town. When Season 6 opens, the town is fine-ish but, of course, there's also the aforementioned name change.

Towards the end of the already-wacky episode, Cheryl’s growing new cult (which is still a bit confusing) called for a sacrifice. Once she’d gotten the whole town turned, Archie became the prime candidate, and she had him knocked out. Viewers watched as Cheryl cut out Archie’s heart, but is he really dead? When Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa talked all things “Rivervale," including that twisted murder, with EW, the producer said:

I can say that Archie is dead. In [season 6, episode 2], the town isn't exactly mourning him, because they killed him, but the town does know that they sacrificed Archie. There's a scene in fact where Cheryl and Nana are toasting Archie's sacrifice because now their maple trees are producing maple syrup again. And Betty is pregnant with Archie's love child. And we won't see K.J. [next episode]. All of those things are true.

While this isn’t the first “death” among the Core Four (Jughead faked his own demise in Season 4), this one does feel slightly permanent. The show has definitely shocked viewers with dark moments in the past, but this one really takes the cake. There are, however, still four episodes left in the event, and there's still the rest of Season 6, which will air next year. So there's clearly plenty of time for Archie to return.

At the very least, it looks like Archie Andrews himself KJ Apa won't be showing up in next week's episode. His absence should be incredibly interesting when you consider how it may affect Betty, given that she's carrying the late young man's child. Honestly, it’s possible that Archie is just dead for this event and will be alive when we’re back in Riverdale midseason. Nevertheless, with the bomb Season 5 dropped on viewers (no pun intended), it’s hard to tell how things will even be when we return to the original town.

There are still plenty of twists and turns to come from Riverdale's “Rivervale” event, and you won't want to miss them! Let's just hope the story developments make sense. Catch new episodes on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.