Riverdale Showrunner Breaks Down Surprising Finale Twist

Fans of The CW's Riverdale didn't really know what to expect heading into the Season 6 finale. The penultimate season episode in a sense felt more like the season finale with Archie and company defeating their season-long antagonist, Percival Pickens and leaving just one major threat for the finale: Bailey's comet, set on a collision course with Riverdale thanks to one final spell by Percival. But while the stage was set for a truly apocalyptic season finale, there was a massive twist in the final moments of the episode that not only sets up the series for an insane final season, but changes everything we know about Riverdale and now, series showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is breaking down the game-changing twist.

Warning: spoilers for the Season 6 finale of Riverdale below.

In the end, Cheryl was able to stop Bailey's comet from destroying Riverdale thanks to being super-powered with a combination of all of her friends' various powers. However, while that worked to stop the comet it also had an unforeseen side effect, sending Riverdale into a different timeline. That's right, Riverdale's heroes are back in high school — and back in 1955. Consider it a reverse time jump, if you will.

"It came from a couple of places. At various points in the season, we had talked about what our last season could be, and various people had been very nostalgic about when the kids were in high school," Aguirre-Sacasa told EW. "KJ Apa said to me at some point, 'Man, remember when we were in high school, and I was on the football team?' And Mark Pedowitz at the CW had a conversation with Jon Goldwater and said something like, "Oh remember when the kids were in high school?" We talked about it in the room, and we were sort of like, gosh, could we go back and put everyone back in high school? But we've done that. They were in high school for four-plus years. It would feel like a repeat. So, we were in a conundrum."

He continued, "It felt like all we're going to do for season 7 is sort of a lesser version of the high school years. But in thinking about nostalgia and then coming off of our big supernatural, mythic, Steven King-like season, we knew we needed to make our last season really, really special. One thing everyone can agree on is that whenever we have our characters in their iconic comic book outfits from the 1950s, people are delighted. Cole [Sprouse] was so happy when he didn't have to wear the beanie again, but he said to me, 'But, man, I'll wear that crown till the day I die.' So, we thought: What if we go back to high school, but instead of high school in the present, we make it high school in the 1950s which is how a lot of people think of the Archie characters."

Of course, this time jump also creates a different take on the characters in a sense as well, including the relationships — which may be a bit frustrating for some fans considering that the season finale saw Archie and Betty get engaged. Aguirre-Sacasa said that they haven't quite gotten started on things just yet, but now they have a blank slate to work with.

"The writers' room hasn't started yet, but one of the things we've talked about is that our characters, none of them are in relationships yet. So, we can tell those first-time stories — the first kiss, the first crush, the first heartbreak," he said. "So, when we meet them, none of them are in the deep tortured relationships that we know and love with them. It's a little bit more of a blank slate. What that implies is where it goes, nobody knows yet."

Riverdale will return for its seventh and final season in 2023.