Could Riverdale Have a Time Jump in Season 5?

Riverdale is currently in the middle of a weeks-long hiatus, and the recent coronavirus pandemic has made fans unsure of exactly when the series will return. Now that the big mystery surrounding the show's fourth season - the fate of Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) - has been solved, some are already beginning to speculate about what the series' future could hold. The show has already been renewed for a fifth season (and will realistically get several more beyond that), which raises the question of how it will handle the upcoming high school graduation of many of its characters, while still keeping them involved in the ensemble. According to one theory that has begun percolating online, there's a chance that the show could have its cake and eat it too -- by doing a significant time jump.

A recent "blind item" from TVLine hinted that a show on one of the major five networks (which The CW is technically part of) is considering instigating a five-year time jump.

"The producers of an established series are toying with the idea of ending the current season with a massive timeline shift," the blind item reads in part. "According to sources, the length of the time jump being considered is in the neighborhood of five years. If the trigger ultimately gets pulled on the flash-forward twist, it would have enormous implications for a number of the show's current storylines/characters ahead of next season."

While there are certainly a number of other shows on other networks that could fit this bill, there are a surprising amount of pieces already laid out to suggest that it could be Riverdale. The series has already established that Jughead, Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) could realistically be going to school out of state after they graduate, which would create a bit of a logistical nightmare for the show's tightly-wound plots. Jumping the series forward five years could gloss over their time spent at college, while also adding some finality to whatever Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and the rest of the other show's characters do with their lives in the meantime.

There's also the nature of Riverdale's recent casting shake-ups, as both FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich) and Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols) are expected to depart at the end of Season 4. A time jump would allow both characters to have a graceful and relatively-painless exit from the show, while also leaving the door open to return later.

Moving Riverdale forward five years would also create a whole mess of new potential plot points, because the ensemble of characters could easily be very different people from who they were in Season 4. Shows like Pretty Little Liars have shaken things up that way in the past, while also creating some unexpected new "ships" and relationships between their characters.

Plus, The CW already has another reason to institute a time jump for Riverdale -- Katy Keene, the spinoff series that debuted on the network earlier this year. The show follows its titular character (who briefly cameoed on Riverdale), Riverdale alum Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), and their friends through their adult lives in New York City... five years in the future. Given how much the network loves its crossover episodes and events, having Riverdale and Katy Keene set in the same year would make that much easier to pull off.

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