The fourth season of Riverdale may be over, but its central mystery is not. Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are still stuck in high school for a little bit longer due to production delays cutting Season 4 short, and with a creepy videotape villain still at large, this means fans are trying harder than ever to put the pieces together and figure out what next season has in store. These Riverdale Season 5 theories will help tide fans over until the teens finally get to graduate when new episodes are made.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from Riverdale's Season 4 finale, "Killing Mr. Honey." There are two big questions looming over the Riverdale fandom after Season 4: Who is behind all the creepy videotapes? And how is the show going to change once everyone graduates high school? The season finale provided more clues about the mysterious villain, but fans are still split over who could possibly be behind — and in front of — the camera. As for dealing with the Core Four possibly splitting up for college, there is already a very popular fan theory about how the show may tackle that problem.
Check out some of the most prominent theories in the fandom ahead of the fifth season:
1. Season 5 will have a massive time jump, skipping over college.
Probably the most popular theory about the upcoming season is that Riverdale will employ a four- or five-year time jump to work around the college problem. Although it's extreme, a time jump does seem like the best way to keep telling the story of the Core Four, since they have all made plans to attend different colleges. At the end of Season 4, Betty had plans to go to Yale, Veronica to Barnard College, Archie to enlist in the Naval Academy, and Jughead's future was still up in the air, although he did just submit an essay application to the University of Iowa, along with a glowing recommendation letter from Mr. Honey. Since it's hard to imagine a show without the group together, a time jump would let them all pursue their individual studies and then reunite for some post-collegiate hijinks.
There are a lot of other reasons a time jump would make sense, too. The actors are much closer in age to recent college grads than they are to high schoolers. Plus, a jump would make Riverdale contemporaneous with its spinoff Katy Keene, which is currently set five years after the current events on the show. There's also a precedent, because The CW's other hit teen show One Tree Hill employed a similar time jump to skip over its characters' college years in Season 5.
Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa actually confirmed to E! that a time jump was part of his plans, but teased the idea might change now, since Riverdale will have to pick up Season 5 with the final episodes of Season 4. "Time jumps are especially good in between seasons. But now that we're not kind of doing that, we're looking at all of our options," he said.
2. Charles is behind the videotapes.
The main mystery of Season 4 revolved around a string of increasingly creepy videotapes that kept popping up around town, culminating in gruesome recreations of the horrors Betty, Jughead, Archie, and Veronica had lived through. Although Betty and Jughead's FBI agent half-brother Charles had been helping them investigate these tapes, they are still no closer to solving the mystery... and that could be because Charles is the true villain.
Viewers were suspicious of Charles ever since he first showed up in the Season 3 finale. The show has already burned fans with a fake Charles Smith reveal with Season 2's Chic storyline, and Charles' shadiness was pretty much confirmed a few episodes into the recent season when it was revealed he still has a secret, close relationship with Chic. It's not really clear why Charles would want to terrorize Betty and her friends — maybe he wants revenge for being abandoned by Alice? — but it definitely seems like he's hiding something dark.
3. Jellybean is behind the videotapes.
While Charles is definitely the prime suspect, there's another name that keeps coming up in the fandom that's pretty surprising. A lot of Riverdale fans are guessing Jughead's little sister Jellybean may actually be involved with the tapes. Jellybean has suspiciously appeared whenever a new tape was found, and then was immediately told to go away by another character. Fans have also pointed out that she may be harboring a lot of resentment against Betty and Jughead after being separated from her mom, and she was privy to a lot of the group's secrets. Some fans even think Jellybean and Charles are working together to take down their estranged siblings.
4. Mr. Honey is behind the videotapes.
Another major suspect is Mr. Honey, the former Riverdale High principal who was the focus of Season 4's makeshift finale. Prior to the finale, the show revealed Mr. Honey frequented the illicit video store that carried sex tapes and snuff films, and then Betty and Jughead caught Mr. Honey making a film of his own in RIverdale High in an attempt to get their prom cancelled. Even shadier, as he was leaving Riverdale High, Mr. Honey revealed he took a new job as the headmaster of Stonewall Prep. Could he have some connection to the Stonies and their plot to destroy Jughead and Betty?
The big hitch in this theory is that the Season 4 finale seemingly ended with Mr. Honey's death, as the latest videotape showed six killers dressed as Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Cheryl, and Reggie repeatedly stabbing someone dressed as the principal. But if Mr. Honey really is the mastermind, then he could have easily faked his own death in that tape to further his plans.
5. A large group of people is working together on the videotapes.
One of the biggest bombshells of the Season 4 finale was that it may not be just one person making the creepy videotapes, but a whole group of people with an axe to grind against the Core Four. The latest videotape showed six costumed killers, which seems to mean at least six people are working together to terrorize Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead.
The four high schoolers have no shortage of enemies, and fans are already trying to guess which antagonists may have teamed up to concoct this videotape scheme. The primary suspects are still Charles, Chic, Jellybean, and Mr. Honey, but some other names being thrown around include Penelope Blossom, Evelyn Evernever, Bret Weston Wallis, Donna Sweett, and Penny Peabody.
TBH, there are so many villains on Riverdale, it's anyone's guess who could be under those masks. The fifth season will reveal the truth, though, and it is set to premiere this fall on The CW, barring any further production delays.
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