After news broke of two Riverdale stars leaving the show, the fandom has rallied behind a radical theory about next season that seems pretty convincing. With most of the show's parents set to be absent in Season 5, fans are starting to get suspicious that the new season may be set after a big skip in time. So, will Riverdale Season 5 have a time jump, and if so, what could the bold new season look like? Here's what you need to know about the theory that has been popping up all over the Riverdale fandom.
Questions about Season 5 have been rampant for quite some time, since it will fundamentally require Riverdale to rework come core elements. As high school seniors in Season 4, the gang has already been trying to decide on colleges, and fans have been curious about how a new season could possibly keep Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead together if they all go off to different schools or vocations. As of the halfway point in Season 4, [mild spoilers] Veronica is set on attending Barnard College in New York City, Archie seems like he'll be sticking around Riverdale, a flash-forward has indicated Betty got into Yale, and although Jughead also got into Yale, he may not live to actually enroll. This college conundrum has already caused some fans to wonder if the show might skip over the college years, and some recent casting news has added much more weight to this theory.
Both Skeet Ulrich and Marisol Nichols are leaving Riverdale after Season 4, they announced on Sunday, Feb. 23. The actors play Jughead's dad F.P. Jones and Veronica's mom Hermione Lodge on the show.
The shocking departure comes nearly a year after Luke Perry died of a stroke, and the show paid tribute to Perry's character of Fred Andrews with a special tribute episode as the Season 4 premiere. With Fred, F.P., and Hermione all absent from the upcoming fifth season, the only main parents remaining are Mädchen Amick as Betty's mom Alice Cooper and Mark Consuelos as Veronica's father Hiram Lodge... but even their fates may be in question as it appears Riverdale is losing all its parents.
The departure of Riverdale's adult cast has sparked a theory among the fandom that Season 5 may be set after a sizable time jump, skipping over the college years and focusing on what Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are up to shortly after getting their degrees. Of course, upon graduating college, the group's parents would no longer really be as present in their lives as when they were high schoolers. The popular guess is that it will be a five-year time jump, since that would align the timelines in Riverdale with its new spinoff Katy Keene, which is set about five years ahead of Riverdale's current storyline.
The helpful thing about this time jump idea is that it would completely set aside the college conundrum, allowing all the characters to go off to different colleges and then reunite back in Riverdale after graduating, as adults this time. There is also a precedent for this structure. The 2000s-era CW teen drama One Tree Hill employed a five-year time jump between Seasons 4 and 5, skipping from high school graduation to the characters' lives after college.
Honestly, the theory does sound pretty convincing when paired with the news about F.P. and Hermione and considering how the show has been approaching college decisions, so maybe it will turn out to be true. But for right now, fans still have the second half of Season 4 to look forward to, which is airing new episodes Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Although a Season 5 premiere date has yet to be announced, the next season is expected to premiere sometime in October.