Riverdale's third season had the most satisfying pay-off yet, but it left us with more questions than it even *tried* to answer. Is Jughead dead? Is Alice okay? And when will Archie stop fighting bears? We won't know the fate of our favorite high school students (and their insane parents) anytime soon.
That fateful flashforward won't even be addressed until the mid-season finale, but Riverdale superfans have some season 4 fan theories to tide you over in the meantime.
Jughead isn’t dead, let’s just get that out of the way. There’s no way that Riverdale would kill off its most popular character when The CW is about to lose two of its most important shows, Supernatural and Jane the Virgin, and will be relying on the teen hit to bring in audiences more than ever. So, since he’s not dead, where is he? Redditor purplechilipepper thinks that Jughead is going to violently murder Edgar after being convinced to by his girlfriend, not unlike Macbeth and his Lady in Shakespeare’s political tragedy.
This is our second and last “Jughead definitely killed someone” theory, we promise. There will be enough of those conspiracies floating around for the next few months to keep us all annoyed and intrigued until the fall. If Jug isn’t killing Edgar, our next best bet is his new brother from another mother (literally), Charles Smith. Betty is supposed to get along with her new brother pretty well. Maybe Jughead won’t feel quite as warm and fuzzy about the situation. What happens to turn Betty and Jughead against Charles is anyone’s guess, although we do have an idea or two of how the FBI agent could go rogue.
If Jug kills Charles, the Core Four would have to feel pretty betrayed by their new squeaky-clean FBI friend. Tea-killa thinks that Charles is secretly an undercover agent for the Farm after being brought back from the brink of death by Edgar Evernever. A man on the inside would explain how The Farm has gone this long harvesting organs without being caught, and Bughead would feel pretty blindsided by their own shared sibling (which, you know, ew) backstabbing them with the cult that has already taken so much from the town with Pep.
Cheryl Blossom is going to explore some dark places in season four. We don’t know anything for sure, but that seems like a safe bet considering the last time we saw her she was having a nice chat with her twin’s desecrated corpse. Archie fans will never stop trying to make a Riverdale/Chilling Adventures of Sabrina crossover happen, and one Reddit theory thinks Cheryl will be venturing to Greendale in search of the people she hears could bring her beloved JJ back to life for real. Whether Sabrina and friends would make that mistake is another question entirely.
Whether you believe in a “serial killer gene” or think it’s low-key nonsense, Riverdale really went there when they told Betty that a simple medical test confirmed she was secretly evil. There are many, many reasons to question this particular revelation, especially since no one does a gene test to treat a skinned knee. Polly could have given Edgar the exact information he needed to get inside Betty’s head, but Reddit user bluebonnettex and commenter quoth_tthe_raven think she’s been working with the handsome devil all along. Polly has been involved with The Farm since season one, and if she’s really the bad Cooper, she could be pulling the strings alongside Edgar instead of being just another follower.
Speaking of Polly trying to run away to The Farm with Jason, there’s a chance the OG Red Paladin was in cahoots with Riverdale’s resident cult as well. A dark bit of Farm trivia that was revealed this season explained a baptism ritual in which prospective members are held underwater for a prolonged period of time and are accepted into the fold if they survive the suffocation. Redditor maryssmith thinks Jason tried to do this to Cheryl at Sweetwater River because of Dilton Doiley’s presence and Cheryl’s totally shook appearance. If she’s been suppressing that memory since Jason disappeared, it could have been a part of the reason she was so susceptible to The Farm’s brainwashing.
If Penelope Blossom is the new mastermind behind Gryphons and Gargoyles, then who was the Gargoyle King back in the day? The level of theatrics then and now imply that it’s been Penelope all along, but there had to be someone else wearing the mask on the night Principal Featherhead was murdered (unless our favorite madame can be in two places at once). Sister Woodhouse proved she’s pretty adept with poison and moral corruption when she killed all of her friends for absolutely no good reason, so Reddit user TheExpertAnalyst might be onto something with their suggestion that it was Agatha who donned the creepy nightmare mask all those years ago.
A new Archie Horror series called Blossom 666 was released last year, and ever since, hardcore fans of the Archie franchise are convinced there’s a Blossom triplet lying in wait on Riverdale. Charles Smith becoming an FBI agent was ripped straight from the plot of a comic, so this longstanding theory is looking more and more plausible. We don’t think that one of the Blossoms will end up being the Anti-Christ, even though that’s the major conflict in the comics, because there’s enough of that going on over in Greendale. Still, with Penelope on the run and Cheryl descending into madness, there’s plenty of room for Julien Blossom to shake things up in the formerly fortuitous family.
No one wants this to happen. Literally, no one, not even Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The idea is floated every season, and every season the writers realize that the only reason we’re watching this tangled web of crazy is to see Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse fall in love a little more every week. The show is a sucker for IRL romances and so are we, but this might actually be working against us for season four. With the Charles Melton/Camila Mendes relationship going strong, things aren’t looking great for Varchie. If Jug really does go missing in action, it could mean the childhood BFFs will finally explore that love triangle the show has been threatening for years.
Speaking of hot dads, we haven’t been this invested in a parental love story since Lily van der Woodsen and Rufus Humphrey shook up the Upper East Side. Commenter GentleCritter noticed RAS said Alice’s newly reinstated “good guy” status means that Falice can be explored for real and that a lot of the action recently has been focused on bringing their characters closer together. The Black Hood got rid of Hal, the fake Chic made it so the real Charles could be revealed as FP’s love child, FP’s fancy new job changed him into an upstanding citizen, and Gladys’s complete mess of a life shows that FP wasn’t actually the deadbeat in their relationship. TBT to when FP was an alcoholic and this show had drama grounded in real-life situations. FP and Alice are now ready for each other, thanks to the only strategic planning that has been done since season one.
*We* know Jughead isn’t dead, but do Betty, Archie, and Veronica? Redditor stardust4711 thinks that the trio could have been drugged during their Spring Break adventures by a nefarious force and woken up next to a badly destroyed body that has been made to look like Jughead. The trio could believe they’re responsible for the death of their friend while Jughead has either been kidnapped or was separated from the group and trying to find his way back. This would go along with the prevalent kidnapping theories that are already circling and bring emotions to an all-time high.
This one’s a doozy. Let’s say that Betty does have the serial killer gene, passed down from Alice’s side of the family, and Dark Betty was a manifestation of her evil impulses. There are unexplained inconsistencies between Betty’s memories and other characters descriptions of events like that whole Chuck Clayton hot tub debacle and a Black Hood note written in Betty’s handwriting that she still can’t explain. Commenter stardust4711 noticed that Betty was the last character who saw Midge alive and wonders if Betty was the real Black Hood, with Hal taking the fall for his daughter to protect her from the crimes she doesn’t remember committing. Honestly, that would make more sense than anything else that happened last season.
We may not have met Edgar Evernever until the end of season three, but The Farm has existed in Riverdale since the very first episode of the series when Jason tries to run away with a pregnant Polly Cooper. One Redditor thinks we’ll finally learn about the origins of The Farm on season four as the shady organization shifts from the series’ Big Bad into a force for good that tries to prevent something terrible from happening in town.
We’re not talking about the Shawn Mendes/ Camila Cabello collaboration, y’all. Betty’s plan to dispose of murder evidence, go through their last semester of high school like normal, then never see her best friends again sounds exactly like the plot of an iconic ‘90s slasher film, I Know What You Did Last Summer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. before they became #couplegoals. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has said that this season’s theme will be horror films like IKWYDLS before, but considering his track record of lying in interviews and having no idea where the show is actually going, we’re gonna count it as a theory.
Redditor AustinMMitrione is definitely a ‘90s horror fan because they noticed how Riverdale’s fourth season could incorporate the classic films it’s supposedly based on into a full twenty-two episode plot line. If the first half of the season is the lead-up to the murder, the school-centric plot after the break could see our Core Four being blackmailed by someone who knows what they did last Spring Break. The story would build as the season goes on, and would supplant the kidnapping mystery that other commenters seem to think will be the season four endgame in a pre- and post-bonfire narration that channels How To Get Away With Murder: For Teens!.