Does Jughead die in Riverdale season 4? Is Cole Sprouse leaving?

16 May 2019, 12:44

Katie Louise-Smith

By Katie Louise-Smith

Is Cole Sprouse really leaving Riverdale? Did they just hint at Jughead's death? Here's that season 3 ending explained along with several theories about what happened to him...

As expected, Riverdale season 3 ended on a huge cliffhanger. But what we didn't expect was for that cliffhanger to hint at the death of one of our beloved core four. Yes, friends, the show threw us a season 4 curve ball that now has fans speculating whether or not Jughead is dead.

At the end of the episode, the core four reunite at Pop's, after a gruelling night attempting to escape Penelope Blossom's wicked Gargoyle quest. They're drinking milkshakes when the scene cuts to a flash forward taking place in spring break of senior year.

Riverdale season 4: news, spoilers, release date, cast, trailers and everything you need to know

Archie, Veronica and Betty are all standing around a fire in their underwear - covered in blood. Archie is holding Jughead's beanie in his hands. Jug is nowhere to be seen. And then, in a pact similar to the one the Midnight Club made back in 1992 after Principal Featherhead's death, Betty says: "We have to burn all our clothes, including Jughead's beanie. We'll wash off the blood in the swimming hole. After tonight, we never speak of this. Ever. Not to each other, not to our parents. No one. We finish our senior year, we graduate, and we go our separate ways. That is the only way that we won't get caught."

And with that, a new mystery was born that will likely be the focus of season 4. What happened to Jughead? Is Jughead dead? And um, is Cole Sprouse actually leaving Riverdale? Here's everything we know so far:

Is Cole Sprouse leaving Riverdale?

Is Cole Sprouse leaving Riverdale? Jughead's death is hinted at in season 3 finale
Is Cole Sprouse leaving Riverdale? Jughead's death is hinted at in season 3 finale. Picture: The CW

It's not the first time Jughead's life has been hanging in the balance, but it sounds like we'll have to wait a lot longer than one week to find out his fate this time. Speaking to Decider, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa says we'll likely find out what happens to him half-way through season 4.

"We have a couple of options. We certainly have started talking about the events leading up to that… which is going to happen halfway through the season," he said. "Then we have a couple of options on what happens on the other side of burning the beanie."

So far, it sounds like there's no definitive decision on what happens to Jughead. It's all still being figured out. But one thing we do know? Cole Sprouse will return to the show and will still be part of the first half of the season at least.

Cole spoke to PopBuzz back in March 2019 about where he would like to see Jughead's storyline go in season 4 (he hadn't filmed the finale episode at that point). He said was up for more of the True Detective type narrative with FP but whether or not that will play a part in the new mystery surrounding him remains to be seen.

Riverdale season 4: Does Jughead die?
Riverdale season 4: Does Jughead die? Picture: The CW

So, what could have possibly happened to Jughead?

There's a few potential threads that could have something to do with why Jughead was not with the other three around that fire. Of course, this is all speculation and fun theories between friends so don't take my word for it but, whatever. Let's dive in:

- Jughead could be off-screen disposing off the body they might have just killed. While the burning of the hat seems a little ominous, it could just be a sacrifice the group have to make to ensure no DNA or evidence can be traced back to them.

- Jughead and the squad could be working with Charles Smith and the FBI and as a result of a sting, might have had to go into hiding while the others deal with the fall out.

- Aguirre-Sacasa has also teased that the inspiration for season 4 will be I Know What You Did Last Summer, the classic '90s slasher movie. In case you haven't seen it, the film sees a group of four former friends reunite after their deadly secret (accidentally killing someone) is threatened to be exposed. Considering Jughead and Betty helped Alice cover up a murder that several people now know about... it could potentially have huge repercussions.

- Or yeah, he could be dead. But then again, they can't kill the person who narrates the show, right? RIGHT?

Like we said, the decision on Jug's fate hasn't even been decided by the writers yet (who only just started planning season 4) so expect to have fun theorising about it - and sweating over it - all summer. Bye.