Warning: Spoilers ahead for the series finale of Riverdale.
Riverdale has garnered an endless amount of wild fan theories over the years — but the series finale may have just confirmed a major one about Jughead Jones.
Since Riverdale premiered on The CW in 2017, viewers have speculated that the entire show has been a story written by Jughead (Cole Sprouse) the entire time. Instead of events that are happening in real-time, the show’s plots are actually figments of his imagination that he is crafting into a book he’s been working on.
The series finale, which aired on Wednesday, August 23, seemingly confirmed this theory — or at least keeps the possibility open to interpretation. In the episode’s final moments, Jughead, who has been the narrator since the show began, breaks the fourth wall and addresses the camera directly while saying goodbye to Riverdale’s beloved characters.
“We’ll leave them here, I think. Where they’re forever juniors. Forever 17. Always grabbing a burger or a shake. Always going to or coming from some dance, talking about school or the big game, who is dating who, homework, whatever movie is playing at the Babyloniam,” Jughead says while standing outside Pop’s. This version of the character dons contemporary clothing as he talks to the screen, while his 1950s counterpart remains in a booth inside drinking shakes with Betty (Lili Reinhart), Archie (KJ Apa), Veronica (Camila Mendes) and the rest of the gang.
“You know, the moments that make up a life. Where they’ve — where we’ve — always been, in this diner, in this town, in the sweet hereafter,” he continues. “So if you happen to see that neon sign some lonely night at the end of the long journey, the journey that every one of us is on, pull on over. Take a seat. And know that you’ll always be among friends. And that Riverdale will always be your home. Until then, have a good night.”
As he walks away into the night, a faint sound of Jughead furiously typing away on a typewriter somewhere can be heard in the background, leaving fans to believe that this is the character writing his novel’s ending.
Beyond Jughead being a writer in all three of Riverdale’s timelines — the 2020s, the 1950s and Rivervale — the character has also narrated the story since the show’s pilot. The decision to allow Sprouse, not Apa, to guide viewers along is an interesting approach considering the show is based on Archie Comics.
The series even begins with one of Jughead’s famous monologues. “This story is about a town, a small town and the people who live in this town,” he explains. Every installment after is titled as a “chapter,” not an episode.
Later in season 1, Jughead canonically begins writing a book after the death of Cheryl Blossom’s (Madelaine Petsch) twin brother, Jason Blossom, which he claims is the “most exciting, if not tragic, thing to happen to Riverdale in years.” An ironic statement to be made considering the outlandish plot lines that unfold in the seasons to come. (Organ-stealing cults, Rat Kings, tickle videos and Mothmen, to name a few.)
There are other moments that have hinted at Jughead’s twist ending. In season 4 episode 2, Jughead can be seen sitting at Pop’s writing on his computer talking about eating dinner with Archie, Betty and Veronica every night over the summer. He then turns around and actually watches the four of them sitting together in real-time.
“HE NARRATES THE BEGINNING & END OF EACH EPISODE (WHICH HES ALWAYS DONE) BUT IT JUST GIVES ME VERY PULLING THE STRINGS” VIBES IDK? LIKE HE KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON,” one person wrote via social media.
When Riverdale became Rivervale in season 6, Jughead was once again at the center of the drama and even tasked with saving the town from the end of the world. “Rivervale is just Jughead’s new book,” one fan wrote via Reddit in 2021. “Narrating from the start, Jughead set the intro and tone of what events that would unfold. Taking real life inspirations from the people he knew in Riverdale.”
When the group eventually traveled back to the 1950s to save themselves, Jughead was the only character to remember the events that got them there — and girlfriend Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) just happened to be the guardian angel to guide him.
1950s Jughead even gets involved in comic book writing. When looking back on his career with Betty in the series finale, he admits his graphic novels, Jughead’s Madhouse Magazine, were mostly “juvenile satire” written for “teens and kids” who are still enjoying them 70 years later.
Lastly, Jughead is the one who guides Betty through her final day in Riverdale as she says goodbye to her friends — and the one who reveals the ending for each and every character’s individual story line.
While the show ultimately leaves things somewhat vague, it seems like fans have been right all along — and have Jughead to thank for the past six years of adventure.
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