The has been a major (and deadly!) cliffhanger teased for much of Riverdale Season 4.
At the end of every episode, we find ourselves asking the same question: is Jughead dead?
Either something terrible is about to happen to our beloved beanie-wearing Serpent, or the writers want us to believe that's the case.
Riverdale has had its fair share of bewildering storylines, many of which defy logic, but we tend to brush them off because “that’s Riverdale.”
But we cannot accept what’s happening at Jughead’s new prestigious school, Stonewall Prep, at face-value.
What's happening at the private school is weirder than anything that’s ever happened in Riverdale, and yes, that includes Betty’s father as the Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, and Edgar Evernever’s Evel Knievel suit.
The shady occurrences at Stonewall Prep are more dangerous because they could be directly related to the flash-forward scenes teasing Jughead’s death.
Do our eyes deceive us? Is Riverdale playing a wicked game of deception? Or is the show going to kill off a main and beloved character?
Here are our theories on what’s possibly happening to Jughead on Riverdale Season 4.
Charles and Chic Kill Jughead
On Riverdale Season 4 Episode 6, Charles and Chic were revealed to be in cahoots even though Charles assured Betty he’d broken up with Chic.
Their partnership is bad news for the Cooper and Jones families, but as the TV Fanatic Riverdale Round Table pointed out, it’s refreshing to see some continuity amongst storylines.
The FBI agent’s agenda remains under wraps even with the Chic revelation, but they seem to be motivated by revenge.
Currently, Charles’ focus is on Betty and possibly turning her into a serial killer, or, at the very least, triggering her serial-killer gene.
Yet the series also made it a point to show him listening in on Betty and Jughead's conversation.
That means the vendetta could stretch to include Charles' half-brother Jughead.
It’s possible Charles and Chic saw the same darkness in Betty that they did in themselves and chose to eliminate Jughead from the picture by getting him out of town and into Stonewall Prep and later, by taking him out completely.
I’m sure an FBI agent has connections to the school. Never underestimate an unhinged brother and his lover, especially in Riverdale.
Mr. DuPont Kills Jughead
Jughead made an enemy out of Mr. DuPont when he called him out for falsely claiming to be the author of the first Baxter Brothers novel. Mr. DuPont’s anger stemmed from being confronted with the truth, a truth he’d worked hard to cover up all these years.
Based on their altercation, DuPont was never a fan of Jughead's grandfather, Forsythe, and that hatred now extends to the grandson.
His threats could have been brushed off as empty and meaningless, but that all changed with Mr. Chipping’s “fall from grace.”
Seeing him willingly and consciously jump out of the window and to his presumed death (remember, we never saw a body) means that Jughead is in way over his head. Since none of the classmates even reacted or seemed phase, it’s likely that Jughead is the only one not “in” on the secret.
On Riverdale Season 4 Episode 7, Bret and Donna did everything in their power to paint Mr. Chipping as a bad man thus proving that they’re all hiding something.
What did they have on Chipping? What could have been so bad that death seemed like the only option?
Jughead needs to watch out now that he’s in DuPont’s crosshairs.
Not only does DuPont want to stop Jughead's investigation into Chipping's murder, but he also needs him to let go of his Baxter Brothers investigation.
He could retaliate by eliminating the person threatening his legacy as an honorable and acclaimed ghostwriter by handling it the same way he handled Chipping.
And speaking of, was DuPont also involved in Forsythe’s “disappearance” from the school?
Bret Kills Jughead
I’m not too convinced by this theory simply because Brett doesn’t strike me as a killer.
There’s no denying that he’s an insufferable competitor, insecure as hell, and likes evoking psychological warfare on his enemies, but he doesn’t have the courage to kill a man.
It’s one thing to drug someone (and again, Bret didn’t even do that, Donna did) and bury them alive as a prank, but it’s another to commit full-on murder.
Then again, this is Riverdale and anything goes. Remember, there was a time we didn’t suspect Hal could be a serial killer either.
Jughead Fakes His Own Death to Stage the “Perfect Murder”
This theory tops my list as most likely. Jughead’s dedication as a writer could have forced him to fake his death so that his story would be just as believable and realistic as the first Baxter Brothers novel written by his grandfather.
He claimed the novel was written in a way that seems to draw from personal experience, which is how he figured out that the author wasn’t Mr. DuPont.
It cannot be a coincidence that we’re seeing clips of Jughead’s murder paralleled with the upcoming Baxter Brothers "perfect murder" competition.
If his story wins, Jughead successfully embraces the “ghostwriter” mindset, upholds his grandfather’s legacy, and sticks it to Mr. DuPont and Bret. Win-win.
And, of course, this means Betty, Archie, and Veronica are all accomplices helping Jughead get away with fake murder.
If you look back at the scene where FP comes to the classroom to arrest them for murder, they don’t seem too surprised or guilty.
That’s Not Jughead, It’s Dylan Sprouse
I refuse to believe that a character with a real-life twin could ever die and stay dead.
Riverdale has pulled the twin card and/or surprise sibling card on more than one occasion, and I wouldn’t put it past them again.
Maybe they found someone that looked just like Jughead to stage his death? This is also my subtle way of saying that Dylan needs a cameo on the show.
Jughead Fakes His Own Death Because He Discovers the Ugly Truth
Jughead could have faked his death, but this time, he didn't do it for his novel but his safety.
Betty, Archie, and Veronica’s involvement remains the same as in the previous theory.
Some dark secrets are looming around the halls of Stonewall Prep.
Jughead could have figured out what everyone was hiding -- which could have been what got Mr. Chipping killed -- and needed to disappear to ensure his survival.
Maybe that’s why Forsythe disappeared from the school in the first place, too.
If Jughead gets his writing talents from his grandfather, chances are they were both just as eager to find out the truth, and thus, met with dangerous consequences.
It’s Bret’s "Perfect Murder" Story
Plot twist: this is the Bret’s “perfect murder” story, not Jughead’s.
Brett has had it out for Jughead since he arrived at the school; he’s been intimidated by him and became increasingly more competitive.
His novel could be a reflection of his internal feelings for the "less-than" journalist and thus, the victim in his story would be Jughead.
We could be seeing Jughead’s murder play out as part of Bret’s fictional story meaning Jughead is alive IRL.
What do you think happened to Jughead?
Is he dead or alive?
Take our poll and let us know! You can catch up and watch Riverdale online at TV Fanatic!
Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..