At this point in Riverdale's fourth season, it seems pretty inevitable that Jughead is going to die. What we don't know is how Jughead dies...or when...or why...or if it will even be the real thing. In fact, there are a number of theories about Jughead's death that suggest he's not really dead, and the further Jughead delves into the whole Baxter Brothers mystery happening at Stonewall Prep, the more it seems like this is all just part of an elaborate book plot.
After the infamous Season 3 flash-forward, Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Decider that there were two directions he was debating taking the Jughead storyline this season. "We have a couple of options on what happens on the other side of burning the beanie," he said. There's no knowing which option he chose, but according to TV Guide, Jughead's real fate will be revealed by the Season 4 midseason finale.
Until then, here's where fans think all this is headed.
Jughead Is Faking His Own Death For A Baxter Brothers Novel
Jughead and some of his fellow Stonewall Prep students were tasked with creating "the perfect murder" in order to determine which of them should be the next Baxter Brothers ghostwriter. Perhaps Jughead is staging his own death — and even framing his friends, unless they're in on it — to show that his story is so perfect, it can fool everyone in the real world. Jughead is clearly dedicated to his work, and this would be a genius way to win the prize.
Jughead Is Faking His Own Death To Get Revenge For His Grandfather
Reddit user Crystal_EM posted an interesting theory that Jughead faked his death to take himself out of the running for the competition, knowing that his work would likely get stolen by one of his classmates — just like he believes his grandfather's book was stolen way back when. The theory goes that after Jughead's work is taken (with the plagiarist assuming that Jughead is dead and can't do anything about it), Jughead will come back to life with proof that the Baxter Brothers' books have a history of being stolen from the Jones men. He will get revenge for his grandfather and himself in one fell swoop.
The Flash-Forwards Are Just Chapters From Jughead's Book
Jughead wouldn't need to actually fake his death if the flash-forwards we're seeing aren't really happening, but are instead scenes from the "perfect murder" story he writes for the Stonewall competition. That would explain why the scenes feel sort of out of step with the Riverdale characters we know — we're not really seeing Betty, Archie, and Veronica, but characters based on them.
Francis DuPont Killed Jughead To Shut Him Up
Jughead already figured out that Francis DuPont wasn't really the first Baxter Brothers writer, and that the idea was actually stolen from Jughead's grandfather. Perhaps in an attempt to keep his record plagiarism accusation-free, DuPont kills Jughead.
Bret Weston Wallis Killed Jughead To Win The Literary Competition
Jughead's classmate Bret may kill Jughead and frame Archie, Betty, and Veronica to win the Baxter Brothers contest with his own "perfect murder" story (and get rid of his biggest competition in the process.) Alternatively, it's possible that Bret helps DuPont kill Jughead in order to preserve the Stonewall Prep name and win the next Baxter Brothers ghostwriting spot. Win-win.
Jughead's Twin Is Dead
When asked about Jughead's fate, Cole Sprouse told Variety that he doesn't think Riverdale characters ever really die. "To be honest, I think there could be a Riverdale without every single one of our characters," he said. "And then we'll appear as ghosts, or our twins will take our place."
This quote made fans wonder if Jughead has a twin out there, and that's whose body that Betty and FP were shown in the flash-forward. In the comics, he does have a couple of similar-looking cousins, so it's not implausible.
The Mysterious Tapes Are Connected To Jughead's Death
In the Halloween episode, Riverdale residents received scary video tapes that contained hours of surveillance footage of their houses. The mystery of who was sending them and why was never solved, and the tapes make a re-appearance in the Dec. 4 episode. According to that week's synopsis: "Residents across Riverdale begin receiving more mysterious videotapes on their doorsteps."
There was a theory that Bret was behind those videos, and it could all be tied together with Jughead's disappearance and eventual murder. However, since this was contained to only one episode, there's not a lot of evidence backing this theory yet. By Dec. 4, we should know more.