Riverdale fans sent into meltdown as KJ Apa strips off for season 5 first-look at Archie

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The thrilling high school drama cut its latest mystery short when the fourth season of Riverdale was interrupted by the outbreak of coronavirus. Now the show is eying a January 2021 release date on The CW and Netflix for 2021, KJ Apa has shared a revealing first-look at Archie Andrews in the upcoming instalment.

KJ Apa and the cast of Riverdale are officially back on set in Vancouver for production on the fifth season.

Series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa took to Twitter to confirm the news, and Warner Bros. Television are hopeful the new season will be complete in time for a January 2021 release.

This means the fifth season of the provocative high school drama will be airing weekly once again on The CW in the States, and is expected to return to Netflix around the globe.

Earlier this year, fans were left frustrated when the end of season four was cut short by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Riverdale became one of the first major TV productions to announce its delays after a member of the team came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

In the most recent episode, Killing Mr Honey, the gang’s overbearing Principal, Mr Honey (played by Kerr Smith) appears to have been murdered by the notorious videotape killer.

Unfortunately, the mystery still hasn’t come to an end as the upcoming high school prom and finale episodes were delayed by the pandemic.

Now the series is back to a semi-regular schedule, KJ Apa has made headlines by stripping down for a revealing look at an upcoming scene in season five.

In the behind-the-scenes camera snap, Apa appears shirtless and ready for a relaxing session in a steam room.

Showrunner Aguirre-Sacasa tweeted the pic and said: “Annnnnd #Riverdale is back. First scene up of Season 5: Archie in a steam room. Even in a Covid world, some things never change…”

Apa showed off a chiselled physique in the new shot, assuring his fans he hasn’t let the pandemic stop him from staying in perfect shape.

Archie adorers naturally went mad for the new shot, with one Twitter user replying: “Well hello KJ Apa!!! Happy #Riverdale is back!!!”

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Another fan added: “Oh my God , Archie looks hot, can’t wait till @CW_Riverdale is back on our screens in January 2021 !!! Ps: can’t it be already 2021 ya’ll !!!”

While the wait for new episodes has certainly been frustrating, viewers couldn’t be more thrilled that the show’s unpredictable plot lines and stylish aesthetics will be back on screens again soon.

Warner Bros. TV have assured concerned viewers that production on Riverdale will be following Canada and British Columbia’s health and safety guidelines in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

The cast and crew have self-isolated for two weeks before filming began, and the production will maintain social distancing and PPE-wearing throughout.

Although Canada recently reported zero COVID-related deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time since the pandemic began, the country has still experienced over 137,000 reported cases of coronavirus.

Some major TV projects are still holding off returning to set due to international travel restrictions and health concerns.

However, it is hoped Riverdale can lead by example and safely deliver another compelling season of high school drama by the start of next year.

Riverdale season 4 is available to stream on Netflix.

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