Tonight's Riverdale marked a sort of bittersweet new chapter for the hit The CW series, as it marked the first episode filmed following the sudden death of series star Luke Perry. Fans have been wondering for weeks exactly how Perry's death would be handled within the world of the show, and it looks like we began to get our answer.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, "Prom Night", below!
Part of the episode revolved around Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) beginning to evaluate his potential future as a boxer, one that involved his family in a surprising way. Early on in the episode, Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald) arrived from Chicago, and Archie remarked that he couldn't pick her up from the airport because Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) had taken the family's best car.
Later on, after Riverdale High's prom appeared to be attacked by both the Gargoyle King and the Black Hood, Mary decided that she would be staying in town for a while, to help protect Archie while Fred was "out of town".
The sendoff doesn't factor too heavily into the episode, but it does provide the first clue as to how the show will be handling Perry's death, at least for the time being. It's unclear at this point if and when the show will give Fred a proper exit, considering the sudden nature of Perry's passing.
"His legacy is gonna live on in the lives around him, that he worked with, you know?" Apa said in a recent interview. "I'm never gonna forget him and I think it's still very fresh and we're all still dealing with it... We're definitely gonna obviously have to address it at some point. [Possibly] that [means] Molly stepping in as more of an active parent for Archie, but that all depends on the availability of the actors around us. So, you know, we'll do what we can."
"You know, honestly, we are I think all still in shock and are all still processing and grieving," Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained in an interview last month. "We know that we have to address it in some way, but we’re giving ourselves a little bit of time and space before we figure out the best way to honor him."
Fred had a relatively small role in Perry's final onscreen appearance last week, only appearing in a group scene at Riverdale's hospital where Archie learned that his former boxing rival had died after a match between the two. Fred appeared in a second scene with Archie, reassuring his son that he wasn't responsible for the other guy's death.
In addition to his Riverdale role, Perry is best known for playing Dylan McKay in Beverly Hills, 90210. His work also includes appearances in The Fifth Element, The Simpsons, and The Incredible Hulk. In addition to upcoming episodes of Riverdale that had already been filmed prior to his death, Perry is set to appear this summer in Quentin Tarantino's new film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Production on Riverdale was shut down shortly after his
“He took care of us all,” Riverdale co-star Camila Mendes said of Perry on social media. “An authentic man who took pleasure in offering us his guidance and wisdom. His presence was healing; he had the ability to make you feel comfortable and at ease within seconds of seeing him. I will never forget the collective shock and distress we experienced when the news broke on set. We lost a dear friend. My heart hurts for his family and anybody who had the pleasure of knowing him. Rest in peace, Luke. Although you’re no longer around to wrap me in the warmth of your hug, I can still remember what it felt like. Whenever I think of you, I will remember that feeling.'
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.