Riverdale Taps Shannen Doherty For Luke Perry Tribute Episode

Today at Comic Con International in San Diego, Warner Bros. Television announced that Charmed and Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannen Doherty will appear in the season four premiere of Riverdale, which serves as a sendoff for the character of Fred Andrews and a tribute to 90210 heartthrob Luke Perry, who played Andrews on the show. After their time together on 90210, Perry and Doherty remained friends, and the plan was always to find a role for her on Riverdale, a show where Perry was an on-set role model for the young cast. Perry passed away during production last season, causing the series to shut down briefly in order to give the cast and crew time to process the tragedy.

Entitled “Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam,” the October 9 premiere will reflect Perry’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character, Fred Andrews, had on Riverdale. Her presence on the series “is something that Luke wanted to happen since season one,” said executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. “They were such good friends, and when we were putting together this tribute episode, we wanted to make it as special as possible, and so we asked Shannen to do a pivotal, super-emotional role. She read the script and immediately said ‘yes.’ It’s very impactful.”

Few other details are available about Doherty's role, which was described as small but significant. Perry passed away at the age of 52 earlier this year, after he had suffered a stroke in the days prior.

"His legacy is gonna live on in the lives around him, that he worked with, you know?" KJ Apa, who stars as Fred's son Archie Andrews, said in a previous 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."

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.

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The addition of Doherty also continues Riverdale's tradition of introducing its stellar young cast to the teen icons of previous generations. The show has previously included appearances by not just Perry but also Skeet Ulrich, Molly Ringwald, Madchen Amick, and Gina Gershon.

Riverdale’s fourth season will begin Wednesday, October 9th, at 8/7c on The CW.