Riverdale: KJ Apa Teases Authentic and Emotional Tribute to Luke Perry

Riverdale will return to The CW later this year, and the show's fourth season will be kicking off with a tribute to series star Luke Perry, who passed away earlier this year. Fans are already emotionally preparing themselves for the tribute episode, and it sounds like the show's cast is currently doing the same. In a recent interview with Extra, Perry's onscreen son KJ Apa spoke about the tribute episode, which will honor both Perry and his Riverdale character, Fred Andrews.

"Everything in that first episode is so authentic and so real that it didn’t really feel like shooting an episode of our show... It was obviously really emotional." Apa revealed. "It’s a beautiful episode; we still have a lot to shoot for it... I’m super excited for people to see it."

"It’s a tough one, because you have to go back a bit and access that emotion — that is not something that everyone feels comfortable doing..." Apa continued. "The writers absolutely nailed it."

Apa also spoke about Perry's 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty, who will be guest-starring in the tribute episode in a pivotal role.

"It was awesome," Apa said. "I had a couple of scenes with her. She is a beautiful actress."

Perry passed away at the age of 52 earlier this year, after he had suffered a massive stroke in the days prior. Within the world of the show, the absence of Perry's character, Fred Andrews, was never officially addressed as Season 3 came to a conclusion.

"We obviously are going to deal with Fred’s death a story on Riverdale." showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained earlier this summer. "When Luke passed, we’d already more or less outlined the last two or three episodes, and we didn’t want to rush that or get it wrong. So we are 100% going to deal with it narratively at the beginning of season 4, and we want that episode to really honor the character of Fred and honestly, to honor the actor Luke and our friend Luke. I’ve read online that they’re like, “Ooh, Riverdale‘s not dealing with this. Is Fred going to just be on a business trip?” So Tim, I would be so grateful if you make it clear that we are 100% going to deal with Fred’s death. We didn’t want to rush into that at the end of the season and give it short shrift or not make that story as great and emotional as it needs to be to honor both the character and the actor. I think that’s going to be a big part of Archie’s journey next season, honestly."


"His legacy is gonna live on in the lives around him, that he worked with, you know?" Apa 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."

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