Riverdale's panel at San Diego Comic-Con brought a slew of new tidbits and information for the show's fourth season, including around the tribute to Fred Andrews and Luke Perry in the season premiere. Among those was the news that Perry's 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty will be appearing in the episode, and she has since broken her silence on the role. Doherty took to Instagram to share photos of her and Perry, and to express that she's "deeply honored" to be part of an episode that honors his memory so beautifully.
While details are currently unclear, Dougherty will reportedly play "a pivotal, super-emotional role" in the episode.
"[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."
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, but that was expected to change in Season 4.
"We obviously are going to deal with Fred's death a story on Riverdale." showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explained last month. "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?" KJ Apa, who starred as 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.
Riverdale's fourth season will begin Wednesday, October 9th, at 8/7c on The CW.