‘Riverdale’ producers tease ‘cathartic’ farewell to Luke Perry

Luke Perry
“Riverdale” will pay tribute to late star Luke Perry and end his character’s arc in Season 4.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“Riverdale” will end Luke Perry’s character arc in a “really, really emotional” way when the CW drama returns next season.

Writers and producers on the series said Sunday that they figured out a way to pay tribute to the late actor, who unexpectedly died after a stroke in March, and his character — patriarch Fred Andrews — that would be comforting for viewers. They also enlisted Perry’s former “Beverly Hills, 90210" costar Shannen Doherty to help with the send-off in the Season 4 premiere in the fall.

“I think it’s very cathartic to watch it, and I think everyone really came together, specifically to tell this kind of story, to honor Luke and honor Fred,” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told E! News at the 2019 Television Critics Assn. summer press tour while promoting the “Riverdale” spinoff “Katy Keene.”

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As for Doherty, who was announced as a guest star at San Diego Comic-Con last month and whom Perry had wanted on the show since it started, she plays a really important part “and she plays it beautifully,” the writer and executive producer said. Details about her role have been heavily guarded.

“Having seen the scene, I couldn’t imagine someone else doing it, and it obviously resonates really deeply because it is one of Luke’s friends,” Aguirre-Sacasa added.

Doherty has said that she’s “deeply honored” to pay tribute to Perry on the series. Aguirre Sacasa says she plays “a pivotal, super-emotional role.”

Shannen Doherty has paid tribute to her late “Beverly Hills, 90210” costar Luke Perry, who played the on-screen love interest to her Brenda Walsh on the 1990s prime-time drama.


The show did not immediately address Perry’s death in Season 3, aside from saying that his character was away on business, while they sorted out a way to deal with the news. Perry played the father of the show’s lead character, Archie Andrews, a darker version of the comics character.

Season 4 of “Riverdale” is set to premiere on Oct. 9.

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