Luke Perry’s longtime friend and former co-star, Shannen Doherty, will guest star on Riverdale in a special tribute episode for the late actor. Perry died in March of this year at the age of 52 from a stroke. He rose to stardom when he portrayed Dylan McKay in the teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210, and then went on to have a prolific career that spanned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to 2017’s Riverdale, where he played Archie’s father, Fred Andrews. The former is where he and Doherty initially met, where they ended up together as a fan-favorite couple on the series.
The news of Perry’s passing is one that devastated fans and those close to the actor, and it also left many wondering how the showrunner’s were going to handle his passing on the show. His role was a heartwarming presence that brought a sense of comfort amidst the show’s ominous tone. His final appearance was in the season 3 episode titled “Fear the Reaper”, and Molly Ringwald, who portrayed Archie’s mother, Mary, stepped in afterward to fill his shoes. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had previously explained that the season 4 premiere would honor the late actor, and now their SDCC panel has offered up more details surrounding the episode.
Aguirre-Sacasa announced at San Diego Comic-Con’s Riverdale panel that season 4’s premiere episode, titled “Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam,” will “feature a special tribute to Luke Perry” and will have Shannen Doherty guest starring in a special role. Perry and Aguirre-Sacasa, “had long planned for Doherty to appear on Riverdale,” and according to Aguirre-Sacasa, her presence on the series is “something that Luke wanted to happen since season one.” He went on to explain that when they were putting this episode together, they wanted it to be “as special as possible,” so they reached out to Doherty. When asked about the role, Doherty “read the script and immediately said ‘yes.’ It’s very impactful.”
The stylishly dark CW series, based on the Archie comics franchise, has skyrocketed to popularity since its debut in 2017. The success of the show even led to two separate spinoffs as well: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix and Katy Keene, which is set to debut in 2020 on the CW. However, Riverdale’s success doesn’t just derive from their intriguing, over-the-top narratives; a majority comes from their likable characters and how much heart the actors pour into their respective roles, for which Perry was especially known.
The impact Perry left on those that he worked with is one that will never be forgotten. Perry always brought genuine emotion and heart to the character, and the same can be said for his previous roles. Having Doherty guest star in the series is the perfect way to bring his career in entertainment full-circle and to an emotional close. It’s also a beautiful love letter to the ones he worked with at the beginning of his career and how they remained pillars of importance in his life, even at the very end.
Next: What To Expect From Riverdale Season 4