Riverdale's season four premiere will feature a tribute to Luke Perry, and according to showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, it will be "really, really emotional." "I think it's a real tribute to Luke," Aguirre-Sacasa said during the Television Critics Association summer press tour. "I think it's a real tribute to Fred. I think it's very cathartic to watch it and I think everyone really came together, specifically to tell this kind of story, the honour Luke and honour Fred . . . It's a really simple — it's one of our . . . just beautiful."
The episode, which is titled "In Memoriam," will also feature a special appearance from one of Perry's former Beverly Hills, 90210 cast mates, Shannen Doherty. Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed that Doherty will join the cast to pay homage to the late actor at San Diego Comic-Con. Doherty also posted about the news on Instagram with two photos of her and Perry. "I am deeply honoured to pay tribute to Luke on Riverdale," she wrote. "The care in which this show takes in honouring his memory is beautiful. He is missed. Today. Tomorrow. Forever."
At Comic-Con, Aguirre-Sacasa revealed that Doherty's casting was something Perry had wanted since season one. "They were such good friends, and when we were putting together this tribute episode, we wanted to make it as special as possible," he said. "And so we asked Shannen to do a pivotal, super-emotional role. She read the script and immediately said 'yes.' It's very impactful."
Aguirre-Sacasa first announced the season-opener would include a tribute to Perry in June. He took to Twitter to share a photo of the script for the episode. "Probably the most important episode of #Riverdale we'll do this year, if not ever," he wrote. "A tribute to our fallen friend. Thankful for this opportunity to honour Luke & Fred."
Probably the most important episode of #Riverdale we’ll do this year, if not ever. A tribute to our fallen friend. Thankful for this opportunity to honor Luke & Fred. ❤️🏆💎👨🏻💻 pic.twitter.com/MH7xOjNyDu
— RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) June 19, 2019
Perry — who died at the age of 52 in March after suffering a massive stroke — made his last appearance as Fred Andrews in April. Riverdale, which concluded its third season in May, has not yet addressed the absence of his character. However, the remaining episodes of season three were dedicated to Perry, as were all future episodes.
Following Perry's death, many of the Riverdale castmates shared emotional tributes to the actor, who had been on the show since its 2017 debut. Lili Reinhart even posted an emotional poem about grief and losing someone close to you. Cole Sprouse also exclusively told POPSUGAR, "He was very close to all of us. And he was an incredibly passionate, well-loved person, and I think the whole world is lamenting his passing."
Riverdale season four will premiere on Oct. 9.