When Riverdale returns to The CW on October 9, it will be to remember actor Luke Perry, who died unexpectedly during Season 3. The Season 4 premiere, titled “In Memoriam,” will feature a tribute to the late actor. During the show’s annual panel at San Diego Comic-Con, it was also revealed that Riverdale had enlisted another of Perry’s former colleagues, 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty.
Doherty played Brenda Walsh, a love interest of Perry’s Dylan McKay, on the series. The two were also close friends. In fact, Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement that Perry had been hoping for Doherty to appear in the show since it began. “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,” he explained.
According to Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead on the show, the various cast members getting to share scenes with Doherty was “very cathartic.” Being able to work with someone new to their world but so close to Perry was “beautiful” for them.
In discussing the episode, Aguirre-Sacasa said taking time to craft a memorial to kick off Season 4 was the best way they could honor him. “We wanted it to be a very sort of a special episode–kind of stand-alone,” he explained. It will honor the character and his impact on the various characters and the town of Riverdale itself.
The appearance by Doherty wasn’t the only news revealed in the panel. It was also announced that former Dawson’s Creek and The Fosters star Kerr Smith would be joining the cast as the new principal at Riverdale High, Mr. Hones. Aguirre-Sacasa described the character as “a bit of a hard-ass who takes a harder line with the students this year, especially with the seniors.” It’s about time someone puts these kids in their place.
Riverdale returns for its third season on October 9.
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