On the last day of SDCC50, the cast and creatives of the soapy CW teen drama revealed to Hall H that Shannen Doherty will be appearing in the October 9 “Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam” episode. The exact nature of the role that Perry’s Beverly Hills 90210 cast mate will play was not unveiled.
However, if any past episode of the seething series based on the Archie comics are any kind of road map, you can bet with some certainty that Doherty’s character will be full of intrigue, deep emotions and secrets of some sort. With Perry having suddenly passed away of a stroke in March, the Season 4 opener has been calibrated as a reflection on the actor, his legacy and his Fred Andrews role over the life of the show.
“This year our Riverdale family, and we are family, and we suffered a huge huge loss,” said executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa at the beginning of the panel before the cast came out. The EP then gave the thousands in the hall a look at the Perry tribute that played at the Season 3 wrap party. With a variety of scenes from the actor, the reel ended with a photo of Perry and the words “We love you Luke.”
Along with Aguirre-Sacasa, Sunday’s Riverdale panel featured core cast members KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Madelaine Petsch and Cole Sprouse. Petsch, who plays the sharp-tongued Cheryl Blossom, became choked up telling the crowd what a mentor and “beautiful” person, Perry was to her. She noted that the actor really helped her navigate the media spotlight at big events like SDCC, among others.
The EP also announced that the broken Andrews family will see one parent step up as another has exited. Long a recurring presence on Riverdale, Archie’s mom, Mary (played by Molly Ringwald) will be much more a part of the household for her son. “She’ll be Archie’s mom more or less full time this year,” quipped Aguirre-Sacasa.
On an initially somber gathering on stage in the huge hall, EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told the crowd that he and Perry had actually been discussing Doherty coming to Riverdale since Season 1. Perry, who posthumously appears in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, teamed with Doherty for the first four seasons of the original 90210.
Even though it was being filmed while he was still alive, Perry doesn’t not show up on Fox’s BH90210, which will premiere on August 7. Doherty, Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, current SAG-ACTRA boss Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling all are back on the quasi-revival, but Perry was unable to make it because of his Riverdale shooting schedule up in Vancouver at the time, it was said.
In addition to the announcement of Doherty heading to the fictional upstate New York town for Season 4, today’s panel also dropped that Kerr Smith will be joining the show as Riverdale High’s new principal for the gang’s senior year. Set to make his entrance in the second episode of Season 4, The Fosters vet will be a recurring guest as the “hard-ass” Mr. Honey, Aguirre-Sacasa told fans.
In that school spirit, Archie himself, Apa, noted that there will “a lot of football” and the Core Four’s forming a band called “The Archies.” No stranger to musical moments, Aguirre-Sacasa added that there’s a “battle of the bands” episode coming this season with The Archies taking on The Pussycats. Wait for it.