Riverdale will honor Luke Perry during the Season 4 premiere by bringing in his Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty for an important guest role. Perry died in early March, following a massive stroke, amid the series' production of Season 3. Production was briefly put on hold before the final episodes of the season were filmed without him.
Doherty's casting was announced during Warner Bros. Television Studios' San Diego Comic-Con panel, reports PopCulture.com's sister site, ComicBook.com. Specifics of her role were not revealed, but it was said to be a significant role even though her screen-time might not be much.
Her character will appear in the Season 4 premiere, "Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam." The episode will center on the impact Perry's character, Fred Andrews, had on Riverdale's characters and the series itself.
Executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa noted that Perry and Doherty remained close friends after 90210 ended and Perry wanted to get her a part since Season 1.
"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," Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "She read the script and immediately said 'yes.' It's very impactful."
Perry starred as Archie Andrews' father Fred on Riverdale, acting as a mentor both on and off screen for the show's young stars as a former teen idol himself. The actor shot to fame as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, the bad boy character on the hit Fox series. He finished a handful of Riverdale episodes that aired posthumously, and filmed a small part in Quentin Tarantino's new movie Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
"His legacy is gonna live on in the lives around him, that he worked with, you know?" KJ Apa, who plays Archie and built a strong off-screen camaraderie with Perry, previously told Entertainment Tonight in April. "I'm never gonna forget him and I think it's still very fresh and we're all still dealing with it."
Apa said Molly Ringwald, who played Archie's mother, could take on a bigger part in future episodes.
"We're definitely gonna obviously have to address it at some point," he admitted. "[Possibly] that [means] Molly stepping in as more of an active parent for Archie, but that all depends on the availability of the actors around us. So, you know, we'll do what we can."
As for Doherty, she recently filmed her role on BH90210, a qusi-revival of the series for Fox. In the new show, Doherty and her other former cast members play heightened versions of themselves as they try to make a Beverly Hills, 90210 revival.
Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for more from the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International.
Photo credit: Instagram/Shannen Doherty