The Riverdale season 4 premiere is “probably the most important episode of #Riverdale we’ll do this year, if not ever,” says series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
On Wednesday night, the executive producer and showrunner teased how the return of the popular teen drama will feature a tribute to cast member Luke Perry, who died at age 52 in March after suffering a stroke.
“A tribute to our fallen friend,” Aguirre-Sacasa tweeted with an image of the premiere episode’s script. “Thankful for this opportunity to honor Luke & Fred.”
The 58th episode of the CW series is titled “In Memoriam” and written by Aguirre-Sacasa. Second unit and first assistant director Gabriel Correa, who helmed season 3 episodes “American Dreams” and “Jawbreaker,” will take the directing reins on the premiere.
Riverdale‘s final episode featuring Perry as Archie’s father Fred Andrews aired in April, though it’s still unknown how the series will specifically address the character’s absence. (Spoiler warning!) However, the finale did feature a time jump to Spring Break in the year following all the drama with the Gargoyle King.
As Aguirre-Sacasa told EW’s Tim Stack of addressing Perry’s death and the vacancy left by Fred, “When Luke passed, we’d already more or less outlined the last two or three episodes [of season 3], and we didn’t want to rush that or get it wrong. So we are 100 percent going to deal with it narratively at the beginning of season 4, and we want that episode to really honor the character of Fred and honestly, to honor the actor Luke and our friend Luke. I’ve read online that they’re like, ‘Ooh, Riverdale‘s not dealing with this. Is Fred going to just be on a business trip?’ So Tim, I would be so grateful if you make it clear that we are 100 percent going to deal with Fred’s death. We didn’t want to rush into that at the end of the season and give it short shrift or not make that story as great and emotional as it needs to be to honor both the character and the actor. I think that’s going to be a big part of Archie’s journey next season, honestly.”