When Luke Perry tragically passed away following a stroke in March, the Riverdale showrunners didn’t immediately write Fred Andrews out of the show as they didn’t quite know how.
With everything that was already happening in Season Three of the show, they decided to wait until Season Four to pay tribute to the actor properly.
Fred has been out of town and Archie’s (KJ Apa) mum (Molly Ringwald) was in town taking care of him.
Speaking with E! News Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said he and the show’s writers postponed writing about Fred’s death because they didn’t want to rush saying goodbye to an important character.
“When Luke passed, it was such a shock, and it was devastating and we kind of have to deal with the emotion of that, and then you have to figure out everything that comes next. And we’d already pretty much plotted out the rest of the season.
“We’d written a bunch of the rest of the season and it felt like rather than try to squeeze something — and for me, something that’s so monumental and so defining… and we didn’t know how we wanted to deal with it. You know, you’re just reacting. So we thought rather than do it quickly or do it wrong, let’s take our time, let’s figure it out, and let’s deal with it at the beginning of Season 4.”
In a trailer released at New York Comic-Con, we see Archie finding out about his father’s death while eating breakfast at Pop’s with Jughead (Cole Sprouse), Veronica (Camila Mendes), and Betty (Lily Reinhart).
“It hurts me that I never got to say goodbye,” Archie is heard saying over footage of the funeral.
“Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale,” he adds.
It then shows Archie focusing on turning his gym into a community centre for kids and teens, but we also find out he’s not done with his vigilante mission either. This seems to be a tribute to his father.
Archie shows his mum the gym, and she tells him, “Your father never would have believed this – everything you’ve been building here.”
It looks like it’s building up to quite the emotional episode, so make sure you get your tissues ready! Watch the trailer here:
Aguirre-Sacasa revealed the first episode of Season Four will be titled ‘In Memoriam’, calling it the “most important episode” of the show ever.
Earlier this year, KJ Apa made an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, where he made his first public statement about Perry.
Visibly emotional, Apa revealed the influence Perry had on him, “It’s not every day you come across a guy like Luke. Like, Luke is the kind of person who did everything he can to make everyone, no matter how big or small you are, feel comfortable and feel welcome.”
“It’s hard to kind of put into words how that makes me feel.”
He then shared a sweet story about how Luke used to reach out to KJ’s parents, who live in New Zealand, every week to let them know how he was doing.
“We had a really close relationship. He would call my parents every week and, like, keep them updated on how I’m going.”
“Like if I had a cold or something, he’d be like ‘I took some Gatorade to his apartment the other day’… He and my dad were always texting.
“He made such a huge effort from the very beginning.”