Riverdale fans everywhere have pondered restlessly about the show’s response after actor Luke Perry’s passing in the spring. It was sudden and rather difficult for costars to acknowledge, but they managed to cope in his absence nonetheless. The presence of the actor’s optimistic demeanor is still there in spirit, and the team members have chosen to pay tribute to his death in the trailer. CW has adapted smartly by molding the show around his death and extending his lasting influence as a contribution to the new season.
His last appearance on Riverdale as Fred Andrews aired in April, but the impact of his work and character still shines. People swarmed the media to pay their respects and offer sincere condolences, both casual fans and important producers alike.
Statement from “Riverdale” executive producers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Jon Goldwater; Warner Bros. Television; and The CW on the passing of Luke Perry: pic.twitter.com/838HePDiqI
— Brendon Geoffrion (@tv_brendon) March 4, 2019
The first time I met Luke Perry we talked about what kind of movie we wanted “Buffy” to be. I asked if he’d ever seen “Near Dark” and he gave me a look of HOW DARE YOU SIR and I knew we’d get along. Funny, committed, and always gracious. He shouldn’t be gone.
— Joss Whedon (@joss) March 4, 2019
Still, the show must go on. The trailer at New York Comic Con for the season 4 premiere opens intensely with Archie learning of Fred’s sudden passing, ultimately leaving him too shocked to comprehend and even stand. This breaks the casual conversation the friends initially had about summer camp and high school, prompting Archie to say, “It hurts that I never got a chance to say goodbye.”
The CW drama keeps Archie as a vigilante and continues with Veronica’s visit of her father in jail. Mafia secrets, mysteries, and sex are still extremely relevant to Riverdale, but the trailer suggests that the show also knows how to handle Perry’s character and pay homage to his death. Based on a trailer, it’s definitely going to be a huge factor in changing the story dynamic. Surprisingly, the producers have not chosen to avoid it as some would expect, and to their advantage, have creatively incorporated it into the plot.
As the trailer has answered a lot of the expectations fans have had, they’ve also been quite supportive of the whole situation. We see now that producers are putting their foot down and strongly adapting the pace and direction of the show in Perry’s absence. The show will premier October 9 on the CW.