Brenda Walsh and Dylan McKay 4ever. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Shannen Doherty said she joined the Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot to honor Luke Perry. Doherty, who will return to Fox’s upcoming revival titled BH90210, had not initially been attached to the project. After Perry’s passing in March, Doherty wanted to honor her late friend — who depicted heartthrob Dylan McKay, Brenda’s love interest in the hit 1990 series — and his memory. “I wasn't attached [before Perry's death]... and it wasn't long after he passed that I finally was like, 'OK, yes,'" Doherty revealed. "I thought it was going to do well with or without me, to be honest.”
She continued, “For me, replaying Brenda was something I said I wouldn't do twice and I've replayed her now twice, so I guess I could never say I'm never going to do something again because I end up doing it… For me, I felt like it was honoring him and his memory and what he meant to the audience and the fans and to all of us. As his on-set family, I felt like it was an important time for all of us to come together to honor him."
Perry died on March 4 after he suffered from a stroke. He was 52. His death sent shockwaves across the industry. According to Doherty, Perry’s absence will very much be addressed in BH90210’s first episode, set to premiere on August 7. "The first episode very much deals with it," Doherty told ET. "Luke was such a sort of quiet, subtle, yet dynamic human being that he had a very strong and lasting impact on people. So, naturally, we would have to deal with it."
Along with the reboot of the hit teen series, Doherty will also honor her late friend with a guest appearance on his CW show, Riverdale. Perry depicted Fred Andrews for three seasons. Doherty will guest star in the Season 4 premiere on October 9, which will serve as a tribute episode to “reflect Perry’s enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character" had in the series, as per Variety. “They were such good friends, and when we were putting together this tribute episode, we wanted to make it as special as possible,” Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said of the tribute at San Diego’s Comic-Con. “So we asked Shannen to do a pivotal, super-emotional role. She read the script and immediately said ‘yes.’ It’s very impactful.”
According to Aguirre-Sacasa, Perry had lobbied for Doherty to appear in a guest role since Season 1. On Instagram, Doherty confirmed news of her guest appearance. “I am deeply honored to pay tribute to Luke on Riverdale,” she captioned a photo of the two together as Brenda and Dylan. “The care in which this show takes in honoring his memory is beautiful. He is missed. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.”
Beverly Hills, 90210 alums Jennie Garth, Jason Priestly, Brian Austin Green, and Tori Spelling are slated to return to the Fox reboot. Along with Doherty, ET caught up with the co-stars to reflect on Perry’s absence. “There are moments when it's easier than others," Garth said. "[Addressing his absence is] not something we're ever going to do the right way 'cause it's just too big of an honor to have had him a part of our cast and now to not have him. It's just weird."
BH90210 premieres on Fox on August 7, and it looks as though Dylan McKay — as well as his IRL counterpart Luke Perry — will live on forever.