After the loss of one of the show's actors, its fitting that the CW's Riverdale Season 4 trailer shows footage from the funeral of Fred Andrews, who was played by late actor Luke Perry. On Sunday, the Riverdale panel at New York Comic-Con began with a sneak-peak of the new season, which will follow the cast through their senior year. For most high school seniors, the prospect of leaving hometowns for the next stage of young-adult life can be dramatic, but for students in Riverdale, the final year of school will include a séance, Jughead fighting a prep school student with a stapler, and Archie becoming a masked vigilante.
The trailer, in addition to teasing the main crew's upcoming struggles, also addressed the death of Perry, who played Fred. Perry died in March after suffering a major stroke, according to NBC News, while the series was still in production for Season 3. The actor, who became a TV icon after playing Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210, will receive a proper onscreen goodbye. In the trailer, Archie, played by KJ Apa, receives news that his dad passed away unexpectedly. "It hurts me that I never got to say goodbye," Archie says in the voice-over. "Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale."
Fans will see characters on the popular CW series mourn the loss of Fred, and the cast have had to cope with the loss of Perry in real life. The actor was mourned by the Riverdale cast at the beginning of the NYCC panel. Skeet Ulrich, who plays sheriff F.P. Jones, noted Riverdale wanted to give Perry a proper tribute in the new season, even if the scenes were painful to film, per Deadline.
"To me, in some ways, it meant reliving something incredibly painful. We felt the need and the want to pay him tribute," Ulrich said at the panel, as reported by Deadline. "But I don’t think any of us wanted to live in that again. The first episode of the season was a beautiful episode, but incredibly hard to perform."
Molly Ringwald, who plays Fred's ex-wife Mary Andrews, said she found taping the farewell episodes cathartic, as per Deadline. "I think we all dealt with it in different ways. I didn’t get to go to Luke’s memorial so this episode]was really like my good-bye to him. It was kind of what I needed," she said. "He was my guy. It felt like a nice good-bye for me.”
In March, the Riverdale cast mourned Perry on social media as well. Cole Sprouse shared a tribute to Perry on his Instagram, writing, "Love you bud." Apa also posted a photo of the late star, captioning the photo, "Rest in Love bro." Camila Mendes also posted a photo dancing with Perry, sharing a message about the star. She wrote: "An authentic man who took pleasure in offering us his guidance and wisdom. his presence was healing; he had the ability to make you feel comfortable and at ease within seconds of seeing him. i will never forget the collective shock and distress we experienced when the news broke on set. we lost a dear friend."
During the NYCC panel, series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also reflected on how meaningful it was to have Perry on the show. He said, “I loved it when Luke auditioned. I grew up watching him on 90210.” Marisol Nichols, who plays Hermione Lodge, also stressed how empty the set felt without his presence during the panel. “It’s funny, Luke passed, and we had two episodes after that and when you come back you’re right back in the incident,” Nichols said. “It’s like, you expect to see him at Pops, or there was his trailer. His spirit is still with us."
Riverdale returns on the CW on Oct. 9. at 8PM EST.