Riverdale is known for its over-the-top drama. But the real world took over last season, when actor Luke Perry, who played Archie Andrew's beloved father Fred, passed away suddenly. The show only had a couple of episodes left to film at the time, and so pushed dealing with the tragedy to the beginning of next season. Now, the start of that next season is nearly here. At New York Comic-Con (NYCC), fans saw the first footage of how the show will deal with Fred's passing. The NYCC Riverdale Season 4 teaser suggests it will be heartbreak all around.
For the first time since the show began airing, the NYCC panel for Riverdale notably didn't include any of the young actors on the show. It felt like a deliberate choice to go "Adults Only," considering Luke Perry's passing hung heavily over the proceedings. Although he was beloved by the entire cast, Perry belonged with the older crowd, many of whom, like him, had been teen stars in their day.
As Mark Consuelos (who plays Fred's archnemesis Hiram Lodge) said, Perry's passing put things in perspective. Having a chance to grieve for him as part of the show was the right thing to do.
Check out the sizzle reel, and Archie's first reaction to learning the news.
Molly Ringwald, who plays Mary Andrews, Archie's mother, also spoke movingly of filming Fred's funeral. "It was my goodbye," she said, after revealing that she hadn't been able to make Perry's memorial service back in the spring. For her, Perry was the main actor she worked with other than Archie's KJ Apa, and losing him hit her hard.
Marisol Nichols, who plays Hermione Lodge, also said that the timing had made it difficult. Perry's passing happened with just under two weeks left in filming for Season 3. That meant everyone went home before it sunk in that he was gone. When the cast returned for Season 4, the actors had to suddenly grapple with the fact that he was never going to suddenly turn the corner and walk into the room with them. She said she kept looking up, expecting to see him, and then remembered.
The discussion of Perry's passing and Fred's absence did lead to one vital question from the fans. With the Lodges in jail, and Fred gone, who is looking after Veronica and Archie? Consuelos said not to worry, Smithers was watching Hiram's little girl. But for Archie, Mary Andrew's return isn't a steady thing.
Ringwald told the crowd she is still contracted as a recurring character, not a series regular. But the whole panel agreed Mary Andrews' lawyering skills are sorely needed in the town of Riverdale as it is, so maybe she'll be promoted soon.
But how much longer will the kids need their parents? Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa admitted the actors are growing up. This season will see them graduate from high school. It's a huge transition for everyone and will drive the drama as the show moves through Season 4.
Riverdale Season 4 premieres at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, on the CW.