Though Riverdale temporarily stopped production following his death in March, the show waited until the season 4 premiere to formally say goodbye to Perry and his character, Fred Andrews. "For a show with evil board games and cults, [the tribute is] surprisingly tasteful and solemn", the New York Post reports, noting Fred dies a hero.
The episode, titled In Memoriam, sees Luke's character die a heroic death, saving someone from being hit by a vehicle, and emotional speeches from the show's characters at his funeral. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa explains to Us Weekly that Perry had long discussed having Doherty on the show, but "the timing never worked out or the part was never quite right". She explains that it was her that Fred was helping at the time of his death.
How will Fred Andrews' death be addressed?
While Perry's last appearance on Riverdale aired in April, almost two months after his death, Fred's absence has yet to be addressed on-screen. "It felt like that's a way Fred could've gone".
'I know he's watching from above. "It was really going to be kind of focused on [Fred's passing], and the emotional effects of that passing for everyone". I think it is cathartic for people who have seen the show and hopefully it's cathartic for people who have emotional ties to Luke as well.
In the Season 4 premiere, Betty stands alone at his grave, which is covered in trash and been defaced with spray-painted words: "The Black Hood burns in Hell". "The emotion you try to bury from the four months prior to [Perry's death] happening until we're asked to re-examine it in the episode ... it's one of the hardest experiences I'd had [to do] on film". In July, Doherty shared photos of herself with Perry on Instagram and wrote, "I am deeply honored to pay tribute to Luke on Riverdale".
Perry poses during an interview in NY in 2001. "It was very hard for us all", he said.
He also confirmed Archie will continue to deal with his father's death, even as wild storylines emerge throughout season 4.
As the residents of Riverdale prepare for its upcoming Independence Day parade, Archie (KJ Apa) receives a phone call that will change the rest of his life forever. But for the person who's at the core of it, they live with it every day. Another kind of different thing that we chose to do was not include a 'previously on.' We actually had one and The CW very wisely said, 'You know what?
In fact, Season 4 "has nearly a melancholy feel" following Fred's death, he hints, and will be a bit more grounded overall - and a throwback to Riverdale's freshman season.