Riverdale‘s tribute to late cast member Luke Perry is unlike any episode the show has done before. In fact, they even changed the format for it.
The Season 4 premiere of The CW’s teen drama — airing Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8/7c — is dedicated to Perry and his character Fred Andrews in the wake of Perry’s sudden death in March, and is “very much a standalone episode,” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells TVLine. So much so that they ditched the standard “previously on” recap that precedes every episode of Riverdale: “After we finished the episode, everyone said, ‘You know what? You don’t really need that.'” The producers “also wanted a little bit of extra time, so we took out the ‘previously on’… We wanted to let the episode breathe a little.”
Perry’s 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty guest-stars in the premiere, and though Aguirre-Sacasa won’t reveal her character’s connection to Fred just yet, he will say that “Shannen is wonderful in” the episode. “The role would not nearly have the resonance it does if not for Shannen. She’s just great in it, because I think it’s very real for her.” Doherty’s character does share a scene with Riverdale‘s teen characters, the EP confirms, adding that the scene serves as “a powerful moment of catharsis.”
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Riverdale fans, drop your thoughts on Fred’s fate — and Season 4 predictions — in a comment below.