Riverdale Creator Reveals Why the Fate of Luke Perry’s Character Wasn’t Addressed in Season 3 Finale
Luke Perry, who played Archie (KJ Apa)’s dad Fred Andrews on the teen soap, died suddenly at the age of 52 in March after suffering a massive stroke. Fred was as loved on screen by fans as Perry was on set by the cast and crew. In order to honor Perry, the Riverdale team decided not to rush writing his character out of the show (production was stalled after news of his death).
“It was just devastating,” showrunner and creator, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Wednesday. “And we wanted to honor Luke, and figure out the best way to handle the character of Fred Andrews in the show, so we sort of said, you know what? Let’s not squeeze, let’s not rush to squeeze something into the finale, or into the last couple of episodes, let’s really think about it, and let’s tell that story at the beginning of season four.”
“Luke was one of the hearts of the show — Luke and KJ, their relationship, and as crazy as things got, we always turned back to them. That was so wonderful to have, and so that was part of our thinking too. We wanted to take the time to understand how the show will change [without Fred], and how we could best address that,” he continued.
Aguirre-Sacasa also revealed that actress Molly Ringwald, who plays Archie’s mom Mary Andrews, offered to stay on for more episodes of season 3 than originally planned after Perry’s death.
“When Luke passed, we had already broken and written a lot of the end of the season,” Aguirre-Sacasa continued. “Every season we have Molly Ringwald back for an episode or two, so she was actually already scheduled to come back. I think she was actually even in Vancouver when we heard the news, or she was flying to Vancouver, and she said, ‘If you need me to stay longer I’ll stay longer,’ and I said, ‘That would be great, Molly.’ She did, and it really helped us.”
When asked if Fred Andrews’ storyline will be addressed early on in season 4, Aguirre-Sacasa said, “Yes, absolutely.” The character has been out of town on the show since Perry’s passing.
Perry was one of the original cast members dating back to season 1 and has appeared in almost every episode. At the time of his death, executive producers Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater and Aguirre-Sacasa released a statement mourning the loss of the actor.
“We are deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luke Perry,” they said. “A beloved member of the Riverdale, Warner Bros. and CW family, Luke was everything you would hope he would be: an incredibly caring, consummate professional with a giant heart, and a true friend to all. A father figure and mentor to the show’s young cast, Luke was incredibly generous, and he infused the set with love and kindness. Our thoughts are with Luke’s family during this most difficult time.”
Perry’s final episode on the series aired on April 22, nearly two months after his death.
Aguirre-Sacasa revealed the news at the time on Twitter. “This week’s #Riverdale is the last episode Luke filmed,” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of Perry as Archie’s dad. “As always, Fred’s imparting words of wisdom to Archie. A beautiful, true moment between a father and his son.”
“Wish these scenes could go on forever,” he added.