×

‘Riverdale’ Boss on Writing Out Luke Perry: ‘We Didn’t Want to Get It Wrong’

As “Riverdale” prepares to close its third season next week, the show still has not fully addressed the passing of actor Luke Perry.

“That was a decision we made partly because when Luke passed it was such a shock, and we were so sad — we were so bereft — and we knew we had to address it some way, but we didn’t want to get it wrong,” showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells Variety.

The March 6 episode, the first back on air after Perry passed away from complications from a stroke earlier that week, posted an In Memoriam card, dedicating the episode to the actor, and the April 24 episode aired Perry’s final scene shot. A future episode referenced that his character, Fred Andrews, went out of town, and his son’s mother (played by Molly Ringwald) came into town to stay with him in Fred’s absence.

When Perry passed, Aguirre-Sacasa says, the “Riverdale” writers’ room had already written most of the season. “It felt like trying to squeeze this in would have been a disservice,” he continues.

But the show “absolutely” has plans to “honor Luke and explain what’s going on with Fred and why we haven’t seen him” at the start of the fourth season.

Ringwald, Aguirre-Sacasa says, has been an important part of this process. She was already confirmed to return to guest star in an end-of-the-season episode, he shares, when Luke passed, and she said, “Do you need me to stay? Do you need help?”

Aguirre-Sacasa told her it would be great if she could.

“We love Molly; we love having her on the show. I always say to Molly, ‘Come back as often as you want, whenever you want,'” he says. “We started to have conversations about [Molly] having a bigger presence on the show next season.”

Although “Riverdale” will have to say goodbye to one of the quintessential parents on the show in its fourth season, Aguirre-Sacasa doesn’t anticipate that changing the balance of the storytelling in a bigger sense.

“We love the parents on our show; we love those actors,” he says. They really dimensionalize and fill out the world of our show. I think the plan is to maybe even tell more stories with them.”

“Riverdale’s” third season finale airs May 15 at 8 p.m. on the CW.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting the two companies’ talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 [...]

  • Media Company Formed Through Merger Given

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Takes the Name Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film has been given the name Leonine, it was revealed Friday. Fred Kogel, CEO of Leonine, said: “When choosing the new brand as our company name, the following aspects were decisive for us: it [...]

  • PERFECT LIFE

    San Sebastian: Leticia Dolera on Canneseries Winner ‘Perfect Life’

    SAN SEBASTIAN —  “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”) may be the most seen of Spanish series this year. Leticia Dolera’s still-to-bow “Perfect Life,” however, is the most laureled, sweeping at April’s 2nd Canneseries TV festival both best series and best special performance for its female leads, Dolera herself, Celia Freijeiro and Aixa Villagrán, from [...]

  • Screen writer Beau WillimonMary Queen of

    Beau Willimon Re-Elected as President of Writers Guild of America East

    Beau Willimon, the playwright and showrunner who launched Netflix’s “House of Cards,” has been re-elected without opposition to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America East. Willimon also ran unopposed in 2017 to succeed Michael Winship. Kathy McGee was elected to the vice president slot over Phil Pilato. Secretary-treasurer Bob Schneider [...]

  • Dickinson First Look Teaser

    TV News: Apple Drops New 'Dickinson' Trailer With Hailee Steinfeld (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Apple TV Plus’ “Dickinson” series released a new trailer and Netflix released the trailer for the fifth season of “Peaky Blinders.” DATES The “Cash Cab” revival will come to Bravo on Oct. 7. The game show takes place inside a New York cab, where unsuspecting passengers become contestants in a game of [...]

  • Jennie Snyder Urman, Katie Wech Team

    Jennie Snyder Urman, Katie Wech Team for Medical Drama in Development at CBS

    CBS is developing a medical drama that hails from writer Katie Wech, Variety has learned. Currently titled “Good Sam,” the series follows a talented yet stifled surgeon who embraces her leadership role after her renowned and pompous boss falls into a coma. When he awakens and wants to resume surgery, however, it falls to her to [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content