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The entertainment world took a hit back in March when Riverdale star and Beverly Hills 90210 vet Luke Perry passed away after a series of strokes. The ongoing CW drama was able to close out its third season without things getting too derailed, and creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (and the rest of the creative team) is paying tribute to Perry and his character when Season 4 kicks off. And guess what? The actor's former 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty is involved.
It was revealed during Riverdale's panel at San Diego Comic-Con that Shannen Doherty has signed on to take a special guest star role in the Season 4 premiere, which is titled "Chapter 54: In Memoriam." Airing on October 9, the episode will reflect on Luke Perry's long-lasting legacy, which should be an interesting thing to behold, all things considered. Of course, the overall importance that his patriarch Fred Andrews has had on the wild and wacky storylines will also draw focus.
Here's what Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa said about the casting, which reflects the two actors' friendship of nearly 30 years:
[It's] something that Luke wanted to happen since Season 1. They were such good friends, and when we were putting together this tribute episode, we wanted to make it as special as possible, and so we asked Shannen to do a pivotal, super-emotional role. She read the script and immediately said ‘yes.’ It’s very impactful.
Though it might have felt a little too on the nose to bring Shannen Doherty to the Riverdale cast in back in Season 1, things are sadly now beyond a point when she and Perry will be able to share the screen together again. Still, that doesn't take away any of the awesomeness that's coming when Doherty takes on this "pivotal" role in the Season 4 premiere.
To be expected, no further details were given about what fans can expect to see for "In Memoriam." And considering how off-kilter Riverdale has been with episodes in the past, one's imagination can run wild with speculation about how the tribute will play out.
I'm hoping to see Riverdale use its current characters to do shot-for-shot remakes of Beverly Hills 90210 scenes that could contextually match up with everything else that's going on. Might be kind of hard to do, considering 90210 didn't feature any groups called The Pretty Poisons or The Southside Serpents, and murder wasn't the biggest M.O. for any of the California teens. But something like that could happen...maybe?
Luke Perry and Shannen Doherty was already set to reunite for the production of the upcoming Fox revival BH90210, which will bring a unique spin to the concept of reunion and revival projects. Unfortunately, Perry died before he was able to take part in the show.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa first revealed the Luke Perry-centered premiere episode right when the Season 4 narratives were officially coming together in June, around two months after Perry's final episode.
Because this was Comic-Con weekend, Riverdale had more to announce than just a super-emotional guest star. It was also revealed that Riverdale's new principal has been cast, and oddly enough, he also used to be on a show that Shannen Doherty starred in.
Kerr Smith, who fans might recognize from The Fosters, Life Unexpected or his stint on Charmed, has been cast as Riverdale High School's new principal, Mr. Honey. (In keeping with the theme of bee-themed authority names, I suppose.) He is set to make his debut in the second episode of the new season, which is punningly titled "Chapter Fifty-Nine: Fast Times at Riverdale High."
Mr. Honey will be a recurring role for Kerr Smith, whose other most recent TV roles came in episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When he appears as Mr. Honey, Smith will be playing a "bit of a hard-ass" principal, according to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The senior class might want to put more effort into good behavior, because Mr. Honey is going to take a particularly hard line with that group.
Not that Riverdale's students don't know how to break hard lines in all sorts of ways.