Perry, who played Archie’s father Fred Andrews, died in March this year after suffering a stroke at the age of 52.
The fourth season’s opening episode – called ‘In Memoriam’ – will pay a touching tribute to the actor, and the show’s executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has now opened up about how they decided to address Perry’s death within the plot.
“When Luke passed, we very quickly made the decision that we weren’t going to address it,” Aguirre-Sacasa told TVLine. “We didn’t want to rush it. We didn’t want to sandwich it in between all the other plotlines.”
Initially, the show considered acknowledging Perry’s death at the end of season 3, but Aguirre-Sacasa explained that this “felt a little cheap.”
“So we thought, ‘Let’s just hold it, so we can think about it over the hiatus and reflect on it’,” he added.
The producer said that it was “absolutely the right decision” to honor the late actor through season 4’s opening episode.
“It kind of allowed us to absorb what happened, and really think about what kind of story we wanted to tell,” he explained. “We kind of wanted to just tell a very grounded, truthful story.”
Molly Ringwald (Mary) also applauded showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s decision to take his time in crafting the best possible sendoff for Perry’s character.
“I think that Roberto was really smart because we lost [Perry] at the end of season 3, and it felt very strange to finish off the season knowing what had happened,” Ringwald said. “But he really wanted to wait and really put some time and all his heart into it. And I feel like it really shows.”
Watch the season 4 trailer below.
Riverdale, which debuted in 2015, will kick off its new season at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 9 on The CW.