“Shannen plays the person who tells us what happened to Fred,” explains showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

By Tim Stack
September 12, 2019 02:58 PM
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Robert Falconer/The CW

Grief has a way of bringing people together.

EW has your exclusive first look at Shannen Doherty‘s appearance in the Oct. 9 premiere of Riverdale, a tribute to her beloved Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Luke Perry, who died of a stroke in March.

In the above photo, Doherty’s character shares an emotional moment with Archie (KJ Apa), Veronica (Camila Mendes), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and Betty (Lili Reinhart).

“Shannen plays the person who tells us what happened to Fred,” explains showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. “She was there and she’s an unexpected source of comfort to Archie. A big piece of what happened to Fred comes to Archie through Shannen’s character. The scene is so heartbreaking because you really feel Shannen’s love for Luke.”

Aguirre-Sacasa admits the days after Perry’s death were extremely challenging for the close-knit cast and crew. “It’s been really, really intense,” says the showrunner. “Luke and Fred were very similar guys. Everyone loved Fred. Everyone loved Luke. They were both salt of the earth. They were both generous and led with their heart. And it was really hard the days after Luke passed. I remember KJ took a break from filming and he went off and I sat with him and he said, ‘Gosh, Roberto, can you imagine if we were all as good people as Luke was?’ That sentiment really resonated and a similar sentiment is expressed in this first episode. Archie says to Veronica, ‘Imagine if we were all as good as my dad,’ and Veronica says, ‘You are.’ And it’s really cathartic.”

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This article originally appeared on Ew.com