'Riverdale' Season 4 Panel Scoop: Luke Perry's Tribute, Jughead's Fate & a Flash-Forward

Michael Maloney
Comic-Con Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Once again, Riverdale packed the seats in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 as executive producer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa and the show’s cast previewed the upcoming Season 4.

The panel began with a beautiful tribute to the late Luke Perry, who played Fred Andrews on the show’s first three seasons and served as a mentor to the show’s cast.

A lot ground was covered at the panel. Without further ado, here are the highlights from Aguirre-Sacasa, and cast members KJ Apa (Archie), Camila Mendes (Veronica), Lili Reinhart (Betty), Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl), and Cole Sprouse (Jughead).

On how Aguirre-Sacasa and the show plans on paying tribute to Perry: “This year, our Riverdale family suffered a huge, huge, huge loss. It’s something we’ll all be feeling as long as we’re lucky enough to keep making this show. I remember when Luke auditioned, he said he loved the character of Fred because it was just like him. He said, ‘I have a son who’s like Archie. This speaks to me.’ Luke and Fred had many similarities.”

Luke Perry as Fred Andrews (Cate Cameron/The CW)

On why Aguirre-Sacasa waited till Season 4 to write in Fred’s passing: “Luke had passed towards the end of season 3. Rather, than rush an episode or storyline in to the show, we decided to take our time. The first two weeks, we met back as writers, we talked about how we’d honor both Fred and Luke. We’re doing that with a stand-alone episode that’s very emotional and will be about what Fred meant to his son, his friends, and the entire group of Riverdale.

Aguirre-Sacasa on adding Shannen Doherty (ex-Brenda, Beverly Hills, 90210) to the tribute episode: “One of the things that Luke had talked about since Season 1 was finding a way to have his good friend Shannen Doherty come onto Riverdale. We tried to make it happen a few times. Now, we really want to include her. She’s in for one in a really emotional way.”

'Riverdale' Season 4: Shannen Doherty Joins Luke Perry Tribute, Kerr Smith Cast as Principal

'Riverdale' Season 4: Shannen Doherty Joins Luke Perry Tribute, Kerr Smith Cast as Principal

The CW drama revealed at SDCC that Perry's '90210' costar will appear in a 'special role' in 'Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam.'

Sprouse on welcoming Doherty to the cast: “It was cathartic for all of us. It put the cherry on the top of the episode and made for a nice tribute. She was overjoyed to have the ability to share some of the burden of Luke’s passing that she’d gone through in a cathartic setting. It was beautiful and touching. She’s so talented and was so close to Luke, it seemed like a perfect fit.”

Aguirre-Sacasa on having Molly Ringwald returning as Mary Andrews: “Molly was in Vancouver shooting when Luke passed. She said to me, ‘Please don’t [deal with his loss] by having Archie’s uncle come on. I’d love to be a part of this. So, she’ll be [on] as Archie’s mom more or less full time this season.”

KJ Apa (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Apa on exploring Archie’s relationship with his mom: “It’s nice. We never delved into that relationship too much so, it’s going to be cool.”

Reinhart on what Season 3’s most memorable twist was: “Probably the harvesting the organs situation, but it all made sense because it’s the Farm.”

Aguirre-Sacasa on what’s head for Season 4: “This year, the kids are seniors. They’ve always been too busy hunting serial killers. We haven’t dug deep into the high school world. We’re really playing the senior year.”

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Aguirre-Sacasa on new Principal  Honey played by Kerr Smith: “We’ve wanted Kerr on since Season 1. He’s iconic from Dawson’s Creek.”

Sprouse on the flash-forward that shows Jughead’s hat perhaps being all that’s left of him and being tossed into a fire: “No more smelly hat! I do think the beanie has served as the most iconic symbol of Archie Comics for 75 years. The act of burning it is a really good hook, but I’m not going to spoil anything.”

Aguirre-Sacasa on Jughead’s fate: “The mystery of what happened to Jughead [will be big]. In the episodes leading up to it, we’re going to flash-forward to events that will [help put] the pieces together.”

Cole Sprouse, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, Madelaine Petsch, and K.J. Apa (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Aguirre-Sacasa on doing a Halloween episode on Riverdale for the first time ever: “We’ve never done one before because schedules have never worked out, but we have a really fun one this year. Someone dies, but it’s no one at this table!”

Apa on who he’d like to have Archie dress up as on Halloween: “Spider-Man!” (Of course!)

Reinhart on how having a half brother with Jughead will shake things up: “There might be some awkward family dinners in the future.”

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Reinhart on finding out Betty’s mom was an FBI informant: “She feels betrayed for having ‘method-acted’ her way through last season. She’s also grieving the loss of her father. She can’t really miss him because that means she’d be a bad person. She’s struggling. Jughead is there for her which is sweet.”

Sprouse on Jughead attending a new school next season: “Jughead gets whisked away to a Gossip Girl/ Richie Rich-type school that’s pretentious. He’ll be 'pretensioned' by the other [students]. It serves as the setting for the flash-forward.”

Cole Sprouse (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Mendes on Veronica being the savviest business person on Riverdale: “It’s been great. We’re finally in a place were Veronica is no longer back-and-forth with her dad. He’s a clear villain in her life. We’ll see him sending paparazzi to [shoot]  her, which causes a distraction in school. Because she’s making headlines, it’s problematic applying to colleges.”

Mendes on a business Cheryl and Veronica became partners in: “They’ll become business partners, making a maple syrup rum.” (Aguirre-Sacasa interjected: “That was supposed to be a secret!”)

Madelaine Petsch (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Aguirre-Sacasa on bringing The Archies music band to the show: “When I pitched the series, there was going to be in Season 1 a big battle of bands between The Archies and The Pussycats. Then, the show became what it became. This year or never, we’re doing a ‘Battle of the Bands’ episode! We’ll also do a musical episode as we did in Seasons 2 and 3.”

Apa on an ideal date between Archie and Veronica: “A shower.”

Aguirre-Sacasa on other relationships this season: “We’re going to get to Toni Topaz’s (Vanessa Morgan) backstory. We met her grandfather once and her uncle wasn’t supportive of her coming out. Also, one of Kevin’s (Casey Cott) old flames will be coming back.”

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Aguirre-Sacasa on having more diversity including plus-sized characters on Riverdale: “Shannon [Purser, Ethel] has an open-invitation to come back whenever she’d like. We’re open to all. We’re meeting about new students to Riverdale this year so, stay tuned.”

Sprouse on if he could play another character on the show: I’ve always wanted to be the silent guy behind the bar just drying a cup over and over.”

Petsch on memories of Perry: “I was paired with Luke for a lot of stuff [at my first Comic-Con]. I called him for everything. He was one of the most beautiful humans I’ve ever met. He said don’t take it all too seriously. That was Luke in a nutshell.”

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Sprouse on a favorite thing the cast likes to do as a group: “Ignore each other.”

Sprouse and Reinhart after a fan calls "Bughead" the show’s most popular couple and asks what kind of ‘bug’ are they: I’d say a Praying Mantis because they eat the men’s heads off when they’re finished with them,” said Sprouse.

“100 percent,” concurs Reinhart.

Apa on which CW show he’d like to crossover onto:The Flash.”

Jared Padalecki as Sam, Misha Collins as Castiel and Jensen Ackles as Dean in Supernatural (Diyah Pera/The CW)

Sprouse on same question: “I’d like to do Supernatural. I love those guys and they’re so tall! I saw [Jared] Padalecki outside and I was like, ‘Hey, man! What’s up?’ They’ve filled Hall H for years. Yeah, I want a piece of that pie.”

Aguirre-Sacasa on same question: “I’d love to do something with [Chilling Adventures of] Sabrina, but we will be doing a crossover – even though it breaks the space-time continuum — a Riverdale/Katy Keene crossover.”

Riverdale, Season 4 Premiere, Wednesday, October 9, 9/8c, The CW