‘Riverdale’ showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about Archie’s ‘aspirational’ arc in season 4, the Luke Perry tribute episode, and bringing Charles into the fold.
Riverdale season 4 will open with a powerful tribute episode to Luke Perry, who played Fred Andrews on the show. Luke passed away in March 2019 at 52 after suffering a massive stroke. The show didn’t address Luke’s death at the end of season 3 and decided to wait until season 4 to do so. The tribute episode will feature Luke’s Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about crafting Luke and Fred’s sendoff.
“I think we were deeply honored,” Roberto told HollywoodLife at Riverdale’s San Diego Comic Con press room. “I think we were nervous about making sure it was right. That’s why we didn’t do it during season 3. We thought about it a long time. We wanted it to be special and feel like a different kind of episode of Riverdale. So, it’s really emotional. I think it’s simple, and it allowed us to have kind of a catharsis that we hadn’t had… At least, I hadn’t had. And then hopefully it’ll be a catharsis for the fans as well.”
Fred’s death will impact all of the characters, especially Archie. “I think a lot of his arc is going to be about honoring his father and trying to live up to the memory of his father and to be as good a human being as his father was,” Roberto revealed about Archie’s arc. “So, I think it’s a little more aspirational. Archie had a really dark season, so hopefully, it [season 4] will be a little more aspirational.”
Season 3 ended with a shocking time jump that set up season 4’s big mystery: what happened to Jughead? The final moments of season 3 featured Archie, Betty, and Veronica standing around a fire covered in blood. They’re burning their clothes and vow to never speak of what happened again. Jughead is not in the scene and Archie throws Jug’s iconic beanie into the fire. Roberto teased that fans will be getting more and more information about what happened that night as the season goes on.
“You’ll start getting clues,” Roberto said. “You know, the first episode is basically a standalone. But then, from episode two on, you’ll start seeing different flashes of what happened that night, and you’ll start piecing together the events of that night. And then, about halfway through the season, the episode will be set on that night. We’ll learn what happened on that night, and then we’ll sort of do the B side of that.”
The end of the season also introduced Alice and FP’s son — for real this time. It was revealed that Alice has actually been working undercover with Charles, who is an FBI agent. Roberto talked about Charles’s storyline in season 4. “He’s back in the fray in episode two,” Roberto revealed. “You know, he is Betty’s half-brother and Alice’s son and Jughead’s half-brother. I think what’s nice about this story is that Betty hasn’t always had the best relationship with her family members. Even with Alice, they love each other, but it’s very contentious. She’s had a difficult relationship with her father, who was a serial killer, and Polly and Betty don’t always get on. So, I think what’s one of the nice things is that she will develop a real friendship with Charles. He will kind of ask her to help him on his FBI cases, and there’s a great high school FBI program, so we’re going to have Betty join that as well. I’m excited about it.”
As for whether or not having a shared half-brother will impact Bughead’s relationship, Roberto said: “No, not really. Compared to other threats they’ve faced, this is nothing. There’s a little bit of weirdness, but Jughead and Betty aren’t related at all. I don’t think it’ll be anything major.” On the Varchie front, Roberto assured fans, “They’re going strong. I mean, both of Veronica’s parents are in jail, so they’re having sleepovers. I think they’re going strong.” Riverdale season 4 will premiere Oct. 9 on The CW.