Riverdale fans are going to have a tough time with the season premiere.
Riverdale Season 4 Episode 1 is titled "Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam" and serves as a tribute to Luke Perry and Fred Andrews.
After Perry died suddenly of a stroke in March, Riverdale decided to use the Riverdale Season 4 premiere as a reflection of Perry's and the impact his character Fred had on Riverdale.
While details are minimal, Perry's friends and former Beverly Hills 90210 castmate Shannen Doherty will be a part of the episode.
It's unclear whether she'll be playing a character or serving in some other capacity, but it's going to make an already moving episode even more so.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa opened the Riverdale panel by saying, “This year our Riverdale family, and we are family, and we suffered a huge huge loss.
Before the rest of the cast took the stage, the EP shared with the packed room the Perry tribute that played at the Season 3 wrap party.
Featuring many of Perry's scenes, the emotional reel ened with, “We love you Luke.”
Aguirre-Sacasa also shared thougths about Perry's beginning on The CW show.
"I remember that when Luke auditioned, I was so shocked that Luke Perry was auditioning, and he came up to me, and he said, 'I read this script, and I love the character Fred because he's just like me. I have a son... and this character speaks to me.'"
Once the full cast arrived, Aguirre-Sacasa talked more about the episode before revealing Doherty's addition to the premiere, and that he and Perry had been discussing Doherty joining the show since the first season.
"When Luke passed it was towards the end of Season 3, and we felt rather than rush... we really wanted to honor Luke and Fred... we wanted to be a really special episode, kind of standalone, really emotional and really focused on what this character meant to this group of people, his son, his friends and the entire town of Riverdale."
As for Doherty's inclusion, "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."
And if you're worried about Archie and what losing his father could mean, you can rest a little easier with the announcement that Molly Ringwald will be "Archie's mom more or less this whole season."
There was also news of another new character coming to Riverdale for Season 4.
Dawson's Creek and The Fosters alumnus Kerr Smith is joining the cast with a recurring role.
He's playing the "hard ass" principal Mr. Honey for the gang's final year, which is expected to be covered in detail.
Aguirre-Sacasa said, "One thing we haven't really dug into the high school world. This year, we're really playing senior year, it's the last time they're going to have a senior prom, a senior homecoming..."
Being worried about Judhead's life on the line shouldn't take up too much of your time, either.
Sprouse said, "I think the beanie and whoopie cap has served as the most iconic symbol fo the Archie franchise... and I think the act of burning it is a really good hook."
In fact, Jughead is going to attend an elite prep school on a scholarship. The school, which will be featured in some flash-forwards, is called Stonewall Stags and a Riverdale Rival. Could that put a strain on his relationship with Betty?
"He's going to Riverdale only on the weekends... Betty is so supportive of him.... because she wants the best for him and his education. He wants to be the first Jones man to go to college... I think they're strong, but I'm sure something's going to happen," Reinhardt said.
In other romance news, "Varchie is killing it so far" in Season 4 according to Apa, whose Archie will be spending time on the football field.
Petsch "hopes Choni is endgame," and Aguierre-Sacasa said we will be getting into Toni's backstory this year.
"We will definitely be getting an on-screen kiss between FP and Alice for sure... one of Kevin's old flames will be coming back as well," he added.
Riverdale returns Wednesday, October 9 at 8/7c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.