Riverdale executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa announced at today's Comic-Con panel that the season four premiere will feature a special tribute to Luke Perry. Perry's longtime friend and former Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Shannen Doherty will guest star in a special role in the episode, which will air Wednesday, October 9th on The CW. The premiere episode is entitled Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam, and it will reflect Luke Perry's enduring legacy and the indelible imprint his character, Fred Andrews, had on Riverdale.

The casting of Shannen Doherty, as announced this Sunday at San Diego Comic-Con continues her long association with Luke Perry, which started in 1990 on Beverly Hills, 90210, and continued for nearly 30 years. Perry and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had long planned for Shannen Doherty to appear on Riverdale, but was something they weren't able to pull off in time. Her presence on the series "is something that Luke wanted to happen since season one," said Aguirre-Sacasa. The executive producer went on and had this to say about the emotional tribute.

"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."

Shannen Doherty reunited with the rest of her Beverly Hills, 90210 cast for their new revival series entitled BH90210. Luke Perry was expected to make a cameo in the series to have a full reunion in between breaks with Riverdale, but that sadly did not end up happening. Perry suffered a stroke and later passed away from complications a few days later. He was 52-years old and both the casts of Riverdale and Beverly Hills, 90210 were devastated, along with fans from all over the world.

It was also announced at the show's Comic-Con panel that Kerr Smith will play Riverdale High's new principal, Mr. Honey, in a recurring role. Smith will first appear in the second episode of season four, entitled Chapter Fifty-Nine: Fast Times at Riverdale High. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa describes Smith's character as "a bit of a hard-ass who takes a harder line with the students this year, especially with the seniors." This sounds like something that may cause some friction in the upcoming fourth season of Riverdale.

RELATED: Luke Perry Remembered as Hollywood Mourns Beverly Hills, 90210 Star

Riverdale stars KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Marisol Nichols, Madelaine Petsch, Mark Consuelos, Casey Cott, Charles Melton, Vanessa Morgan, Skeet Ulrich, and Madchen Amick. Fans of the hit series have been wondering how they were going address the death of Luke Perry on the show and it looks like they are doing something even better than a normal tribute. Shannen Doherty and Perry were close friends and had a close working relationship, so fans might want to have some tissues on hand because it sounds like things are going to get extremely emotional. Warner Bros. TV was the first to announce the Shannen Doherty cameo on the premiere episode of Riverdale season 4.

Kevin Burwick at TVweb
Kevin Burwick