Riverdale is set to return to The CW this week, and the cast and crew took to New York Comic Con to give us a sneak peak at what's to come. Executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa joined series stars Mädchen Amick (Alice Cooper), Marisol Nichols (Hermione Lodge), Mark Consuelos (Hiram Lodge), Skeet Ulrich (F.P. Jones), and Molly Ringwald (Mary Andrews) at the panel last weekend where they revealed a new trailer with exclusive footage and first look at the memorial episode for the late Luke Perry.
It comes as no surprise that the fourth season of Riverdale is going to blend even more genres in the surreal small town. The series promises a senior year filled with family secrets, scandals, a new school and complicated relationships. Veronica has taken Betty's place as a daughter sneaking into prison to see her father as she gears up for whatever retaliation Hiram has in mind. Jughead is struggling to navigate the "preppies" at his new prep school.
Archie opens a community center and is planning to take up the vigilante role... again? Betty is searching for her mother, investigating and toting guns. Cheryl's storyline is continuing the horror aesthetic that the series leaned into last season with a game of Ouiji, the preserved body of her brother and a haunted doll named Julia. And of course, the featurette took a minute to remind you how much sex there is in Riverdale.
The Riverdale Season 4 trailer also gave us a glimpse at how the series will commemorate the tragic loss of Luke Perry, who played leading man Archie's father, Fred. The show will take a break from its high-octane drama for a funeral episode in Perry's honor. The cast took the opportunity to discuss the loss with their fans in New York. The episode is expected to be the season opener and will also guest star Perry's 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty. Ulrich expressed the difficulty of the day, saying.
"To me, in some ways, it meant reliving something incredibly painful. We felt the need and the want [to pay him tribute]. But I don't think any of us wanted to live in that again-[the first episode of the season was] a beautiful episode, but incredibly hard to perform."
Ringwald, who played Fred's ex-wife and Archie's mother in the series, said that filming the somber scenes was cathartic for her.
"I think we all dealt with it in different ways. I didn't get to go to Luke's memorial so [this episode] was really like my good-bye to him. It was kind of what I needed. He was my guy. It felt like a nice good-bye for me."
Consuelos and Nichols shared similar sentiments. The actress behind Hermione Lodge discussed the odd feeling of returning immediately following the death of their friend. "It's like, you expect to see him at Pops, or there was his trailer. His spirit is still with us." Perry passed away while filming was underway on season three.
Along with memorializing the beloved actor, the writers have woven his character's death into the storylines. EP Aguirre-Sacasa explained that Fred was F.P.'s "moral compass," and so Mary will have to step in and take that place, creating a character dynamic we haven't yet seen.
The characters will be making the hard move from kids (as much as they ever were) to adults when Riverdale returns on October 9 on The CW. The panel discussion came to us by way of Deadline and you can check out the new footage at Warner Bros. Youtube channel.