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'Riverdale' Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Opens Up About Deciding How To Write Fred's Death

'Riverdale' Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Opens Up About Deciding How To Write Fred's Death

Luke Perry‘s death wasn’t originally going to be covered in the new season of Riverdale.

Showrunner and creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa opened up about making the decision to address his death in the storyline of the season four premiere.

“When Luke passed [last season] we very quickly made the decision that we weren’t going to address it in the current season of Riverdale,” he told EW. “We didn’t want to rush it, we didn’t want to sandwich it into all the other plot lines, and we just wanted to take our time and think about it. We briefly thought that maybe something would happen at the end of the season that would signal it and that felt a little cheap. We thought let’s just hold it so that we can think about it over the hiatus and reflect on it. That was absolutely the right decision and it allowed us to absorb what had happened and really think about what kind of story we wanted to tell.”

“Very early on, we landed on the idea that Fred should have a heroic death and that would be impactful for Archie,” he added. “It felt like that’s a way that Fred could have gone. After that, we said this episode really isn’t going to launch any huge stories for this season. It was really going to be focused on that and the emotional effects of that passing for everyone.”

“There have been sadly a lot of tribute episodes in television — one of my favorites is the Friday Night Lights episode where the football player’s father dies, called ‘The Son,’” Roberto continued. “We wanted to tell a very grounded, truthful story. That became the organizing principle or the marching orders.”

How Does Fred Andrews Die On 'Riverdale'? Find Out Here

How Does Fred Andrews Die On 'Riverdale'? Find Out Here

The fourth season of Riverdale kicked off last night (October 9) with a very emotional Luke Perry tribute.

In the beginning of the episode, Archie (KJ Apa) receives a phone call that his father Fred has died.

During the episode, he has to grasp the fact that his dad is gone and how he’s going to continue his legacy.

While Riverdale showrunners were reluctant to tackle how Fred died this season, they decided that an episode at the beginning of the season was the best way to pay tribute to the late actor.

“Very early on, we landed on the idea that Fred should have a heroic death and that would be impactful for Archie,” Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa tells EW. “It felt like that’s a way that Fred could have gone. After that, we said this episode really isn’t going to launch any huge stories for this season. It was really going to be focused on that and the emotional effects of that passing for everyone.”

Click to the next slide to find out exactly how Fred dies…

Madelaine Petsch & 'Riverdale' Cast Share Touching Memories With Luke Perry Ahead of Season Premiere

Madelaine Petsch & 'Riverdale' Cast Share Touching Memories With Luke Perry Ahead of Season Premiere

Madelaine Petsch shared a really heartfelt memory on her social media about Luke Perry, just hours before the tribute episode for the actor, and season four premiere episode of Riverdale airs.

“This photo is from my first upfronts for Riverdale, Luke walked me through the entire experience as he did with most of the new experiences I encountered after booking this show,” the 25-year-old actress shared on her Instagram. “I didn’t even know this photo existed but it explains our relationship to a T.”

Madelaine added, “He was always so generous and supportive and patient with my learning and growing through some of the most formative years of my life. I am so lucky to have known you Luke. You were one of a kind and impacted everyone’s lives in such a meaningful way.”

Lili Reinhart also took to Instagram to address tonight’s tribute: “Tonight’s episode, and all episodes for the rest of our run, are for Luke. We love, honor, and cherish his memory every single day. I only wish he were here to see how many lives he touched with happiness and laughter. I know he’s watching from above. We love you, Luke.”

Camila Mendes added on her Instagram Stories, “I’m finding it hard to express how I’m feeling but I’ll try. We put everything we have into this episode. We wanted to honor Luke’s memory in the most sincere and respectful way possible. This episode is as hard to watch as it was to make it. Actually, making it was harder. But the result is a beautiful tribute to our friend. Luke deserves that and so much more.”

Stay tuned for another sneak peek at Riverdale‘s season four premiere, and tune in @ 8PM ET/PT on The CW to watch.

See even more messages from the cast inside! More Here! »

'Riverdale' EP Talks 'Brutal' Luke Perry Tribute Episode

'Riverdale' EP Talks 'Brutal' Luke Perry Tribute Episode

The premiere of season four of Riverdale is right around the corner, and it’s going to be “brutal.”

The episode will pay tribute to the death of beloved cast member Luke Perry, who played Fred Andrews.

“When Luke passed, we very quickly made the decision that we weren’t going to address it [at the end of season three],” executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told TVLine. “We didn’t want to rush it. We didn’t want to sandwich it in between all the other plotlines.” Even finishing off last season with a brief acknowledgement “felt a little cheap. So we thought, ‘Let’s just hold it, so we can think about it over the hiatus and reflect on it.’”

The upcoming full episode addressing Luke Perry‘s passing was “absolutely the right decision,” Roberto said. “It kind of allowed us to absorb what happened, and really think about what kind of story we wanted to tell.”

It will draw inspiration from the Friday Night Lights episode “The Son,” which is about the death of quarterback Matt Saracen’s father: “We kind of wanted to just tell a very grounded, truthful story.”

“We kind of knew this was going to be brutal on the cast, especially KJ [Apa], who was Luke’s main scene partner,” Roberto added. “[But] everyone was really proud to gather to tell this tribute to Fred, and to Luke. When it happened, we were all kind of scattered. So there was something really special when we gathered to do the table read that was cathartic. You know, shows are families. But we knew it was going to be hard, and it was.”

Season four of Riverdale premieres on October 9 on The CW at 8/7c.

READ MORE: The New Promo For ‘Riverdale’s Luke Perry Tribute Will Make You Tear Up

'Riverdale' Releases Official Synopsis For Luke Perry Tribute Episode

'Riverdale' Releases Official Synopsis For Luke Perry Tribute Episode

The CW has released the official summary for Riverdale‘s season four premiere episode, which is a tribute to Luke Perry, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

“A FAREWELL TO FRED ANDREWS,” the summary starts out. “As the residents of Riverdale prepare for its upcoming Independence Day parade, Archie (KJ Apa) receives a phone call that will change the rest of his life forever.”

KJ opened up in a recent interview about how Luke‘s legacy will continue on the series and in him.

“It’s not every day you come across a guy like Luke,” KJ said. “Luke is the kind of person who did everything he can to make whoever you are, no matter how big or small you are, feel comfortable and feel welcome. It’s hard to kind of put into words how that makes me feel.”

“He would call my parents every week and keep them updated on how I’m doing,” KJ continued. “He and my dad were always texting each other. I wish I could be like that.”

Riverdale returns on Wednesday, October 9th @ 8PM ET/PT on The CW.