‘Riverdale’ season finale: Luke Perry’s presence lingers

They want to do it the right way.

Season 3 of “Riverdale” comes to a close Wednesday, but cast member Luke Perry’s absence won’t be addressed at the beginning of Season 4, the show-runner says.

In March, Perry died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 52. Since the tragedy was so unexpected, it left “Riverdale” show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa in a terrible bind.

“When Luke had passed, we had already pretty much plotted out the end of this season and written the end of this season,” Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Tonight.

The beloved “90210” actor played the small but important role of Fred Andrews, father of protagonist Archie (KJ Apa) on the pulpy CW show. He hadn’t finished filming at the time of his death. His last scene aired on April 24, a touching moment of Fred being a supportive dad to Archie.

It was hardly a grand send-off, since he was barely in the episode — but of course “Riverdale” didn’t plan for this. For the rest of the season, Archie’s estranged mom Mary (Molly Ringwald) returned to fill in the role of his parent while Fred’s absence remained unaddressed.

Aguirre-Sacasa’s says the delay was for a good reason: “Rather than try to squeeze something in and potentially not get it right, we thought, ‘Let’s take a beat and let’s figure out really what would be the best way to honor Luke and… the character of Fred, and let’s do it at the top of season four.’”

He doesn’t want to reveal exactly how it will be handle in case he changes his idea. But expect Season 4 to open tackling Fred’s absence.

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