How Luke Perry’s Legacy Influenced the ‘BH90210’ Reboot

Beverly Hills 90210 is back tonight, sort of. Fox’s reboot BH90210 features all of the original cast members of Beverly Hills 90210, except for Luke Perry who suddenly passed away after a stroke earlier this year. Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Jason Priestly, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green and even Shannen Doherty star in BH90210, with a twist.

Beverly Hills 90210
Beverly Hills 90210 cast | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

They are not playing Brenda and Brandon Walsh, Andrea Zuckerman, Steve Sanders, David Silvers or Donna Martin. They are playing Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley, Gabrielle Carteris, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, and Tori Spelling. BH90210 premieres tonight and the first episode acknowledges the absence of Luke Perry. The cast and producers of BH90210 were on a Television Critics Association panel today and they elaborated on how Perry still impacts the reboot. BH90210 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Shannen Doherty wouldn’t have done ‘BH90210’ if not for Luke Perry’s tragic death

Shannen Doherty has a sense of humor about her reputation after leaving Beverly Hills 90210. In BH90210 the rest of the cast keeps joking they’ll never get Shannen. In real life, Doherty said they almost didn’t get Shannen.

“As these guys know, I definitely wasn’t going to do it,” Doherty said. “Nothing against the show. I knew that the show would get sold and do well with or without me. They didn’t need me, so it just wasn’t, at that moment, what I wanted to be doing.”

Luke Perry’s death gave Doherty a new perspective on the meaning of 90210.

Shannen Doherty and Brian Austin Green
Brian Austin Green and Shannen Doherty of BH 90210 | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“When Luke passed away, things drastically changed for me,” Doherty said. “I felt like it was a great opportunity to sort of honor him, and then I am really glad I made that decision, because now I get to sit up here with a lot of people that I respect and that I love, and we went on this amazing journey together where we also got to really sort of heal through losing somebody who means the world to all of us.”

Luke Perry may be in ‘BH90210’ in memoriam

Had Luke Perry survived his stroke, or never had one, he was contracted as a series regular on The CW’s Riverdale. That would have prohibited him from playing a lead on BH90210. Of course, a world with Luke Perry still in it would have been worth having no Dylan at all on BH90210. But now that he’s gone, every time the characters mention Luke it is a touching tribute. 

“We knew we had to acknowledge and pay tribute to him,” executive producer Chris Alberghini said. “It obviously was a very painful loss for the cast and everyone that knew him. We wanted to do it in as respectful a way as possible.”

BH90210
L-R: Jason Priestley, Brian Austin Green, Gabrielle Carteris, Ian Ziering, Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling in the BH90210 “Reunion” series premiere episode | Shane Harvey/FOX

There are a few tributes to Luke Perry, in dialogue, in visuals and other miscellaneous references.

“It was something that we discussed a great deal with everyone in the cast, and trial and error,” Alberghini continued. “There were a few things that we tried that didn’t work, and then we found a way that we all felt comfortable with and that we felt honored him appropriately.”

Before he died, Luke Perry supported ‘BH90210’

While BH90210 was in development, Luke Perry was aware of it. He just assumed he would not be available to film it, but he supported his colleagues.

“We had had conversations with him about it, yes, and he was fully in support of it,” Garth said. “He was currently in contract with another show, Riverdale, but he was someone that we had talked to and thrown ideas around with, yes.”

Beverly Hills 90210
Ian Ziering, Jennie Garth, and Tori Spelling | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Perry was planning to find a way to sneak an appearance on BH90210 in. That sadly never got to happen, but Perry was part of initial discussions.

“He talked about actually guesting on the show because he was contracted somewhere else, but he had been part of some of the conversations we actually had as a group when we were at the studios,” Carteris said. “So he was very he actually started and submitted communications and shared ideas.”