How Will ‘Riverdale’ Deal with Luke Perry’s Death?

Luke Perry has died, according to CNN. The actor who was famous for his role in Beverly Hills 90210, was enjoying a reinvigorated acting career after signing onto the hit television show Riverdale. Perry, who suffered from a massive stroke on February 27, was being treated in a hospital at the time of his death. He was in the process of filming the hit show’s 3rd season at the time of his death.

Luke Perry
Actor Luke Perry (CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)

According to Variety, Riverdale producers made the call to shut down production for the day and the entire production team was sent home after learning of the star’s death. Perry, who had been filming scenes the week before his medical crisis, was an active member of the cast. Riverdale executives have not yet decided how they’ll deal with Perry’s passing.

Producers have a few options when dealing with the real-life death of pivotal characters on television shows. Unfortunately, Perry’s passingis not the first to occur during the filming of a show or movie.

They could kill off his character

When John Ritter passed away during the filming of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter in 2003, the cast immediately went on hiatus. When they returned writers and producers decided to kill off Ritter’s character, as well.

According to Seattle Pi, the entire cast and crew thought it would be best to deal with Ritter’s death head-on. Not only did it pay homage to the late, great John Ritter, but it created a raw emotional episode that allowed the cast to grieve the loss of a coworker and friend. Ritter died at the age of 54 from an aortic aneurysm.

NewsRadio followed a similar format when Phil Hartman was tragically murdered in 1998. The writers decided to have Hartman’s character Bill die from a heart attack. The tribute episode opens with the cast returning from his memorial service, according to Decider.

They can try to carry on without mentioning it

When Brandon Lee died on the set of The Crow in 1993, many wondered how the movie would continue without him. While the entire cast was devastated by Lee’s death, it only seemed fitting to finish production. Using stunt doubles and special effects the team was able to tell the entire story. While such a stunt may work in a movie, which has a defined end, it would be much harder to pull off on a television series.

Brandon Lee
Actor Brandon Lee. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

According to The Los Angeles Times, Lee was struck by a projectile during a gunfight scene. Then 28, the actor was transported to the hospital but died later the same day. The team was nearing the end of filming when the accident occurred.

They could replace Perry with another actor

While it may seem cold, it’s possible that the production team may opt to replace Perry with another actor. Both Bewitched and Phyllis, popular shows from the 60s and 70s, battled through the death of actors with recasts. In Bewitched, the nosey neighbor Gladys Kravitz was recast after the original actress, Alice Pearce died from ovarian cancer.

The production company behind Phyliss, a spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show made the difficult decision to recast the character of Julie after the actress who played her, Barbara Colby, died in a drive-by shooting. Colby’s murder has never been solved.

Regardless of how the production team decides to deal with Perry’s death on the show, his absence will be felt by the cast and his long-time fans. Perry enjoyed an expansive Hollywood career, including several famous roles. His talent will be greatly missed.