“His legacy is gonna live on in the lives around him, that he worked with, you know?” the 21-year-old actor shared. “I’m never gonna forget him and I think it’s still very fresh and we’re all still dealing with it.”
Apa added that his character’s mother — played by Molly Ringwald — may become a bigger part of the show.
“We’re definitely gonna obviously have to address it at some point,” he said. “Whether that’s Molly stepping in as more of an active parent for Archie — again, that depends on the availability of the actors around us. So we’ll do what we can.”
“It’s not every day you come across a guy like Luke,” he 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.”
Apa said the late actor treated him like a son while on set, making sure he always felt safe, comfortable and loved.
“He would call my parents every week and keep them updated on how I’m doing,” said Apa. “If I had a cold or something he’d be like, ‘I got him, I brought some Gatorade to his apartment the other day.’ “
“He made such a huge effort from the very beginning,” Apa continued. “I wish I could be like that.”
According to a copy of his death certificate obtained by PEOPLE, Perry was buried in Dickson, Tennessee, one week after his death. The actor was a part-time resident of Tennessee and had owned a farm there since 1995.
After news broke of Perry’s untimely death, Apa posted a touching to tribute to Instagram. He shared a photo of Perry smiling while riding on a boat with the caption, “Rest in love bro.”
“That’s my favorite photo of Luke,” Apa told Fallon. “I just think he’s in complete and utter peace in that photo. He’s living the dream.”
On last Wednesday’s episode of Riverdale, Perry appeared in his final moments on the show, during which his character Fred Andrews comforted Archie (Apa) after he was accused of committing a crime.
It’s not clear how Fred’s storyline will end, but Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa revealed that the episode was the last one that the actor filmed.
“This week’s #Riverdale is the last episode Luke filmed,” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of Perry as Archie’s dad. “As always, Fred’s imparting words of wisdom to Archie. A beautiful, true moment between a father and his son.”
“Wish these scenes could go on forever…,” he added.
In March, Aguirre-Sacasa said the show plans to address Perry’s death through his onscreen character, though no official decisions about how the narrative will unfold had been made at that time.
“You know, honestly, we are I think all still in shock and are all still processing and grieving,” he said. “We know that we have to address it in some way, but we’re giving ourselves a little bit of time and space before we figure out the best way to honor him.”