While the hallways of  William McKinley High School will be echoing with the sweet lyrical sounds of New Directions in Glee season 3, fans of the series better prepare for a major change that’s coming next year, as series creator Ryan Murphy has revealed that fan-favorites Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith won’t be returning for season 4.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy spoke about wanting to maintain a level of realism with the series, and how the fictional graduation (and actual departure) for Kurt Hummel, Finn Hudson and Rachel Berry is the best way to secure that fact: Murphy notes, “You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic, or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year.”

Despite the obvious truths that Murphy speaks of, many fans will certainly be unhappy with three of the series’ favorite characters leaving at the end of season 3. Unfortunately, a graduating class of three isn’t realistic either – even if the series only focuses on a select few members of the student body – so prepare for other cast members to be leaving. As Murphy plainly lays out, “more characters are leaving than are staying.” For those interested on who else will be given a fictional farewell, Murphy promises that all will be revealed in the Sept. 20 Glee season 3 premiere.

Fortunately, the planned graduation of the series’ famed trio won’t catch the actors off-guard, as Murphy ran his plan by two of the three axed cast members.

Murphy explains:

“We made that decision and I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea. They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top.”

What about Cory Monteith? Well, he wasn’t exactly brought in on the process like his soon-to-be former cast mates. In fact, Murphy just assumes that Monteith knows his time on the series is up. “He knows he was a sophomore when the show started”, Murphy notes.

As for Glee season 3, fans can expect this season to focus on the graduating class, and their plans after high school. With production currently underway for the upcoming season, Murphy says that they’re already creating storylines that will include some of the departing character’s parents showing up to help them with the collegiate plans.


One of these people just found out that they’re getting fired

Even though fans are likely to be saddened by the news that Michele, Colfer and Monteith will be leaving, one can’t fault Murphy for wanting to keep the series honest in it’s handling of the characters’ stories. Of course, since Glee has maintained a similarity with the hit-creating Disney machine, which creates pop sensations and then cleans the slate in order to start over, it’ll be interesting to see how these departures impact the series. Considering the fact that the audience that watches Glee isn’t made up of the same age group that Disney has made its riches with, one shouldn’t be surprised if Glee takes a ratings hit because of it.

While the lyrical sensations and marketing ingenuity between Glee and the numerous Disney hits may be similar, the older audience that Glee entertains on a weekly basis has loftier expectations for their favorite series – specifically, they actually care about the characters (and their musical talent). Despite the fact that it can be said that Disney’s younger audience certainly enjoys the characters of their favorite of-the-moment Disney push, they’re much more entertained by the overall premise and supplement additions (i.e. music, products) than the actual storytelling involved.

Coming to an unemplyoment line near… Well, not near you.

Of course, if you’re of the group that follows the law that is Murphy’s, you’ll have to rely on the notion that Glee is absolutely original in every way. As Murphy says, “We’ve never done anything by the book.” I suppose that statement is said in ignorance of the precedence that both Disney and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have set by doing what Glee is currently doing for many years previously.

That being said, Sue Sylvester: 3; New Directions: -3

Glee season 3 premieres September 20 on Fox

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

source: The Hollywood Reporter