Glee Shocker: Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer Not Returning For Season 4

Brace yourselves, Gleeks.

Glee exec producer Ryan Murphy just told The Hollywood Reporter that not only will Rachel, Finn and Kurt graduate from McKinley High at the end of the upcoming third season, but all three of their portrayers — Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer — are “not going to be back at all for Season 4.”

That’s right, kids. He said At. All.

“You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic,” he added, “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.

“We’ve never done anything by the book,” Murphy continued. “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.”

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Murphy goes on to acknowledge that unlike Colfer and Michele, he has yet to discuss any of this with Monteith. But it shouldn’t come as much of a shock since the actor knew Finn “was a sophomore when the show started.”

The Glee boss first floated the graduation plot in an interview last month with Ryan Seacrest, although he stopped short of saying any of the actors would be written off the show permanently. Murphy later told TVLine that he would be open to the idea of possibly spinning some of the characters off into their own show — perhaps an hour-long series about a group of young artists (namely Rachel and Kurt) who head to New York City to pursue their musical theater dreams.

“It’s an interesting idea,” he said at the time. “The questions are ‘How would we do it? And when would we do it?’ It would have to be something I would talk about to [Fox bigwigs] Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly and [20th Century Fox brass] Dana Walden and Gary Newman. What we’re trying to do now — maybe those discussions will happen around December — we’re just now trying to do the first 10 episodes.”

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