Gleeks were out in full force at Comic-Con on Sunday, to catch a glimpse of their favorite Glee stars Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz and Naya Rivera. The panel opened with a lengthy montage chronicling the impact of the show regarding gay issues, especially in regards to helping teens comes to terms with who they are, and the many accolades and awards presented to the cast. The entire cast returns for Season 4, but the focus of the show will expand beyond McKinley High School and Ohio, as the show follows all the seniors who graduated while they tackle life in the real world.
Writer Ian Brennan and actress Lea Michele spoke with press, prior to the panel, to shed some light on what fans can expect in Season 4. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
IAN BRENNAN: We’ve got all of our cast back. They will be in and out. We’ll be in New York, a lot of the time. It’s going to be interesting to see who comes back where and when.
What will the split be like, between New York and Ohio?
BRENNAN: It’s not going to be much different than it was when it was between McKinley and Dalton. It’s not difficult to tell stories in different places. All of our shows are linked together, thematically. Going into the writing of it, we were wondering if it was going to work, and it worked immediately. It should be fairly seamless, and it’s going to be exciting to be able to tell both stories. I think people are going to be pleased, and it will be pretty smoothly integrated.
Will Rachel be in every episode?
BRENNAN: I can’t picture her not being in every episode. She’s the soul of the story. It’s going to be interesting, throwing her in college.
Lea, are you up to the challenge of Rachel having her own storyline, away from glee club and high school?
LEA MICHELE: It’s really exciting! It’s a challenge, and I’m excited to take it on. I think fans are going to be excited to see Rachel in New York and in college. I definitely think she’s not going to be alone that long, and will be surrounded by some familiar faces, very soon.
Can you talk about the decision to break up Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel in the finale, and where they are in Season 4?
MICHELE: We have a pretty good idea, but I think they want to see what it’s like to be apart for a little while. I think that’s the dance where they pull them apart and bring them back together. I love working with Cory, so I’m sad we don’t get to work together too much. But, they will always be involved with one another, whether or not they are dating.
Lea, in terms of where your character is this next season – alone and in a new city – are you hoping she picks herself up quickly?
MICHELE: I think Rachel Berry works best when she is against all odds. When she has to fight her way through something and when everything is against her is when she really rises to the top. I think, starting this season, she is going to be alone. She’s in a new environment, but I definitely think that’s going to get her to a really great place.
Ian, will Kurt (Chris Colfer), Santana (Naya Rivera) and the others who graduated still be in a lot of the episodes?
BRENNAN: I can’t give numbers of who has how many episodes, but there’s nobody who is not going to be back. That’s what’s really cool. They have all gone to the four winds, so we can catch up with people. We can have this core story at McKinley, and then branch out into these different characters, as they encounter the real world that glee club has been promising them. What is the real world like, when you follow your dreams?
MICHELE: Naya [Rivera] and I have been campaigning, for a really long time, for Rachel and Santana to live together in New York. Maybe that will happen. And, I don’t think you can keep Kurt and Rachel apart for long.
Is it going to be strange, not being with all of the cast when you start filming?
MICHELE: It will be different because we would be in the choir room together, every single day, and it’s going to be more like I will be in a different location, but we’ll all still be around. We may not be shooting together as much, but you can’t keep us away from one another.
Can you talk about new characters who are coming onto the show?
BRENNAN: We’ve got Jake, who is the new bad boy that just appears at the school. Kate Hudson will play Rachel’s dance teacher at NYADA. It’s a really funny, interesting, eccentric character that is going to allow Kate to sing and dance. We also have Sarah Jessica Parker in New York, which is going to be awesome. She’s got an amazing voice that I haven’t heard in awhile.
MICHELE: I am so excited! I am one of her biggest fans. I think she is an incredible comedic actress. I love her mom (Goldie Hawn). I’m nervous. It’s so great to go into Season 4 and be excited. I’m going to play a character in a new location with Kate Hudson. It’s really great!
Are there any big artists that viewers can expect this season?
BRENNAN: I can’t say who it is, but there is an artist big enough that it’s going to take two episodes, in the back half of the season. That’s how large his catalog is.
To catch up on all of our Comic-Con 2012 coverage, click here.