Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, and Chris Colfer Not Returning for Season 4 of GLEE

     July 13, 2011


While Glee creator Ryan Murphy has been talking quite a bit recently about how he’s planning on having a number of the show’s characters “graduate” after the upcoming third season of the show (in keeping with chronology, most characters began in season one as sophomores), it wasn’t known exactly which characters he was talking about or how many of the actors would be leaving the show. Well now Murphy has explicitly stated that the show’s three biggest stars, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer, will not be back for season 4:

“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.”

Murphy went on to say that “more characters are leaving than are staying.” Hit the jump for more of what the Glee mastermind has in store.

Being realistic is apparently the driving force behind Murphy’s decision, even though Jane Lynch’s character has perpetrated more than enough acts that would get any teacher or coach fired and/or jailed for a very long time. However, instead of blindly giving them the boot, Murphy did tell THR that he talked the decision over with a couple of his castmembers:

“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.”

The show recently just hired a writing staff for the upcoming third season (the previous two seasons were written entirely by the three creators/executive producers of the show: Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan). I found the first season of the series amusing, and somewhat different than your standard television fare, but the unevenness that rooted its head towards the end of season one took the front seat in season two, where the show pretty much delved into trainwreck territory following its Rocky Horror episode (the season’s highlight).

While it’s a bit of a shock for a highly successful show to boot its three biggest stars after only the third season, Michele, Monteith and Colfer should have no trouble finding work. Michele was a burgeoning Broadway star before joining Glee and has her first feature film appearance in the upcoming New Year’s Day. While Monteith isn’t really the best vocalist, his unassuming charm landed him a role in this summer’s teen-bait Monte Carlo, and Golden Globe-winner Colfer has written a feature film script called Struck By Lightning that Brian Dannelly is directing. Fellow castmember Dianna Agron will also presumably be leaving, but she’s in fine shape as she was the only redeemable quality in D.J. Caruso’s I Am Number Four.