Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith will not be returning for the fourth season of Glee, according to show co-creator Ryan Murphy.
Murphy told Ryan Seacrest in June that the Glee stars entering their senior year at McKinley High would graduate at the end of season three.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Murhpy confirms that Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer “are not going to be back at all for Season 4″.
“You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic,” Murphy says, “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.”
And the actors are cool with it, says Murphy: “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.”
He continues: “I’m much more interested in Lea’s character – not so much on her relationship with Finn, but more on what her dreams are beyond high school and how she plans on getting them,” he adds. “That’s what my senior year was about.”
As for Monteith, he says he’s yet to discuss the casting changes with him but he assumes Monteith won’t be shocked at the news.
“He knows he was a sophomore when the show started,” Murphy explains.
However, a show insider told Access Hollywood the actors had “no idea” their time on the show was coming to an end.
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[Image credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com]