Michele, Colfer and Monteith, who play Rachel Berry, Kurt Hummel and Finn Hudson, respectively, started as sophomores on "Glee" when the series debuted in 2009. Producer Ryan Murphy recently announced that they would graduate from McKinley High in realistic time.
"Here’s the exact thing: They're seniors. They're graduating. But that doesn't mean they're leaving the show," said Falchuk, the series' co-creator and executive producer, at the "Glee" Comic-Con panel in San Diego. "It was never our intention or plan to let these people go... They are not done with the show after this season.”
Falchuk also explained that a "Glee" spin-off depicting the three graduates in New York, trying to start careers on Broadway, was discussed but is unlikely.
Although the trio of stars will not be leaving the hit series, Chord Overstreet, who plays Sam Evans and was not picked up as a series regular, has declined his guest role. The actor was offered a deal to return for ten episodes with a possibility to become a regular at midseason, but turned down the offer.
“We wanted him back because we like Chord personally and had some good stories planned for him and with Mercedes (Amber Riley)," said Falchuk. "He decided he would have opportunities elsewhere that he would like to pursue, and we can’t force him to work. We told him to go with God.” Since Overstreet won't return to McKinley High, Riley's character, Mercedes, will introduce her new supportive boyfriend, whom she met over the summer. Also, in the upcoming season, there will be a major tribute episode, viewers will meet Mike Chang’s (Harry Shum) parents and the relationship between Kurt and Blaine will have moved past the "honeymoon phase."
The New Directions from McKinley High School will be back Sept. 20 when "Glee" returns to its Tuesday-night slot at 8 PM ET on Fox.