"Part of what we're trying to explore now is what happens after you graduate high school and you become an adult: your life changes, and your expectations change, and it's really hard to maintain relationships, but not impossible," said Falchuk in a "Glee" press room at the annual convention. "We really want to challenge the characters a little bit more because high school is all about firsts, and we want them to have new firsts now: your first love out of high school, your first big breakup, your big breakup and reconciliation, there's a lot to it."
Rachel Berry, the show's leading lady played by Spring Awakening star Michele, will be thrown straight into classes at the fictional New York Academy of Dramatic Arts when the fourth season kicks off Sept. 13. There she will encounter a challenging NYADA professor played by recurring guest star Kate Hudson.
Meanwhile, Finn Hudson (Monteith) is planning on joining the Army — and unsure about his relationship status with Rachel — and Kurt Hummel (Colfer) is still in Lima, OH. Kurt will reappear at McKinley to help Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) repopulate the New Directions and visit his boyfriend, Blaine Anderson (How to Succeed's Criss). Producers hinted at an eventual Rachel-Kurt reunion in New York City.
Also returning to the show's fourth season will be "Glee Project" contestants Samuel Larsen (Joe Hart) and Alex Newell (Wade Adams/"Unique"), Vanessa Lengie (Sugar Motta), Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans), Naya Rivera (Santana Lopez) and NeNe Leakes (Roz Washington), among others. Damian McGinty (Rory Flanagan) will not return at the beginning of the season.
Characters joining the series include Puck's (Mark Salling) younger brother and Rachel's NYADA roommate as well as new East Coast friends for Rachel and additional New Directions at McKinley.
Also in the upcoming season audiences will meet Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) new baby; Santana (Rivera) will be a cheerleader at the University of Louisville; Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Mike (Harry Shum, Jr.) will work at their long-distance relationship; and the second episode will feature the music of Britney Spears.
"Glee" will air Thursday nights at 9 PM ET on Fox.