In the season's opening episode, "It's fall and that means back to school for the students and faculty at McKinley High," according to Fox. "The New Directions clan returns after a devastating loss at Nationals, so Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) assigns a project to get them back on track. Meanwhile, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) starts her congressional campaign."
Other cast members returning for the third season include Lea Michele as Rachel Berry, Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson, Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones, Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Kevin McHale as Artie Abrams, Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina Cohen-Chang, Mark Salling as Noah Puckerman, Dianna Agron as Quinn Fabray, Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez, Heather Morris as Brittany S. Pierce, Harry Shum, Jr. as Mike Chang, Darren Criss as Blaine Anderson, Ashley Fink as Lauren Zizes and Jayma Mays as Emma Pillsbury.
As previously reported, Tony Award winner Idina Menzel will return in episode two of season three, airing Sept. 27. She will reprise her role as Rachel Berry's (Michele) mother, Shelby Corcoran, for a multi-episode arc.
Also set to appear this season are Emmy Award winner Valerie Mahaffey and Don Most, who will play the parents of guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Mays); Keong Sim and Tamlyn Tomita, who play the parents of Mike Chang (Shum, Jr.); Mercedes' (Riley) new supportive boyfriend; the two winners of “The Glee Project,” Samuel Larsen and Damian McGinty; and the runner-up contestants, Alex Newell and Lindsay Pearce, who will be given a two-episode spotlight.
In the upcoming season, Mike Chang (Shum) will be given two songs within the first four episodes; Will Schuester (Morrison) and Emma Pillsbury (Mays) are together and have become closer; Lauren Zizes (Fink) cuts ties with the group, but in later episodes, will have a major story with Colfer's character, Kurt; and the tribute episode will be two hours long and air in the spring. "Glee" airs Tuesday nights on Fox at 8 PM ET.