‘Glee’ Creator Ryan Murphy Talks Cory Monteith Tribute, How Lea Michele Decided The Show’s Future

Christina Lee | July 21, 2013 8:08 am

The July 13 death of Glee star Cory Monteith has prompted questions from viewers and critics alike: Will Glee pay homage to the star? How will his death affect the show’s direction? What happens to Monteith’s character, jock-turned-glee club star Finn Hudson?

Glee creator Ryan Murphy spoke to select outlets July 20, to answer these questions and reveal how the show’s cast and crew — specifically, co-star and girlfriend Lea Michele — have coped with Monteith’s death. He said that Glee will air a tribute episode before the show takes an “extended hiatus” to figure out its future. One thing is for sure, Finn Hudson will not be recast.

“The right thing to do for the show, at least at this point, is to have that character pass,” Murphy said to The Hollywood Reporter. “When we do the tribute episode to that character, we’ll have to do it in a way where the cast members will not have to re-create feelings of grief that they’ve had this week — but do it in an upbeat way. If we can do this responsibly and help young people through these feelings, that’s the best that we can hope for.”

Glee‘s fifth season kicks off September 26, just one week after its originally scheduled debut. To start, Fox will air three episodes before its hiatus: a long planned, two-episode Beatles tribute, then its Monteith tribute. Ultimately, Glee‘s cast and crew wanted to reconvene as soon as possible — this time with grief counselors on set — because everyone wanted to grieve without feeling isolated or alone.

“[O]ur position was, do we go off the air permanently? Do we go off the air until November? Do we start shooting again in January?” Murphy said to E!. “But the thing that we ultimately found was that our cast and crew wanted to be together, they wanted to go back to work, they wanted to sort of be in a place where they could all remember and discuss Cory sooner than later.”

Murphy also considered ending Glee for good, but instead he turned to Michele to help determine the show’s fate. “If Lea had said to me, ‘I could never do this again and I don’t want to do this again,’ you know, she is sort of the show, so what do you do?” he said to E!. “And I would’ve, out of respect to her as a person, said ‘OK,’ but that’s not how Lea operates; that’s not how she feels.”