As huge Glee fans, the news that Cory Monteith, 31, was found dead in his Vancouver hotel room on July 13, left us reeling. The future of the show without him seems as unimaginable as Cory’s death is now. Nevertheless, “What comes next?” is a question show writers and producers are likely grappling with in the midst of their grief over the loss of one of their brightest stars.
While Cory’s character, Finn Hudson, was absent from the end of Season 4 due to Cory’s unexpected rehab stay in late March and April, all parties involved with the show seemed excited for his return in the fall. Filming for Season 5 is scheduled to resume later this month, but among the countless questions that accompany news this heartbreaking, we have several regarding what direction Glee should take going forward.
At this point, several scripts for Season 5 are likely in various stages of completion and will need to be rewritten — so how should Ryan Murphy and his creative team deal with this sudden and tragic loss?
At this early stage, we can only offer speculation and some unsolicited advice on what not to do. First, we implore you, Glee execs, do not recast a new actor as Finn. Cory Monteith and Finn Hudson are inextricable. Nobody else can or should play the role — period.
We also hope that Glee’s writers will not take a convenient out with Finn’s storyline. Sure, we suppose they could have him simply disappear forever to The University of Lima or reenlist in the Army and never return, but this again would fail to honor both the character and the man who played him.
To our minds, the only appropriate way to move on from this tragedy, onscreen and off — is to honor Cory’s life with honesty and emotion. We’re not entirely sure how this would look, especially on a show that hasn’t always dealt well with serious issues in the past. However, it seems clear to us that the only appropriate way to resolve Finn’s storyline is for fiction to mirror fact.
Though Glee has historically favored easy resolutions to tragic events — the death of Sue’s sister Jean in Season 2 and the Season 4 school shooting episode come to mind — this is one loss that can’t be brushed away in a single episode. Together, Finn and Rachel have always been the heart and soul of the show. We would be surprised and disappointed if the loss of Finn didn’t color the entirety of Season 5.
Whatever track the writers take, it will be a monumental undertaking. Even for a show that requires so much suspension of disbelief, we can’t imagine a storyline harder to believe than the death of Finn Hudson.