UPDATE: On July 20, Glee creator Ryan Murphy confirmed to TV Line that Lea WILL be returning to Glee for Season 5. "We laid out every possible option. And she was very adamant that she thought it was best for the cast and crew to get back together [...] Cory was so beloved that she felt people really needed to be together in this time. So we sort of followed her lead," Ryan says. "Lea is obviously very grief-stricken but she’s also one of the strongest people I know. She wants people to be better and get back to work. So that’s what we’re going to do."
UPDATE: Nothing is confirmed either way just yet, but Hollywood Life is quoting a "source close to the series" who tells them that Lea Michele is not leaving Glee after boyfriend Cory Monteith's death. "Producers are wrapping their heads around all aspects of how to move the show forward and will respect Lea’s wishes in their hopes to make the show as special moving forward as it was in the past," the source says. "They are family and they will all get through it together. Being together on the show should actually be a godsend.”
Since the news of Cory Monteith’s (Finn) death broke, we’ve had one big question on our mind: How will Lea Michele (Rachel) ever recover from this devastating loss? The two co-stars fell in love while working together on Glee, and though their characters have gone through rough patches, they supported one another in real life until Cory’s tragic end.
Although filming already started for Season 5 of Glee, we have to wonder if Lea will be returning to the show when it resumes filming this week. Before you panic that we might lose the other half of Finchel, let’s take a minute to consider both sides.
Why wouldn’t Lea return to Glee? Well, we can’t imagine how hard it would be for her to step back onto set without Cory. Though Finn and Rachel didn’t share many scenes during Season 4, the ones they did were intense and reflective of their long and storied relationship — on and off screen. The two stars met on Glee, and their stars rose together. Fans fell in love with them as actors and characters, both as a fictional and real life couple. Imagine the agony of having to play Rachel without Finn, representing the terrible, tragic, unspeakable loss of the love of your life every time you have to step on set.
But while this sounds like agony, there’s another side of things to consider. First, no statement has been made either way about Lea’s return to Glee, so it’s still a hypothetical scenario.
More importantly, Glee is more than just a show about kids who sing and fall in love and live in Ohio (and New Haven, LA, NYC, etc). Its success has belonged cooperatively to both its stars and its fans. Gleeks are recognized and celebrated by showrunners, stars, and outsiders who see their dedication and love for the show.
When Cory left rehab in April, his first public return was a thanks to fans on Twitter for supporting him during his recovery time. Lea, too, reached out to thank fans for continuing to love and support her partner during this trying time. She knows how much fans cared about Cory and how much they still care about her. It would be hard to imagine that she would leave the fans she loves in their time of need.
Mostly, we’re afraid that we can’t take both Cory and Lea not being on the show. It’s already impossible for us to imagine Glee without Cory. He is one half of the show’s essence: the kid who didn’t know he had the talent but whose realization inspires others. Lea is the other half: the tenacious and ambitious star who needs that other kid to show that she’s more than just a great singer. In real life, we can imagine that their love was similarly supportive and symbiotic.
We love both Lea and Rachel, and we will love her no matter what she decides to do, but we can’t imagine a Glee without Rachel. Can you? What would you do if you were in her shoes? We welcome all of your thoughts and reflections in the comments section. #RIPCoryMonteith