As for why they're adding new people with a cast that's already so big, Ian explained, "We've belabored the notion that you have to have 12 people in a Glee club. We made a point of that, and now it's down to like, five or six. It's great tonally for the show, because they're back to being underdogs again. And the gloss of them having won Nationals lasted about 30 seconds, so it's a good reboot for the show. It lines up tonally with Rachel now being a tiny fish in a huge pond now, really trying to make it in New York, and Kurt is sort of lost and really has no plans. We don't know where he's going. And Finn has disappeared, and they sort of know he's off at boot camp, but no one has heard from him. So, it's an exciting place to start the show from. It feels different. It feels new, and just great."
With so many changes, did the writers have any apprehension about executing it? "We were nervous!" Ian said. "I was nervous. It wasn't something we were relishing. We knew that this was coming. Look, there’s several ways we could have done the show. We could have done it like MASH where the Korean War goes on for 10 years and no one seems to care, or, honor the fact that this is high school and you move through milestones and at a certain point it all ends. It just seems like early on, we were like, 'That’s what the show is,' so we were stuck with it. We’re going to lose some of these people and it was a scary thing, because you want to them to stay forever. What we realized is that we’re getting much more, keeping the characters and giving them much richer storylines. It ended up being great. We took some extra time, the writers didn’t take a hiatus — we took a week —we just worked through to make sure we knew that this format would work."
More details are coming in from San Diego Comic-Con 2012, with producers and cast from Glee gathering to dish on what viewers can expect in Season 4. Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with producer Ian Brennan at the Entertainment Weekly party, where — in addition to talking about how Kurt and Blaine's relationship will work as a long-distance thing — he also spilled details on the show's upcoming guest stars, how Rachel (Lea Michele) will fare in New York, and how much screen time all the other graduated students will get!
"This year we have so much to talk about," Ian told Wetpaint Entertainment. "There's always hesitation, like, 'What's the scoop?' but there are so many spoilers that we have coming up that we want to keep the lid on. What's great is that we get to revamp the show a litlte bit. Rather than being stuck in Lima like we've been for three years, with just the same environment, we're now going to be a little bit of New York, a little bit of L.A. It's going to be exciting. It's exciting for us as writers, and it's taken a load off. And everybody who wants to stay on the show is still on the show. We're not losing anybody."
Sound like a major juggling act? Ian said that while they'll be "telling people's stories intermittently," they'll also be bringing new people on. "Kate Hudson and Sarah Jessica Parker," he said, "who are both awesome, and really exciting, really funny characters. They're both going to be singing and dancing. And what we don't know yet is that we've got sort of three, possibly four new students. But we don't really know who they are yet. We're sort of in the middle of it. But we'd be lucky to have any of the candidates that we've got. It's already an embarrassment of riches."
Read on for more!
And aside from Finn, Rachel, and Kurt, will we be seeing more of the other graduated students? Ian said yes — sort of. "It depends," he said. "I mean, honestly, it won't be much different than about the level at which we told stories before. It was just that they were in the choir room, and now they won't be, but I think it will actually feel very similar to how the show has felt. That's the hope. In the scripts, it'll look different because suddenly you'll be in New York City, but all these stories dovetail and the characters are going through similar things, so I think it will be similar to how we've done it in the past. I think it will be pretty even-handed, definitely, between New York and McKinley, but also between the students there and introducing new characters, which we do a ton in the first couple of scripts. Right away, you meet two or three brand new characters out of nowhere, which is super exciting, and we've yet to really pick who those people are."
Don't expect all those to be McKinley students, though, since Ian says that NYADA will also see some new faces. "A couple of them," he said. "[NYADA] is another place we need to populate. It's going to be good. We're building new sets. It's very exciting!"