Ryan Murphy Reveals How "Glee" Will Handle Cory Monteith’s Death

After a week of silence, Glee creator Ryan Murphy spoke to Deadline about the death of Glee star Cory Monteith. Here’s what we now know about Glee’s plans for addressing Monteith’s death, and Murphy’s relationship with Monteith.

1. Glee will resume filming in late August with a two-part Beatles tribute episode.

Adam Rose / FOX

After consulting with the cast and crew, with a special focus on Monteith’s longtime girlfriend and co-star Lea Michele, it was decided that getting back to work was the best way of coping with Monteith’s death. “I understand that everyone has their own way of processing grief,” Murphy told Deadline. “Every possible option was explored, and what we did was look to the people who loved Cory, who worked with him most, and specifically Lea. This is what they wanted to do.” The Beatles episodes will not address Monteith’s absence.

2. The third episode of Glee will deal with the death of Finn, followed by a lengthy hiatus.

Eddy Chen / FOX

Murphy will co-write the episode with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. At this point, they have not started writing the episode, and they’re not sure what form it will take. Murphy did say that they will be consulting with Michele as a “creative barometer.”

UPDATE:
Falchuk and Brennan have not released statements about the episode they will be writing. A representative from 20th Century Fox tells us that they are likely not planning statements, as they generally allow Murphy to speak on behalf of Glee.

3. Fox put no pressure on Glee producers and left all decisions up to them.

Adam Rose / FOX

It’s unclear how long the hiatus will be following the episode dealing with Finn’s death, and the season as a whole may be truncated. Murphy stressed that the Fox execs put the decision-making to Murphy and his team, rather than pushing for a certain number of episodes of a specific return date. There was even talk of shutting down the show entirely.

UPDATE:
We reached out to 20th Century Fox for comment, but the network is not releasing a follow-up statement. Fox made a statement about Cory Monteith late last Saturday on behalf of Fox executives and Glee, but there was no mention of the future of the series.

4. Lea Michele has “blessed every decision.”

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Murphy has repeatedly consulted Michele on how to proceed, admitting to her that he wasn’t sure of the best course of action. “Lea blessed every decision,” Murphy said. “I don’t know how to write about the death of someone I love. She wanted people to be together. She and Cory were the young leads of that show, the A story. Lea has been a leader all through this difficult process.”

5. There will be a memorial for the cast and crew on the Paramount lot.

Fernando Leon / Getty Images

The memorial will occur some time this week. Murphy said they have also hired grief counselors to help the cast and crew during their first two weeks back on set.

6. Ryan Murphy staged the intervention that got Monteith back into rehab.

Michael Buckner / Getty Images

Murphy revealed that when he found out Monteith had relapsed with drugs, he staged an intervention in his office. “He said he wanted to finish the rest of the season, and I said absolutely not,” Murphy told Deadline. “We were not going to put a stupid TV show before his sobriety. I assured him he was not fired, that his job was secure, that he would leave today.” Murphy admitted that his relationship with Monteith was both friendly and combative, because Monteith was “a strong personality.” Murphy likened him to “an older son.”

7. The next season of Glee would have been Finn-heavy per Monteith’s wishes to keep working.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

As he struggled with sobriety, Monteith wanted to continue working, explaining that focusing on work helped him stay sober. “I told him that maybe he would go light on the work,” Murphy said. “He told me, ‘Work is my salvation.’ I thought that it would help him to be around people who were good influences, so we envisioned a season that was heavy with his Finn character.” As for what Glee will look like once it returns from its hiatus, that’s a discussion for further down the line.

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