Exactly one week after Cory Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel, Glee creator Ryan Murphy is speaking out about how the hit Fox series will remember the actor who found fame as the series' lovable football player Finn Hudson. And, though some fans were hoping Glee would find a different way to wave goodbye to Finn, it seems the series will indeed kill off Monteith's character.
Murphy, who confirmed that the series will delay production in the wake of the actor's death, told Deadline Season 5's third episode will be a tribute episode for Monteith: "We will ... do an episode that will deal with the death of Finn’s character and follow that with a long hiatus."
That means following its Sept. 26 premiere, another already-shot episode, and the tribute episode, Glee will be off the air — and Murphy is unsure as to when exactly it will return. "We are trying our best with this attempt at damage control, he says. "We are planning a memorial for the cast and crew sometime this week on the Paramount lot."
But for fans worrying about Finn's fate should know that his tribute episode will be in good hands — not only will Murphy and fellow creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan be penning the episode, but they'll gather creative input from Lea Michele, Monteith's Glee co-star and real-life girlfriend. "Will we have a truncated season?" Murphy said. "I just don’t know yet. Lea blessed every decision. I told her even I don’t know what to do. 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."
And, according to Murphy, the process has been difficult for everyone on the set, including the creator himself, who said he attempted to help Monteith get help before his death. "Cory wasn’t just an actor on one of my shows, he was very important to me, and I was very invested in his sobriety," he said. "When I heard what was happening to him, I organized an intervention and got him into rehab last March. We socialized and we also fought, because while he was a lovely sweet guy, he was also a leader on the set, a strong personality and the only analogy I can think of is that he felt like an older son to me."
But, with Murphy on hand to help Monteith through his recovery process — the actor checked into rehab in March 2013 — what went wrong? "The last couple of months, all indications were that he’d gone through the steps, he went to one place where it didn’t work and then he went to another, but there was still a lot of concern," he said. "A couple of weeks ago, he and Lea came to Fire Island where we were shooting The Normal Heart, and I honestly couldn’t tell what was going on with him. He didn’t seem quite himself, but when I confronted him he claimed he was clean."
Murphy said he was even hoping for a Finn-heavy Season 5 in order to keep the actor around cast and crew who proved to be good influences on Monteith. Still, Murphy and the rest of Glee's writing room thinks a tribute to the actor could help "save the life" of a viewer plagued with substance abuse struggles, regardless of fans claiming production on Season 5 is starting too soon. "For many of the people we work with who are very young, and also for the fans of the show, this is probably the first time they have experienced death, and that was not lost on any of us here," Murphy said. "I understand that everyone has their own way of processing grief. 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."