There was much Glee to be had in the Indigo Room at the Comic-Con on Saturday evening, as TVLine Editor-in-Chief Michael Ausiello led a panel discussion featuring series regulars Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Darren Criss, Naya Rivera, Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, plus executive producers Brad Falchuk, Ian Brennan and Dante Di Loreto.
Read on for highlights from the panel discussion.
PERFECT HARMONY | Though some of New Directions peeled off in different directions at the close of Season 3, all of the series regulars will be returning for the new run — in some capacity. Plus, as rumored, Chord Overstreet is thisclose to finalizing a deal to become a series regular for Season 4. Lastly, Glee Project alums Samuel Larsen and Alex Newell are in talks to return.
TIME JUMP | As tradition with the show, about three months will have passed on screen when the new season picks up.
BRITNEY TRIBUTE | Falchuk confirmed that a second Britney Spears tribute will air this fall — specifically, in Episode 2. And yes, Heather Morris will be at the center of it — and Rachel. “We were able to take the Britney Spears-themed episode in the choir room and have it in New York and see how that affects the Rachel story line,” Falchuk said. In a similar fashion, expect the thematic events that take place at McKinley to extend to other characters whose story lines are taking place out of state. “An assignment for the glee club one week could affect a choice Rachel might make with an assignment at school,” he said, noting that modern technology could help tie story lines together. “We’ve been using that as a way to bind it.”
RACHEL | The big city won’t be so kind to Rachel. “Now she’s starting fresh [with] the challenges of New York and being there alone,” previewed Falchuk. When the season picks up, it’ll be the start of the school year at NYADA, where dancing proves to be particularly problematic for Rachel. Enter Kate Hudson as her new teacher, who’s got a very different technique than Mr. Schuester. “[It's] one based on negative reinforcement,” teased the EP. “Rachel has to get used to that.” For her part, Michele is “really excited to see her in a big city, interacting with new people.” Lea is, however, excited by the idea of seeing “[Rachel Berry] in a school with 1,800 Rachel Berry’s” – and while she’ll be surrounded by other like-minded ladies, Rachel won’t have anything resembling a strong support system. When the new season starts, her BFF Kurt will still be in Lima, her ex-BF Finn will be in the army and Santana is a cheerleader at The University of Louisville.
FINN | “He’s the real big question mark when [Season 4] starts,” shared EP Brennan. Added Falchuk, “He went off on this adventure [into the army] and nobody really knows what’s happened to him.” As for whether that means we’ll see Finn with a shaved head, Monteith said he’s “up for the challenge.” Michele, meanwhile, will still be struggling to with what to do with the way the pair parted ways. “We’re starting with she’s not knowing where things stand,” the actress says, noting she’ll be weighing what Finn “setting her free” truly means and pondering if she should date other people.
KURT | It looks like Kurt is staying put – for now. Having been rejected by his dream school, he’s still in Lima, unsure of what he wants to do, when the season picks up. But with Rachel in New York, it can’t be too long before he finds his way to the Big Apple, right? “Those two are best friends,” replied Falchuk, tellingly. “It would be hard to keep them apart.”
NEW FACES | There will be a lot of new faces joining the series in Season 4 — including Puck’s younger brother and a roommate for Rachel that nobody has met before as well as new East Coast friends for the ex-New Directions star. “We’re definitely looking to repopulate the choir room and casting some new people to bring in there, the idea is to keep that part of the show vibrant,” Falchuk said. As for who they’re looking at: “a lot of big voices,” Brennan teased.
POOR FABRERRY | Falchuck confessed during the panel that he has written a Rachel-Quinn (Dianna Agron) scene five different times, and each time it had to be cut from the episode.
The Winner of the Panel: Darren Criss, for his off-the-cuff comment after a fan wondered whether the show would represent “Jewishness” in a more effective way. Things got somewhat awkward as the producers skirted around the question, but Criss broke the tension. Joking about his facial scruff, which Lea Michele had already called out earlier in the panel, Criss laughed, “‘I’m actually a rabbi this season.”
With production yet to begin on Season 4, the panel opened with a reel created by an Italian fan with footage from the first three seasons, behind the scenes and concert footage from the cast’s world tour and subsequent movie that elicited loud roars from the vocal ballroom.
Glee’s fourth season premieres Thursday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. on Fox. Hit the comments with what you’re looking forward to seeing.