We’ll start with the bad news first: Damian McGinty, the first of last year’s “The Glee Project” winners to appear on “Glee,” will not be returning for Season 4. The door’s never completely closed for anyone to come back, co-creator Brad Falchuk tells Zap2it before the show’s Comic-Con panel, but as of right now, McGinty is out.
With all of the seniors graduating on to bigger and better things, “we’re definitely going to repopulate the choir room,” Falchuk says. In addition to the “Glee Project” Season 2 winner, whom co-creator Ian Brennan says is “a real find and a big talent,” they’re also considering some of last year’s “TGP” contestants.
“We’re talking about some of the ‘Glee Project’ kids from last year. We love Alex [Newell] and we love Samuel [Larsen], but there are no guarantees about that. We’re casting some new people to bring in there because the idea is obviously always to keep that part of the show vibrant, fresh. So we’ll probably bring in a couple new people.”
Vanessa Lengies, who plays the ditzy Sugar Motta, is likely coming back and Chord Overstreet is in talks to become a series regular, but unfortunately Falchuk says, “Damian is not back this year.”
Would it soften the blow to know that the new people we meet are going to be dynamic and amazing?
“There’ll be some big voices we on tap,” Brennan reveals. “That’s the one thing we’re not
gonna be lacking, and really exciting new characters. We’re still
casting them, but we have really good options. Poor Robert Ulrich. He’s
perpetually got his work cut out for him. He’s the hardest working
casting director on the Earth.”
The first episode back will focus on the juniors of the glee club finally having the opportunity to step up to the plate as leaders. “It’s about the juniors now who are seniors finding their way in this new
world, and also Will trying to find what the new glee club is,” Falchuk says. “You can’t just turn and give the solo to Kurt or give
the solo to Rachel.”
He continues: “As we’re writing the scenes and the first few episodes, you get in there and you realize — we’re waiting to give Rachel a line, and she’s not there. It’s a much smaller group, which is kind of exciting for us because we can tell lead stories. The stories are going to be a little more intimate and a little more focused when you don’t have 12 people to support.”
The main struggle in writing Season 4, aside from getting the New Directions
ranks back up to the required 12-person minimum, is balancing the McKinley stories with the graduates’ new lives. “We need to bind the stories thematically,” Falchuk explains. “With all of the modern technology, it’s almost as if they’re in the same room, and they communicate that way. … Everybody knows everything that’s going on, so an assignment in the glee club one week could affect the choice Rachel might make on her assignment at school.”
But the graduates’ stories won’t always be tied up in the McKinley world. To Brennan, Season 4 “is about going from this very cozy, family environment where it’s all about following your dreams, and then all of a sudden that’s done and you’re expected to go out in the real world and try to make it work, try to pay rent. These kids are now sort of adults. What does it mean? What does it mean when you tell kids to ‘follow your dream no matter how hard it is’ and then It’s really hard? For us as writers that’s a very exciting thing to write about.”
“Glee” returns to FOX on Thursday, September 13 at 9 p.m.