How Will ‘Glee’ Handle Cory Monteith’s Death?

Though mourning for actor Cory Monteith has only just begun, many are starting to wonder how Glee will handle his character after the 31-year-old’s real-life death.

Glee is set to go back into production at the end of July, but without one of its biggest stars. Both Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox, which produce Glee, aren’t entirely sure what to do yet. Do they stall production? Do they keep going as scheduled?

Neither would comment, but a source told The Wrap that they’re still trying to figure out how to handle Monteith’s departure from the show before they make any solid decisions…

… Which passes the ball to executive producers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Neither have said anything on Cory Monteith’s death yet, through a statement or on Twitter.

Several shows have found ways to continue without crucial characters. The sitcom 8 Simple Rules filled John Ritter’s absence with James Garner and David Spade, explaining that Ritter’s character had died suddenly off-screen.

NewsRadio continued with Jon Lovitz after Phil Hartman was murdered, with Lovitz’s character coming aboard as a former colleague of Hartman’s.

The suicide of Freddie Prinze troubled 70s sitcom Chico and the Man, with an awkward explanation that he had abruptly left for Mexico to visit family offered. Later in the season, the father of his character broke down and admitted that he had died.

So what can Glee do? Last season left off with his character, Finn Hudson, graduating and attending college. His final episode shows him at Ohio’s Lima University, turning down an offer to return to help the club.

“There’s just some things that you can’t come back from,” Hudson says. “It’s a nice offer, but as you can see, I’m pretty busy with college.”

That’s pretty much where they have to leave him. Re-casting Finn Hudson is out of the question, and would look incredibly disrespectful to Monteith’s memory. Weaving his off-screen death into the show would get some emotional weight out of real-life girlfriend Lea Michele, but that’s pretty cheap and I doubt the show runners are unkind and obtuse like that.

As abrupt, unsatisfying and closure-less as his final appearance was, Finn Hudson has to be left in relative obscurity at Lima. It might not be the ending we wanted, but it’s also a pretty realistic ending if you ask me. People leave for their own reasons in real life all the time. The explanation you get might not make sense to you, and you might not even get one at all.

Perhaps William Schuester’s “Oh, Finn isn’t coming back” and the season opener being dedicated to Cory Monteith’s memory is the best Glee can do.

[Image via: DFree / Shutterstock]