Lea Michele Is Done With ‘Glee’

COMMENTARY | Lea Michele is done with Glee. This is purely speculation, and this really might not even be the appropriate time to suggest such a thing, but it dawned on me this morning that the 26-year-old actress no longer has any reason to stay with the hit FOX program.

In light of Cory Monteith’s death over the weekend, Michele (his show-and-real-life girlfriend) has gone into semi-seclusion and has asked for privacy while she mourns her 31-year-old co-star. She has not released a statement on Monteith’s death or her future with Glee.

But, the folks in charge of Glee immediately started talking about the future of the show. Fox and the show’s producers haven’t said anything yet, but sources say they’re in talks about how to address the abrupt removal of Monteith’s character.

The next season of Glee starts production at the end of the month, so there is pressure to figure out what they’re going to do (read about their options here).

But will Lea Michele return?

Many regular cast members, including Michele, have seen their roles reduced after their characters graduated high school in Season 3. Tim Kenneally of The Wrap opined that the show’s creators could feasibly allow Finn Hudson’s story arc to conclude where we last saw him: In college, refusing to return to the club.

In all likelihood, that’s exactly what they’ll do. They could find a way to work his death into the show (other shows have done it), but with Michele’s real-life romantic relationship with Monteith, it would seem tasteless.

Unless she leaves.

Really, Michele has no reason to stay anyway (aside from loyalty, possibly to hold out for an Emmy). She’s in demand, she’s talented, she can write her own check without Glee, and the show’s creators have long known it.

Staying with the show won’t make her strong, because she’ll either have to ignore the pain of Monteith’s absence if that’s what the story does, or weirdly, be required to “act” out Rachel’s mourning of Finn based on her real-life mourning of Monteith.

Of course, Glee could keep Monteith “alive” and just off-screen, but how awkward would that be?

She can really only leave and start over, and I really think that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk will let her. With Glee‘s Season 5 set to begin production in just a few weeks (and air in September) she’s in no condition to be a part of the show, and I think Murphy and Falchuk are expecting her notice.

Of course, this is all speculation and Lea Michele could pull the most triumphant return to Glee no one ever could have predicted. If anyone could do it, it’d be her.

I just don’t think she wants to, no one thinks she needs to, and she probably just won’t.

What do you think? Will Lea Michele return to Glee?