The fifth season of “Glee” officially began production on Aug. 5, less than a month after the tragic death of Cory Monteith. The first two episodes feature the music of the Beatles, while the third episode will serve as a tribute to the fallen actor.
"Glee" co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy opened up to Deadline about returning to the show while still grieving for Monteith, what fans can expect to see in the first three episodes, the mood on the set and more.
“It’s been a difficult circumstance because we basically went straight from the memorial into [reworking] the two Beatles episodes, which I think are fun and optimistic, that we had always had planned,” Murphy said. “The hard part for all of us is that the past week we’ve been holed up writing the memorial episode.”
Murphy told Deadline the main issue for the writers was how to address the death of Monteith and his character, Finn Hudson. At one point, they toyed with the idea of mirroring real life, having the character die from an accidental drug overdose, but they eventually decided against it.
“Basically, what we’re doing in the episode is we are not telling you yet, or maybe not at all, how that character died,” Murphy revealed. “The idea being, how somebody died is interesting and maybe morbid, but we say very early on in the episode, ‘This episode is about a celebration of that character’s life.’ That might be weird for some people, but it felt really exploitative to do it any other way.”
Murphy said there’s been “tears on set” since the cast and crew began filming the new season. They started shooting the memorial episode this week and plan on sending it to 20th Century Fox for approval by the end of the week.
“I think it turned out to be a lovely tribute, and it’s a very heartfelt look at how young people grieve,” Murphy said. “After that, we’re going to take two weeks or three weeks down to get our heads together because it’s been a really hard thing to write. We loved Cory and we loved Finn, and it feels like a huge loss and a huge heartache not to have either of them around. We’re trying to craft an episode that’s not just about us grieving but about a lot of the young fans grieving."
The fifth season of “Glee” is set to premiere on Sept. 26.