“Glee” was set to return to Fox this fall for its fifth season, but the tragic death of star Cory Monteith left the series with a gaping hole, as well as a devastated cast and fan base. With production on the show pushed back to August and the premiere date moved to Sept. 26, how will “Glee” deal with Cory Monteith’s death?

Delayed Production

“Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy recently revealed to TVLine that the decision to begin production with a comparatively short delay came from Lea Michele, Monteith’s on- and off-screen girlfriend. Michele reportedly wanted to get the cast and crew back together “sooner [rather] than later so that mortgages could be paid and people could take care of their families.” They will still take time to mourn the loss of their co-worker and friend, though, with grief counselors to be available for two weeks upon their return.

The Start Of Season Five

When the cast and crew do begin production, they won’t immediately be tackling the absence of Monteith’s character, Finn. In May, “Glee” writers completed two Beatle tribute episodes, something that had been in the works for four years. “What we decided to do for the cast and crew was start shooting with something we had already written,” Murphy explained.

After the first two episodes, the show’s third episode will deal with Finn’s death -- something currently being written. “It has to be done very carefully and with a lot of taste and really making sure that it’s a tribute to Cory,” Murphy said of the difficulty of addressing the death of the character.

But just because it’s the third episode of the season doesn’t mean that they’ll shoot it in that order. “We really have to see how everybody feels,” Murphy continued. “We’re going to take a long writers’ hiatus after that episode to refigure the season and continue to take care of the cast and crew and work on setting things up in Cory’s honor -- scholarships, what have you -- because that’s something we’re dedicated to doing.”

Lea Michele

While it is a difficult time for everyone on set, many have been worried about Lea Michele’s return after the death of her boyfriend. “Lea is obviously very grief-stricken, but she’s also one of the strongest people I know,” Murphy told TVLine. “She wants people to be better and get back to work. So that’s what we’re going to do.”

But, as Murphy explained, Monteith’s tragedy is something they’ve been dealing with “for many months.” He said of Monteith’s addiction, “It’s a disease, and, unfortunately, the disease flared up.” According to Murphy, they staged an intervention with Monteith, which is why the actor was missing from the season-four finale.

“Lea was very instrumental in trying to save his life and get him the help that he needed, and I think for everyone, including myself and her, it’s just a shock,” he said of Monteith’s sudden passing. Speaking of Michele’s strength moving on, he said: “She’s been a rock for many people as well. I’ve never, ever met a 26-year-old girl or boy who’s capable of doing what she’s done in the past week.”

“Glee” returns for its fifth season Sept. 26. The Fox series will air the two Beatles episodes and Finn’s tribute episode before taking a hiatus.