Lea Michele, Cory Monteith & Chris Colfer Leaving 'Glee'

Show creator Ryan Murphy explains that it's almost time for some of the New Directions to leave McKinley High

Glee lovers will be singing a very sad tune come the end of next season, when three of the show's leading actors exit their roles. Glee creator Ryan Murphy has confirmed that Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), and Chris Colfer's (Kurt Hummel) characters will be graduating from McKinley High at the end of season 3 and won't be back the following year.

"You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic," Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter. "Or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year."

Murphy spoke with both Michele, 24, and Colfer, 21, about his thoughts on writing them off before he went ahead and planned for their exit.

"I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea," he says. "They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top."

As for Monteith, Murphy says he doubts the 29-year-old will be shocked by his decision to have Finn move on with his life. "He knows he was a sophomore when the show started," Murphy explains.

But the goodbyes won't stop with just these three. Murphy teases that "more characters are leaving than are staying," and that we'll just have to wait until the show's Sept. 20 premiere to find out who else is getting ready to sing their swan song.

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Glee fans. Earlier this month we learned Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans) wouldn't be returning for season 3, and now comes this news that the show will be losing Monteith, Michele, and Colfer. We just hope that whoever Murphy finds to replace them has as much appeal.

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