'Glee' Co-Creator Says Series Should Have Ended After Cory Monteith's Death

In hindsight, Ryan Murphy feels the show should have taken a different approach in honoring Monteith, who died in 2013 at age 31.
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Over its six-season run, “Glee” introduced a generation of fans to musical theater and catapulted much of its young cast to stardom. The show’s co-creator, however, has some surprising thoughts on its conclusion.

In an appearance on the “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” podcast this week, Ryan Murphy said he now believes “Glee” should’ve ended in 2013, after actor Cory Monteith’s sudden death.

“If I had to do it again, we would’ve stopped for a very long time and probably not come back,” Murphy, a six-time Emmy winner, told podcast co-hosts Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, both “Glee” veterans.

Monteith was a principal member of the “Glee” cast when the series debuted in 2009. He played Finn Hudson, a football jock who discovers a passion for music when he’s forced to join his high school’s glee club. In July 2013, the actor died from a combination of drug and alcohol toxicity at age 31.

At the time, “Glee” addressed Monteith’s death with a special Season 5 episode titled “The Quarterback,” in which the character of Finn died from an unspecified cause. The series itself ended in 2015, following the conclusion of its sixth season.

Murphy now admits this may not have been the best approach.

Cory Monteith (left) and Ryan Murphy in 2011.
Cory Monteith (left) and Ryan Murphy in 2011.
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images

“It happened so quickly with no warning ... It’s an episode I was able to watch once, and I never looked at it again,” Murphy explained. If faced with a similar situation on one of his current Hollywood projects, he added, “I would be like, ‘That’s the end’ ... Because you can’t really recover from something like that.”

Ushkowitz, who played Tina Cohen-Chang on “Glee,” agreed.

“It just felt like an impossible corner we were all put in,” she said. “There’s no right or wrong.”

Interestingly, “The Quarterback” episode has come up a number of times in recent “Glee” discourse. Actor Lea Michele, who played Finn’s love interest Rachel Berry on “Glee” and was Monteith’s real-life girlfriend, touched on the episode at a July concert in Washington, D.C.

As Michele introduced her rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” she recalled having first performed the song while paying tribute to Monteith. Still, she went on to note that she’s never watched “The Quarterback” in its entirety.

“It’s the only one I’ve not seen,” she said. “Because I think if I don’t watch it, it just kind of feels like Finn is still there. So this [song] is very special.”

Listen to Ryan Murphy’s interview on “And That’s What You REALLY Missed” below.

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