The news was first reported by TVLine, which added that Dianna Agron is also a maybe for the upcoming season. She is not on the current list of returning cast members, but might still be back to play the role of Quinn as a guest star.
There is a chance that the four departing actors might get an occasional appearance as well. Heather Morris’ Brittany could easily return from MIT for a visit — after the actress gives birth to her baby, of course. Amber Riley’s Mercedes and Harry Shum’s Mike could likewise return from their respective colleges (or wherever they were supposed to be by the time Season 4 ended).
Salling’s absence is the only big surprise here. When last we saw his character, Puck, he had moved into a college dorm with Finn (Cory Monteith). Since Monteith is presumably returning, Salling’s departure might need more of an explanation.
With such a mass exodus of old actors, there is the question of who might take their places. It seems likely that some of the new Season 4 stars like Melissa Benoist (Marley) or Blake Jenner (Ryder) might finally get upped to regulars. Alternatively, there could be even more new faces at McKinley in the fall.
“Glee” Season 5 premieres on Thursday, Sept. 19.