Cory Monteith death: How will 'Glee' deal with the loss?

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Cory Monteith's sudden death on Saturday (July 13) was a shock and a horrible tragedy on a human level. Unfortunately, this loss also means trouble for "Glee" as the show goes into its fifth season. What does the loss of Monteith mean for "Glee"?

Finn Hudson, Cory Monteith's character on "Glee," was last seen starting college and making plans to someday be a teacher. Although he and Rachel were still technically apart, the show was pushing this "endgame" couple back together again.

None of that is going to happen now. While it's likely that no final decisions about Finn's fictional fate will be made for awhile still, there are some possibilities that seem more likely than others.

Watch Cory Monteith's best "Glee" performances.

The most likely scenario is that Finn will die, but this doesn't really say much. Finn isn't coming back, and the only explanation that could really work is Finn's death in some manner. "Glee" would, in all likelihood, make this an off-screen event. Without Monteith, any death has to be second-hand.

A time jump of some sort is a possibility. If "Glee" moves the show several months ahead of a tragedy involving Finn, the story can move forward as the other characters come to terms with their loss. It makes for an easier road than if Finn dies at about the same time as the new season begins -- in that case, we will be looking at utter devastation among the past and present members of New Directions. "Glee" might go that route, but it's harder to have the jokes and the music of this show at the same time as full mourning.

Unfortunately, the format of "Glee" going into Season 5 means that a time jump is less likely. Season 4 ended in the middle of the school year, so any jump would pretty much erase what was certainly planned for the upcoming year of episodes.

Plotting is therefore a tough call.

In addition to the problems associated with the basic absence of Cory Monteith, there are character questions to answer. Who will Rachel become if she doesn't have Finn standing behind her? How does "Glee" span the gap between old and new cast members when the one successful bridge is gone? Which character can be the kind, outgoing and ordinary one when Finn isn't there?

There are no easy answers.

Taylor Swift, the "Glee" cast and more tweet about Cory Monteith.

We will probably begin to hear rumors in the next few weeks as the "Glee" production gets underway. Until then, fans have little but sad speculation in the absence of Cory Monteith.

Photo/Video credit: FOX
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