"Glee" creator Ryan Murphy revealed that he knew from the series' beginning just how the show was going to end: with Cory Monteith.
Sharing an excerpt from the eulogy he gave at a private memorial service for Monteith, who died earlier this year at age 31, Murphy said, "For me, Cory was both the beginning and the ending of 'Glee' … literally."
"The ending of 'Glee' is something I have never shared with anyone, but I always knew it," Murphy said in the eulogy that was first delivered in July and is printed in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. "I've always relied on it as a source of comfort, a North Star."
"At the end of season 6, Lea [Michele]'s Rachel was going to have become a big Broadway star, the role she was born to play," he continued. "Finn was going to have become a teacher, settled down happily in Ohio, at peace with his choice and no longer feeling like a Lima loser. The very last line of dialogue was to be this: Rachel comes back to Ohio, fulfilled and yet not, and walks into Finn's glee club. 'What are you doing here?' he would ask. 'I'm home,' she would reply. Fade out. The end."
That all changed when Monteith, who played high school quarterback Finn Hudson, died July 31 in his Vancouver hotel room after mixing heroin and alcohol. Instead, the show filmed a tribute episode to Monteith, in which his fellow glee club members sing songs and say goodbye to Finn Hudson, whose cause of death was unknown in the show.
Murphy, 48, also revealed how Monteith, who is in the first scene of the pilot, was in many ways the heart of the show, a "natural leader" of the cast who welcomed new members to the show and "reaped the most respect."
"From the beginning Cory and I had a father-son relationship, which at that time I have to admit I did not want. I didn't know how to do that," Murphy said. "But Cory - from a broken home, a lost boy - needed a male figure to provide guidance, support, a direction. In retrospect, Cory was kind of my training wheels for becoming the father I am today with my own child."
Though Monteith had "a lot of unfulfilled dreams," "longed for more adult material, to prove himself as an actor" and "wanted to direct," Murphy said, he will remain "frozen in a moment."
"For generations of children, future impressionable young people who will watch his indelible character of Finn Hudson, he will always be that quarterback-a person who champions the underdog, fights the bullies, loves for the exact right reasons," Murphy said. "Cory will continue to change lives for the better. It is a rare gift to touch the lives of one person, let alone millions."