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'Glee' Season 4: Could Santana Join Rachel in NYC? Hope for Brittana? Will Artie Step Up? The Cast Sounds Off

Lea Michele, Naya Rivera and Kevin McHale talk with THR about the burning questions heading into the new season of the Fox musical.

Glee Lea Michele Naya Rivera Kevin McHale - H 2012
FOX
"Glee's" Lea Michele, Naya Rivera and Kevin McHale

Could Rachel meet a familiar face on the East Coast when Glee's fourth season returns in the fall? What will happen to Brittany and Santana's relationship now that the poor class president has to stay behind and repeat her senior year at McKinley?

The Glee Season 3 finale confirmed that Rachel (Lea Michele) is headed east with Finn (Cory Monteith) enlisting in the Army and going his own way, while Brittany (Heather Morris) with her 0.0 GPA is stuck at McKinley to repeat her senior year as her girlfriend Santana (Naya Rivera) was given the support and cash to follow her dreams of stardom.

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With so many of members of New Directions graduating -- goodbye to Rachel, Finn, Kurt (Chris Colfer), Puck (Mark Salling), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Quinn (Dianna Agron), Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) and Santana -- who will step up to lead the group in search of a Nationals victory?

The Hollywood Reporter turned to stars Michele, Rivera and Kevin McHale (Artie) to answer some of the many burning questions facing the series as it prepares for its fourth season with stories set in New York and Ohio.

How many episodes will everyone be doing?
All 15 cast members are confirmed to return in some capacity, while it's still unclear just how many episodes the swelling ensemble cast will appear in. Michele, who notes she's more excited about Glee's fourth season than any previous edition of the series, confirms her role as a series regular and that she'll be doing every episode next season. "I've spoken with Ryan and I know my character's entire arc for the whole season, and it's incredibly exciting," she enthuses. Rivera notes she'll be "a big part" of Season 4, and McHale says Artie will be around "quite a bit."

STORY: 'Glee' Cast Set to Return for Yet-to-Be Determined Episode Count

Rachel and Finn parted ways literally and figuratively at the end of Season 3. Is there hope for the couple?
"Anything is possible. I think it's exciting to see them apart. But you never know with Glee what's going to happen," Michele teases. "The stuff happening next year is really exciting; when I sit down and talk with [EP Ryan Murphy] about story lines for next year, they're so exciting and so different."

Now that Santana has her mother's blessing (and cash!), will she follow through and ditch a cheerleading scholarship at the University of Louisville and head to the Big Apple?
Michele certainly hopes that's the case. "[Rivera] and I were begging [Murphy], 'We want to work together more and want Rachel and Santana to be in New York together,'" Michele says. "We're still not certain where exactly Santana is going to end up but she has the golden ticket to New York City." Adds Rivera: "If Santana goes to New York, she absolutely would have a relationship with Rachel, and they'd either be friends, enemies or frenemies -- or all three." Notes Michele: "I really hope that it pans out because I think it would be so exciting to see Rachel get a knock on her door from Santana and just be like, 'Can we live together?' We'll have to see what happens."

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What could Santana's NYC experience be like?
"If she ends up going to New York, Santana will attack it head-on but probably run into a lot of issues because there's a lot of aggressive people in New York just like her," Rivera says with a laugh. "She has rivals where ever she goes."

Kurt and Blaine met all sorts of gay kids (Sebastian, Unique, the putz from the music store), but Brittany and Santana haven't met any other lesbians. What gives?
We asked Rivera if Santana could meet some like-minded ladies when (and again, if) she heads east, and while the actress notes it's still early, she's optimistic about the option to expand the character's circle of friends. "I haven't heard anything about it, but I think that'd be inevitable for Santana just because she and Brittany were very sheltered," she says. "That was the focus: They lived in Ohio, and they were the only out-and-proud lesbians at the end in the school. But now that Santana is out in the real world, I'm sure she will go exploring and find other people who are just like her."

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Brittany is stuck repeating her senior year at McKinley, but is there hope for her relationship with Santana?
While writers have only just begun breaking stories for Season 4, Rivera has high hopes for Brittana's lasting love -- regardless of whether or not they stay together. "Obviously she's not in high school anymore, so there is separation there. I don't know what [potentially moving to New York] will mean for her. The writers really have to hash that out, but it's now entering into a long-distance-type relationship," she notes. "I think that Brittany will always be Santana's first love. Whether or not they end up together, she'll always have a special place in her heart for Brittany. I don't think that they will ever not be in each other's lives."

How big of a role will Artie have now that New Directions has lost so many members?
"There's definitely going to be a lot of people missing," McHale tells THR of the season that will see stories set at both McKinley High and in New York. "We'll have to step up our game. It's still the same old Glee, but when characters aren't in the same scene you're used to seeing them in, it's definitely still going to be a little different. Artie is one of the few seniors, and I think he, Blaine [Darren Criss], Tina [Jenna Ushkowitz] and Brittany will have some stepping up to do to lead the new team. I'm excited to see him strive to be a leader."

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How soon until Glee tackles Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"? What songs of summer would the cast like to see pop up in scripts?
"That would not surprise me at all if that happened," McHale says when asked if the song could show up in the premiere. "I imagine somebody will do the new Katy Perry song ["Wide Awake"]. I'd love to do 'Otis' by Jay-Z and Kanye West. I love that song." Says Rivera: "I love Maroon 5's new song and Flo Rida and Sia's 'Wild One.'"

Glee's fourth season returns Thursday, Sept. 13, on Fox. Hit the comments with what you want to see.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit