12:41pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee': Jonathan Groff Returns, Another New Directions Defector and More Spoilers
Jonathan Groff is back, Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy has a date with Barry Manilow and Pete Townshend is a fan. These were among the tidbits on offer as executives, cast and crew celebrated the show's 300th musical performance on Wednesday.
The Hollywood Reporter joined an estimated 200 journalists on the set of the Fox hit Wednesday in Hollywood to celebrate the milestone during filming of the 300th musical performance. Between questions about the show's influence on fashion and reflections on their favorite performances, the Murphy and company discussed The Glee Project winners' arrivals, the return of Rachel's ex, Jesse St. James (Groff), tribute episodes and more. Here are five things to look forward to this season.
1. Groff's Jesse St. James is returning. Murphy noted that the frequent guest star will return as the coach of New Directions rival Vocal Adrenaline, in which he'll share "many scenes" with The Glee Project runner-up Alex Newell. In honoring what the Glee co-creators said during Glee Project episodes, Murphy said Newell will appear as the "lovechild of Kurt and Mercedes" and turn to McKinley High pair for advice.
2. Glee Project update. Fellow Glee Project winners Samuel Larson will appear in either Episode 10 or 11 -- taking place after the show's Christmas break in January -- when school is back in session and a new semester returns. Glee Project's Lindsay Pearce will also return in Episode 8 as the "Rachel of her school," Murphy said, noting that she'd be competing against "our groups" -- perhaps indicating she'll face off with both McKinley glee clubs.
3. New edition. Speaking of rival glee clubs, filming for the 300th musical performance featured McKinley's other group, which in addition to Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Santana (Naya Rivera) has another big New Directions defector: Brittany (Heather Morris). How that all unfolds before the 300th performance airs during the Nov. 15 episode, however, is anyone's guess.
4. Tribute time. Murphy said there will be one tribute episode during Season 3, and that it's been in the works for two years. While there was no indicator just who or what that would look like -- he told THRin June that he was discussing making the episode a supersized one. Noting that that the executive producers always listen to the cast's suggestions on which songs they'd like to perform and how the envision their characters doing so, Murphy noted that he's received phone calls from Pete Townshend offering songs from his library and that he's having dinner soon with Barry Manilow. "It's always thrilling when household names call and love the show and say, 'Here's our catalog, pick what you like,' " Murphy noted.
5. Graduation. With graduation looming, Murphy reiterated that just because kids graduate doesn't mean that they can't be a part of Glee. "We haven't figured out what that is yet," he told reporters Wednesday, noting that writers were at work on the eighth script of the year and much still depended on what show's actors wanted to do. "We talk about that every day," Murphy said.
Glee returns Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. on Fox. The show's 300th musical performance will air during its Nov. 15 episode.