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The frustrating Glee graduation saga

Gleeks are grappling with uncertainty over whether their favorite actors will be written off the show. What are fans supposed to believe?

Are your favorite Glee actors leaving the show? It seems even Glee's two co-creators can't agree. Though it was revealed earlier this month that three of the hit musical series' most popular actors would be written off the show at the end of next season, news broke Sunday that, actually, nobody would be leaving the show. What's the real story? Here, a brief guide:

Is anyone graduating?Yes. Officially, Lea Michele (star diva Rachel Berry), Cory Monteith (bumbling leading man Finn), and Chris Colfer (confidently flamboyant Kurt Hummel) will be graduating at the end of next season. "We didn't want to have a show where they were in high school for eight years," Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy said. "We thought it would be really cool if we were true to the timeline."

But are they leaving the show?According to the latest development, no. Speaking at Comic-Con on Sunday, Glee's other co-creator, Brad Falchuk, said, "Just because they're graduating doesn't mean they're leaving the show." When asked specifically if that meant Michele, Monteith, and Colfer would be back for season four, Falchuk replied, "Absolutely." He didn't clarify, however, exactly how he planned to work the graduated characters into the plot of a show that takes place in a high school, only elaborating: "If you have Lea Michele under contract, you don't say, 'We're gonna let you go.'"

So why was there confusion?After teasing that some actors would be written off the show after their characters graduate next season, Ryan Murphy explicitly told The Hollywood Reporter that Michele, Monteith, and Colfer "are not going to be back at all for season four." It seemed pretty unequivocal, especially after Michele herself tweeted confirmation of the news and Colfer released a statement about it. So when Falchuk refuted what Murphy said, fans and critics were understandably confused. "Everything you thought you knew about season three of Glee is probably wrong," says Denise Martin at TV Guide. Even castmembers thought they were nearing unemployment. Glee's producers "really need to work on their communication skills," says Becky Bain at Idolator.

Is anybody leaving the cast?Chord Overstreet, who portrayed the hunky new kid Sam last season, turned down an offer to return as a recurring character in season three, and won't be coming back at all. As for other popular characters who are presumably the same age as Rachel, Finn, and Kurt, their futures are still up in the air. Asked if her character would be back for a fourth season, Amber Riley, who plays sassy belter Mercedes, replied, "Who knows?"

Will anyone new join the cast?Murphy still plans on introducing new characters who would be able to carry the series if the current stars do eventually leave. Darren Criss, who made a splash last season playing Kurt's self-assured boyfriend, Blaine, was promoted to a series regular for season three. The Glee Project, a reality series currently airing on the Oxygen network, will reward the winner of the competition with a seven-episode guest arc on Glee next season. And with the show's revolving door of big-name guest stars, who knows who might stick around?

Sources: BET, Buddy TV, HitFix, Hollywood Reporter, Idolator (2), RyanSeacrest.com, TV Guide, Twitter

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