Fans of Glee have watched the show evolve over its four seasons as original cast members have graduated and moved on but series five will see the musical series’ biggest overhaul to date.
Original characters Brittany Pierce (played by Heather Morris), Noah “Puck” Puckerman (Mark Salling), Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) and Mike Chan (Harry Shum, Jr.) will no longer appear as series regulars, joining cast member Dianna Agron whose character Quinn Fabray went down the same route last series.
The move comes as no great surprise as all but Brittany graduated from fictional McKinley High at the end of series three, while the blonde cheerleader earned a place at MIT in the recent season four finale.
Meanwhile Jayma Mays – whose character, OCD guidance counsellor Emma Pillsbury, was recently seen marrying school teacher Will – has been cast opposite Will Arnett in new CBS comedy The Millers and is therefore unlikely to appear as a series regular in Glee’s fifth series.
The exits pave way for a new generation of high school students to become full-time cast members. Marley Rose (played by Melissa Benoist), Puck’s brother Jake Puckerman (Jacob Artist), Kitty Wilde (Becca Tobin), Ryder Lynn (Blake Jenner) and Wade “Unique” Adams (Alex Newell) have all been promoted to series regulars as the new generation of New Directions singers come through the ranks.
Remaining original cast members Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) will all appear in the fifth and sixth series which were commissioned by Fox earlier this year.