Patrick Ecclesine/Fox (3)
Aly Semigran
July 25, 2011 AT 07:42 PM EDT

When it was announced earlier this month that stars Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith would be leaving Glee after season 3, not only did it make sense (their characters will be graduating from high school, after all) but it felt as though Ryan Murphy was making some concrete decisions to move the show forward.

Then came the news at this weekend’s Comic-Con from the show’s co-creator and exec producer Brad Falchuk that the trio won’t be leaving after all. “It was never our plan or our intention to let them go,” Falchuk said at the Glee panel, adding, “They are not done with the show after this season.” He also stated, “Graduating doesn’t mean they’re leaving the show. If you have Lea Michele under contract, you don’t say, ‘We’re gonna let you go.’”

Yes, I can see why Falchuk, Murphy & Co. wouldn’t want to say goodbye to their leads (Colfer especially), but when a high-school show takes viewers on a journey (in Glee‘s case, often with Journey), that sometimes includes characters saying goodbye (much like, as my colleague Sandra Gonzalez pointed out, the far more rooted-in-reality Friday Night Lights did.) It’s not that it won’t be sad to see them go: Colfer continues to show great depth and range, while Michele’s voice simply can’t be replaced. Never mind the fact that Monteith is quickly approaching 30-years-old (poor Finn will have some serious Senioritis by season three), but it just seems like it’s the right time to say goodbye, doesn’t it?

Of course, it would be great for them to check in with the characters every now and then, say, by having Mr. Schue take the glee club to Broadway to see Rachel’s debut, where he could run in to Finn, who ultimately decided to move to NYC after all and rooms with his stepbrother Kurt. I’m fine with any scenario that doesn’t keep them running around the halls of McKinley High longer than they need to be. High school feels long enough as is. Because nothing would be worse than not allowing these characters–or the gifted actors who play them–the chance to grow up and move on.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Do you think it’s worrisome that Glee seems to have reversed its decision to bid its graduates adieu? Or does the return of Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith keep you invested for another season?

Read more:

‘Glee’: Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Cory Monteith NOT leaving show after third season

Chris Colfer on his Emmy nod and leaving ‘Glee’

‘Glee’ ousting three major cast members in season 4: Why this could work… and why it might not

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