Saying goodbye to a beloved TV character is always hard. But next week's farewell to Cory Monteith's Finn Hudson on "Glee" promises to be one of the most tear-filled farewells ever.
In a 30-second teaser of "The Quarterback" released on Wednesday, we see the kids of McKinley High paying their respects to Finn in what show runner Ryan Murphy said was an heart-wrenching episode that was "incredibly difficult to work on."
Opening with a shot of an empty school hallway, the trailer is set to the mournful strains of Adele's "Make You Feel My Love." We see the student singers solemnly marching down that hallway, each holding a pair of drum sticks with a black ribbon on them as well as a box with Finn's helmet, bobblehead and other personal items.
"The hardest word to say," reads the screen, "is goodbye," over a shot of the gang putting a football down in the middle of a flower and candle-strewn tribute to Finn outside his locker. "Finn, you are a star that left too soon. But we will always look up to find you," reads a note from Zach Brooke.
"The episode is called 'The Quarterback,' and Cory really was that to that group of people and to me particularly," Murphy reporters after wrapping work on the next week's episode on Thursday. "That group of kids particularly went through the limelight and became world famous at a very difficult age, and many of them really struggled with it ... Cory obviously very much struggled with it, but never on the surface, and I think that's why everybody loved him. He was the most kind, the most generous — never a bad word for anybody."
Monteith died on July 13 at the age of 31 from a mixed drug toxicity caused by a combination of alcohol and drugs. His character was edited out of the season's first two episodes and the October 10 tribute is the final one before "Glee" goes on hiatus due to baseball playoffs.
"What you will see in the episode is what really happened," Murphy said. "Those performances that you'll see, almost everything in that episode is from the first take of every performance because the actors and the crew had a really hard time shooting it." TV veteran Murphy said he's never seen a crew leave the room because they were sobbing and said the show was "very hard" to film. "It was very rough, and it was very rough with [Monteith's girlfriend] Lea [Michele] ... I'm very proud of it. I think the performances are quite stunning. It was tricky. You had to have a hard eye when you were putting it together. People still are not over it and it's still very difficult."
The clip ends with Will Schuester [Matthew Morrison] consoling a sobbing Rachel Berry [Michele] as the screen fades to a black and white photo of Monteith staring into the camera with the words "Glee: Farewell to Finn."
The cast weren't the only ones struggling to keep it together. On Twitter, @Gleekgirl122 couldn't hold back either. "The preview for next week," she wrote. "I'm balling my eyes out, I can barely see the keyboard."
The preview for next week. I'm balling my eyes out, I can barely see the keyboard— Cory forever in our❤ (@Gleekgirl122) October 4, 2013
That sentiment was shared by many fans, who wrote things like, "OMG this is so heartbreaking," "I feel like someone just stabbed me on the heart 19,262,610,191,652 times" and "#RemeberingCory he was the reason I started watching 'Glee.' As soon as I saw his face on screen I just fell in love with him. I miss u cory."
Omg this is so heartbreaking— Staying Strong (@_glee4ever_) October 4, 2013