It's not easy to say goodbye, but the cast of "Glee" will try their best on Thursday when they pay tribute to character Finn Hudson. This week's episode will pay homage to actor Cory Monteith, who played Finn for four seasons on the show before he died on July 13 at the age of 31.
Little is known about how the episode will unfold, but show creator Ryan Murphy has been vocal about how difficult it has been to work on it. Ahead of the airing, MTV News has rounded up what we know about the tribute episode so far.
Originally it was planned that the episode would deal "directly" with drug abuse after it was confirmed that Monteith died of a mixed drug toxicity involving drugs and alcohol. But, Murphy later changed his mind, noting that "what we're doing in the episode is we are not telling you yet, or maybe not at all, how that character died."
While Finn was on McKinley High's football team on the show, Murphy noted that the episode's title, "The Quarterback," also reflects the actor's own role among the cast. "The episode is called 'The Quarterback,' and Cory really was that to that group of people and to me particularly," Murphy said. "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."
It's an emotion that Naya Rivera shared with MTV News back in August when she shared "he was an amazing guy and I definitely miss him."
The songs chosen for the episode certainly will reflect the mournful tone of the episode. MTV News exclusively premiered Rivera's cover of The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" earlier this week. Other tracks included in the episode will include real-life and on-screen girlfriend, Lea Michele, covering Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love," as well covers of the Pretenders, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and the entire cast will join together to sing the classic "Rent" song, "Seasons of Love."
In the end, Murphy has said that as they say goodbye to a beloved character, he hopes that they also celebrate the strength of friendship.
"It was very difficult to shoot, and it was very difficult to edit. I only got through two tries," Murphy told E! "But it was done with a really pure feeling of love for him and I think that's what that episode is about; treasure your friendships when you have them because one day they're not going to be there. And for young people in particular, I think that's a really sweet, kind message."