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Glee was originally written for Justin Timberlake, and much darker

Ryan Murphy, co-creator of long-running teen musical series Glee, says the character of Mr. Schue was originally written with Justin Timberlake in mind

Mr. Schue in Glee

Here’s what you missed on Glee. For the gleeks who were raised on watching Mr. Schue and his extremely dysfunctional musical group between 2009-2015, you might think it couldn’t get much darker than the teen pregnancy, homophobia, bullying, eating disorders, domestic abuse, and more that the characters were put through. But it turns out, it could have been even darker.

During a recent appearance on the Glee podcast hosted by cast-members Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, co-creator Ryan Murphy said; “I’ve never really talked about this, the pilot was written for Justin Timberlake. Mr. Schue was written for Justin. Mr. Schue, I believe, was a crystal meth addict in Ian [Brennan]’s script.” Murphy summed up the overall tone of the original Glee script as “the NC-17 version of show choir with a weird protagonist who was unraveling.”

And to think, if Matthew Morrison hadn’t been cast as Mr. Schue instead of Justin Timberlake, we may never have got Dr. Suess’ the Grinch Musical (2020). While Glee was on-air, Justin Timberlake had supporting roles in David Fincher’s The Social Network and the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis.

While the show did go down a lighter route, the series didn’t shy away from dark subject-matters. The series was a mash-up of comedy (largely thanks to Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester), music (from such Broadway diva powerhouses as Lea Michele and Amber Riley), and drama (not least from Dianna Agron’s cheerleader Quinn Fabray).

Glee has become as infamous for what has happened to cast-members off-screen, as it is for the (frequently bizarre) storylines on the show. Three main cast-members have died in tragic circumstances, leading some people to believe there’s a Glee curse.

One thing is for sure, we will never see the likes of Glee again – for better or worse. But you can still enjoy the show on Disney Plus.