Is Naya Rivera Leaving Glee? The Evidence Says Yes

The internets are buzzing with rumors that Naya Rivera, who plays the snarky Santana on Glee, is leaving the show. Although it has not been confirmed, there is ample evidence in interviews and reports, dating back to January, that Naya is finished as a regular cast member.

Although Kalan G, who shoots BTS video for FOX tweeted that Santana  was written into the script for the first all-New York episode, “New New York,” Naya hasn’t been spotted on set since the two part 100th episode special wrapped a few weeks ago.  Production is currently filming the 3rd all-New York episode, 5×16.  She’s also dyed her hair blond (which would be a no no if she were still filming), and is seemingly busy with photo shoots and non-glee appearances, according to her twitter.

One of her  last tweets from set, at the beginning of February, had a ring of finality about it:

Suspicions were first aroused when a Hollywood Reporter article from 1/10, that announced Gwyneth Paltrow’s return to the show, oddly left Naya off of the list of NYC cast members.

The Fox musical will then do several consecutive episodes set in New York City, centering on Rachel (Lea Michele), Blaine (Darren Criss), Kurt (Chris Colfer), Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) and potentially other co-stars.

You’ll noticed that it did mention Amber Riley, whose character, Mercedes, has come in and out of storylines since moving to Los Angeles after graduating at the end of Season 3. As it turns out Amber is shooting a small arc as we speak. Reportedly, she’ll hook up with old flame, Sam (Chord Overstreet).

Also, In the latest round of press for the 100th episode, Lea Michele seemed to spill the beans in an interview with MTV when SHE namechecked the New York City cast, including Amber, but did not mention Naya.

It’s just myself, Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet in New York City. I think that’s everyone. Chris, Darren, Chord, Kevin, me and then Amber comes in for a few episodes. […] We’re actually going to be shooting here in New York City in a few weeks.

Lea namechecks the same people in an interview with EOnline

It’s New York now, we switched locations and high school is done for the rest of the season. So it’s me and Chris and Darren and Chord [Overstreet] and Kevin [McHale] in New York and it’s so awesome

She also seems to confirm that Tina, played by  Jenna Ushkowitz, won’t be making the move with her fellow seniors. But we spoiled that news a few weeks ago.

Naya herself seems to hint that Santana’s story may come to an end sooner rather than later.  When asked by Prestige Magazine how she would like to see Santana develop in the future, Naya answered:

I don’t know, I’m not really sure. The stuff we filmed for the 100th episode brings her full circle, and I’m really comfortable with where she’s at right now.

In our batch of little spoilers for “New Directions” part 2 of the 100th episode celebration, we reported that Santana gives Brittany a plane ticket to New York City. I double checked with my source, who is familiar with the script. As far as they know, Santana was not written off the show in that episode. Nor was there an explanation for an extended absence, as the spoiler based in Brazil is claiming. HOWEVER, when my source saw the script, the episode had not yet wrapped.  The script could have been re-written on the fly as the crew was shooting.

Lastly. My source is telling me that Naya does NOT plan to come back for Season 6, and that scripts for season 5 have already begun to omit her.  It’s her decision not to return.  I’m assuming it means that she won’t be a series regular next season. But, like Dianna Agron, Harry Shum Jr. Heather Morris and Amber Riley who are no longer regulars, I would not be surprised if she returns, at least occasionally.

Brad Falchuk, Glee c0-creator and producer told The Hollywood Reporter that any former series regular could return to the show.

As of right now, we’re focusing only on the New York and adult stories,” he said. “[The original stars] come and go. They’re there for 100 and 101 and then it’s coming and going. There’s a little more Amber. [But] never say never. When you have Harry here and he’s dancing, you do want to see him constantly. But that’s not saying anything is planned or in the works; it’s always best to keep talented people very close by.

Naya is certainly one of those talented people. She may not be part of the week to week plotline, but I bet we see her at LEAST occasionally. And who knows, maybe the show will make Naya an offer she can’t refuse, and she’ll decide to come back for Glee’s last season, on a regular basis after all. She was my favorite girl. Her Lima Heights realness played off the idealistic naivete of Kurt and Rachel perfectly.They were the odd trio. Believe me, I’m as bummed as anyone that Naya appears to be leaving the show.

  • Damien Roberts

    I definitely take this with a grain of salt. With the end this close in sight and Naya being one of two female main characters on the show I find it hard to imagine the show without her. That said, she might be trying to leave before the Glee ship is completely sunk.

  • Katie

    That would mean a whole lot of boys in NY compared to Rachel with Mercedes/Amber recurring.

  • Leyton Kerr

    If Naya is in fact leaving then I’m leaving Glee as well. Because I refuse to watch Glee without Santana Lopez and see only 1 remaining girl regular left on the show with a bunch of boy characters I have no interest in watching every episode. No thank you. Taking Santana Lopez out of the picture is the final nail in the coffin for me to stop watching this messy horribly written tv show.

  • Cookies&Milk

    Honestly, Naya was the only thing that kept me watching Glee.

  • http://untitlement.wordpress.com/ Caroline B

    But Santana is what makes Rachel tolerable! No me gusta! No Yin without the Yang. I was really enjoying her in NYC (This is all about me and my needs. Bring her back! ;) )

  • Pretty Horsey

    I’ve seen the speculation over this since the first Hollywood Reporter article and it’s only escalated with every week she hasn’t filmed and with Lea’s interviews not mentioning her.

    She’s my favourite and has been the biggest reason I’ve stuck with the show. I guess I’ll watch hers and Adam’s last episodes but I’m not interested in Rachel and the sausagefest it’s bound to turn into.

  • DeanD

    Is that why they’ve made Santana into an even bigger raging bitch so we won’t be sorry when she leaves? I was so happy when Rachel whirled around and slapped her back into reality!

  • HKfan

    Nooo……can’t Rachel leave instead????? Love Santana:( Not happy that Mercedes is coming back either………

  • Miz

    Santana was the only original cast member who remained that I still liked. I can understand her wanting to move on to better things though.

  • Kirsten

    Naya is very talented. I can see why she might want to leave this sinking ship.

    It is a little odd to suddenly leave mid-season though.

  • lolmeter

    Ugh, Santana is the only original female character that I like. Santana >>>>> Rachel or Mercedes.

    I hope this was Naya’s decision because otherwise, it’s just another example of the writers/producers killing this show with lameness.

  • Axxxel

    Ryan Murphy’s character is reflected in 2 Glee characters: Rachel and Kurt… so until Glee hell freezes over, Rachel is there to stay.

  • Axxxel

    my female heart is not complaining… oh dear, this reminds me of a certain season of American Idol… sausage fest yeah…

  • twodollars

    I am more concerned with what she did to her beautiful hair. Why did she try to go blonde? It looks horrendous.

  • Axxxel

    Santana was already a b*tch before … so nothing new.. Maybe Dani was supposed to soften her but she was barely in Glee…

  • Axxxel

    Maybe Rachel needs some female nemesis… or will they just use guest stars for this ?

  • lolmeter

    Explains why both these characters are histrionic and tolerable only in small doses.

  • Axxxel

    Maybe because they appeal to people like me who can relate to them because they are a magnified version of my character or the life I used to live as a teenager…

  • Kariann Hart

    I will miss Naya as part of the trio (Rachel & Kurt). She is such a talented and beautiful young lady. I can’t see he not in New York with the others.

  • Dianne

    Agree!

  • Dianne

    Hopefully we will see her on the big screen. In that case Naya leaving Glee is a win win (Naya & fans = 1 win each :)

  • Tia

    What are they thinking? I am not watching Glee without Santana.

  • Tia

    Why would she choose to leave mid-season? something is up.

  • Montavilla

    But Santana is what makes Rachel tolerable!

    This. So much this. Maybe they could get by if they have Kitty drop out of school and follow Artie to film school — but she doesn’t have the history with Rachel that Santana does, so she wouldn’t make that great a foil.

    I guess they’d have to start from scratch with some mean Broadway girl to make Rachel look halfway sympathetic. What’s Megan Hilty doing these days?

  • 70122

    You don’t have be happy,either. All of Mercedes/Amber Riley’s real fans are more than happy. That she’s back and is getting actually screen time and songs. Oh well….

  • 70122

    At this point who stays are goes. Fans are still going to watch for whoever their faves are regardless ….

  • Dany Rod

    I am stuck between being happy and being sad. Happy because Glee isn’t the show stopper it once and it would be best to get off the train now. Sad because Santana is the reason I watch.

  • Dany Rod

    She is the reason I watch. I’m very sad but Glee is a crappy show now. Rachel annoys me, I’m bi but I don’t like Kurt and I don’t find Sam or Blaine interesting.
    If they are only people left there is no point.

  • Dany Rod

    a bunch of dudes. Great…

  • Alex

    wow this sucks.

  • Ronnie D

    If Naya gets more lucrative offers like movies or something, I don’t see why she would stay with Glee. It’s sort of run it’s course.

  • tomr

    The show has been going down the tubes anyway. They stayed too long with some of the originals and the newbies just aren’t likeable. I only watch (occasionally) because I like Darren.

  • Tim

    This definitely marks the end of my Glee viewing. I stuck it out through some really awful episodes and seasons, a massive cast overhaul, a horribly executed split narrative, and the death of a beloved actor. But THIS is the final straw. Santana/Naya was one of the few bright spots left. Goodbye, Glee.

  • Tim

    Many people are upset that she’s leaving so I don’t think this argument has any merit.

  • Lauren

    That’s it for Glee.

  • Lauren

    Except many are sorry. She maybe a bitch but she provides entertainment, something 99% of the others lack.

  • Gunny

    They haven’t really built much of a story for her, especially these past episodes where she is trying to ruin Rachel’s life. That’s not enough. With Dani gone, there is no love interest either. I would love to see her do some deep reflection on the importance of Snix in her life – that would give her more depth. I’ve often thought the kiss of death for a cast member is when they give them a lot of songs to sing to show off their skills before they hit the streets.

  • Gunny

    For a young actress, a poor Glee is better than no Glee unless she has a lot of stuff lined up already.

  • Gunny

    A lot of people were upset about Quinn leaving but that didn’t change anything.

  • Gunny

    I love Amber and that voice too.

  • Gunny

    and Rachel is the only reason I watch the show, so we have balance.

  • sdmama

    Series is going to end soon, and it is time to look for a new job for everybody. I understand if she chose to concentrate on making a head start on it while the show is on air. She will always be the second fiddle to Lea Michelle on the show and the story line does not seem to evolve around her any further (back to Rachel’s enemy), and probably she is considered to be expendable by the producer, so why not?

    I hope she will find the big success in new gig. There are a lot of people I loved in one hit TV show as regular and never saw again. I know it is tough out there. Good luck to her.

  • Gunny

    I read a spoiler that suggested there will be two more female characters added to the show in NY. Maybe girlfriends for Artie and Sam or friends for Rachel. I don’t understand why, after winning the GalPals award, they would make this decision so maybe Naya wants to focus on her music. They put in a lot of long hours on this show. Lea did her album on the weekends for a year. Nobody is getting younger. I am able to separate Santana and Naya. I don’t like mean girls/Santana, but I do like Naya.

  • Emily

    If Naya wants to leave, let her. The show barely pulls in a 1.0 in the demo now. The only reason why it’s still around is because FOX has no good shows left. Naya fans leaving won’t make the ratings worst than they are. People are checked out and have been for a good while. It doesn’t matter who is on the show, or not.

  • Matthew Kitson

    Whether you like it or not, without Rachel, there simply is no glee

  • Matthew Kitson

    While her voice is amazing,(probably an unpopular opinion) but Santana’s character was getting kind of old and tiresome

  • Guest

    Agreed.

  • Miz

    I agree. Her dark hair is so gorgeous. I hate to see her go blonde.

  • 70122

    Exactly!

  • Stefan

    And it got worst than I ever thought.

  • Miz

    I was unhappy about Quinn leaving too. Of course, I also stopped watching it every week when it became obvious they weren’t going to give the new cast members a chance.

  • RockiDreams

    Yep time for this show to go away but isn’t because this particular character is going away. I find Santana, the character, a big huge bore singing or not singing. I still watch and will continue to do so until the end. They need to get rid of Becky too. Good grief she is horrid. Is that their only means in getting someone off the show is to turn them into a screaming shrew?

  • Damien Roberts

    I actually agree completely…I don’t see her career taking off if she leaves Glee. I’m just trying to figure out a motive.

  • Dakota

    From the ratings, not too many people care

  • GoldstarSCUD

    Her last tweet from set was on February 25th NOT February 6th. And it said 16 hours and counting on the glee set”. I don’t think she is leaving. I think people are reaching. She probably just took some time off for a few episodes or something.

  • Bentley1530

    The gender balance is off, I feel like the are recreating the smurfs or a Muppets movie.

  • Stefan

    When there is real source I will believe. I like Glee but most of my interest is in this character.

  • Kariann

    I will really miss Naya. Her performances are usually outstanding!

  • Maria

    so that’s it! if that is true i’m done with glee!

  • Maria

    ryan is reflected in kurt and blaine an his crap pairing klaine

  • Maria

    brittana is for me the only reason why i watch glee

  • Axxxel

    Marriage ? Musical ? Movies ?

  • http://mjsbigblog.staging.wpengine.com/ mjsbigblog

    I expect the announcement will come after the two part “100” special airs.

    One of the media sites will probably have the exclusive, which is why they’re mum on the issue now.

  • http://mjsbigblog.staging.wpengine.com/ mjsbigblog

    Her last tweet from set was on February 25th NOT February 6th. And it said 16 hours and counting on the glee set”.

    Oop. You’re right. It was press day for “100”. The cast finished shooting the episode that day.

    Still, she hasn’t been spotted on the NYC set. And she’s not in the city with the rest of the cast shooting scenes for upcoming episodes.

    It’s tough to lose a favorite, so I get it.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Yes She’s Leaving

    http://blindgossip.com/?p=60998

  • Damien Roberts

    Marriage is fair, her music career hasn’t taken off the way she would’ve liked and if a good enough movie was offered I could get behind that.

  • Sedona green

    No, she’s not. Michael Auseillo from TV line confirmed she is staying

  • http://mjsbigblog.staging.wpengine.com/ mjsbigblog

    No. Michael said that she wasn’t leaving after “100”.

    That vague answer leaves the door open for several scenarios, including not returning as a regular cast member next year. Which could mean guest appearances here and there like the rest of the graduates (Dianna, Harry, etc), rather appearing every week.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Ugh. Naya was my favorite character on Glee. Loved her personality and the stuff she came out with. lol Oh well, good luck to her. I hope that she’s on to bigger and better things.

  • Shelley

    Well, she got engaged. She has an album out. She needs to promote it, maybe even, has a plan to have a tour of it. After all, her man is a Rap artist. She has had lots of commercials this past year. Who knows what she has planned. I feel that Naya’s absence is just. For a few episodes for her personal time. Glee did that for Cory early season 4 when he filmed 2 movies. Why not for Naya if that is a planned absence?

  • Damien Roberts

    I can see it if its a few episodes, but this was posted a couple of weeks ago when the rumor was that she was leaving the show for good. My thinking is that the grass isn’t always greener. Why leave Glee, which only has a year left, and take a chance on music when your lead single bombed?

  • Shelley

    Such an understatement. Finn was my favorite. Then, Santana. Since my least favorites Blaine and Sam go to NY and hover around Rachel and Kurt, watching Glee will be a huge chore. As for the writing I totally agree. I adore Mercedes and her relationship with Kurt and her establishing one with Rachel. Glee has the potential to be great again. It’s all in the writing and how it’s portrayed. Santana needs to be there to even out the soupy Klaine stuff, and Blaine, Sam and his love of his abs. Even though the writers have really undone a great development of Santana’s character by making her to be the biggest bully to enjoy it and not express any regret or conscience.
    I feel that Santana and Brittany will travel, return to NY after some time with her own story. I don’t know if Brittany will return for good on not. But, Glee did seem to close storylines for Quinn and Puck by reuniting them and also for Santana and Brittany. It does make a very good question to if this is an end to Santana.

  • Shelley

    I, too, agree with watching for Adam Lambert. He has been a wonderful addition to Glee. Now that’s real talent. Santana is my favorite also.

  • Shelley

    Truth

  • Shelley

    The writing has not been good for a while now. Santana hasn’t had a real story of her own since season 3. Those who stay with Glee are diehards who are willing to tolerate poor writing and so on.

  • Shelley

    Writing made showed her sensitive side. Writing showed that Santana’s character was complicated. Season 4 the writing showed that Santana was a very good friend to Rachel. Now, out of the blue she is the biggest bully there is and as bad or worse than when she was in high school, just because she’s jealous of Rachel. So simple minded Glee writing.