Creator Ryan Murphy - who insists more characters will leave than stay - told The Hollywood Reporter: "We made that decision and I involved Chris and Lea and they thought that was a good idea. They both trust the writing and trust me and felt that it would be great to have an open and closed experience for them to go out while they were on top."
Cory wasn't consulted about the decision, but Ryan explained: "He knows he was a sophomore when the show started."
The scriptwriter insists several characters had to leave because they are supposed to be school students, and therefore they would graduate and go on to college or continue their lives.
Ryan explained: "You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticise you for not being realistic or you can be really true to life and say when they started the show they were very clearly sophomores and they should graduate at the end of their senior year."
While season three will be Lea's final, Ryan promised she will still take centre stage.
He said: "I'm much more interested in Lea's character - not so much on her relationship with Finn, but more on what her dreams are beyond high school and how she plans on getting them. That's what my senior year was about."
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