GleeA Glee panel minus Ryan Murphy detailed a flurry of Season 4 highlights today at Comic-Con, some of which will come as no surprise to Gleeks. Also missing were notable castmembers including Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Dianna Agron and Chris Colfer. Oddly, no sizzle reel either. The panel kicked off with a docu clip about how Glee has become a pop phenomenon.

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In Season 4, Lea Michele‘s character Rachel Barry contends with a big-fish-from-a-little-pond in the big city scenario as she starts college in New York. There she’ll be dealing with her dance teacher, played by Kate Hudson. “She’s in a school with 1,800 Rachels,” said Michele.

Co-creator Brad Falchuk teased, “Finn (Cory Monteith) is off on an adventure (in the army) and his classmates don’t know what’s happening with him.” Plus “we’ve got a new senior class and we’re trying to get 12 kids into sectionals, said co-creator Ian Brennan. “Every series regular we had who has a deal will be back, in varying proportions,” added Falchuk.

Actor Darren Criss who plays Blaine Anderson sported a beard, making the girls in the Hilton Bayfront’s Indigo room scream like Beatles fans. “It’s a whole new format that’s going to shoot things up,” said Criss about the new season. Michele exclaimed that she loves singing with Criss so much on the show, she might want to stage a cabaret act with him in Los Angeles.

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Also, as has been reported, there will be another Britney Spears tribute this season, occurring in the second episode. The nine-person panel moderated by TVLine’s editor-in-chief Michael Ausiello was comprised of Falchuk, Brennan, executive producer Dante Di Loreto and castmembers Michele, Criss, Monteith, Naya Rivera , Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz.

The biggest absence overall from 20th Century Fox TV at Comic-Con was Falchuk and Murphy’s second hit show, American Horror Story. However as the rule of thumb goes at the convention: If the studios don’t need to pique any more interest for a well-known property here, they tend not to shell out the dough.

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