UPDATE: While new Glee characters are plentiful this coming year, some of the ones we know and love might be undergoing some changes. Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) has been known for her bravado. Since Season One, she's been one of the most outspoken, firey characters in the show, which is what drew Puck to her way back when they breifly dated. However, come Season Three, Mercedes will undergo a little personality change. When she gets a boyfriend in the form of Lamarcus Tinker (Friday Night Lights, Cougar Town), Mercedes will become more of a sensitive, ""girly"" type. Riley told TVLine that Mercedes will be dressing differently, acting differently, and possibly even singing differently -- for now, anyway. We probably won't be rid of her sass for good.
EARLIER: The Glee family is growing rapidly. We already know about the introduction of a trio of female bullies (including the ), Mercedes' Sam-replacing linebacker boyfriend-to-be, the reveal of Mike Chang's clingy parents, and the mysterious inclusion of The Glee Project victors. But there are still so many new characters to meet.
Fearless Gleeder Ryan Murphy has open casting calls for two new characters specifically. Very little is known about the first, a student, other than his general age and physical description. The request calls for a "Young man 18 and over to play 17. He is extremely handsome. Must be an excellent singer. HUGE guest star, MAJOR recurring role." So... we're most likely dealing with a love interest for someone. We can rule out Santana and, most likely, Brittany. Rachel is an option, although what with Finn/Jesse/Puck/Blaine/Mr. Schue, she's been into enough guys already.
It's possible that we'll see someone threaten the relationship between Tina and Mike. Ever since getting together in the Season Two premiere, they have barely had so much as a spat. Murphy has stated that he wants to expand characters like Tina and Mike, who have not had the screen time they deserve, in Season Three. Perhaps this will be a vehicle to do so (and a means of naturally introducing Mr. and Mrs. Chang).
The second character Murphy is looking to cast is a "tall big dude who is an Ohio State football recruiter."" That plotline offers much less ambiguity: it looks like Finn will be called up to a good college after all. And if the expectations we all have of Finn and Rachel reigniting their blowtorch of love are correct, we can also expect that Finn's football scholarship won't take him anywhere in the vicinity of New York (where Rachel wants to attend school). The age-old ""distance versus love"" debacle will most likely erupt towards the middle or end of this season. Will Rachel and Finn stay together past their time at McKinley? This is jumping the gun, of course. We still have the problems of Quinn, Jesse, Rachel's career, Finn's popularity and ""what's best for the Glee club"" to deal with.
But the greatest Glee news of all will involve the parents of another character: guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury. We will be introduced to Mr. Schue's obsessive-compulsive dream girl's (unsurprisingly) ginger-follicled parents. Her mother will be played by Valerie Mahaffey, a veteran TV actor who you might know from The United States of Tara. And as her father: the iconic Don Most, who is an eternal part of television history as Happy Days' Ralph Malph. Perhaps the beauty of this will be lost on Glee's younger audiences, but fellow nerds for classic sitcoms will revel in Don(ny) Most's return to the small screen.
If this information isn't enough for you, check out the endless supply of new Glee images, including class photos here and here, and shots from the upcoming season premiere, which will air Tuesday, September 20 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. Click on the photo to see our full Glee gallery.