07/18/2011 06:43 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2011

Idina Menzel Returning to 'Glee': Broadway Star Lands Major Story Arc

Fans of the hit FOX show 'Glee' are still reeling from the news that fan favorites Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Chris Colfer will be leaving the show after its upcoming third season. But with the stories of Rachel, Finn and Kurt coming to a close, co-creator Ryan Murphy is going to make sure these characters go out with a bang, especially considering this recent piece of casting news.

Deadline reports that Idina Menzel, who was introduced to Gleeks back in season 1 as Rachel Berry's biological mother and the rival glee club -- Vocal Adrenaline's -- cut-throat coach, is set to return to the series for a major arc this fall, which could end up spanning 10-12 episodes.

"I'm really excited that Idina is joining the family again," Murphy told Deadline. "We missed her last year and we're happy that she is coming back."

Last we saw of the Broadway star's character, Shelby Corcoran, she was heading off to New York City after adopting Puck (Mark Salling) and Quinn's (Dianna Agron) newborn baby. Season 3 will ultimately see Shelby return to Ohio as McKinley High's newest teacher, complicating things for her daughter Rachel (Michele) and New Directions coach, Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison).

News of Menzel's return to the series comes just days after Murphy announced plans for several major characters to graduate at the end of season 3 and leave the series.

"You can keep them on the show for six years and people will criticize you for not being realistic," Murphy told The Hollywood Reporter, "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."

Could Shelby potentially lead McKinley's New Directions to a Nationals Championship? Is she behind Rachel -- and Kurt's -- big move to New York City? Looks like we'll have to wait until season 3's Sept. 20 premiere to find out.