At the beginning of the month it was reported that Empire will be back for another season. The show was in a weird state of unknowing after Jussie Smollett allegedly staged a hate-crime against himself. Suddenly no one cared about Cookie’s one-liners or plots about the show since it was all about Jussie. Was he going to stay on the show? Was he going to go to jail? Was he going to have to pay Chicago? There were a lot of questions and now we have the answer to one about the show. It’s been announced that the upcoming sixth season will be it’s last and you can expect Jussie to not be there.
Deadline reports that Jussie successfully ended his own career as the show which made him famous ends. The cast and crew of Empire have been wondering what was going to happen. When shit first hit the fan for Jussie and his delicate house of MAGA cards crumbled against the weight of a police investigation, some of the cast and crew of Empire were pissed.
Eventually everyone seemed to come around (or the marketing department decided on a narrative to follow in conjunction with some crisis PR input) and they wrote an open letter of support to their friend and co-worker. The open letter didn’t seem to work, because it sounds like Jussie’s days on Empire are behind him.
Charlie Collier of Fox Entertainment had this to say at the Upfronts:
“We are turning the final season into a large TV event, we are trying to go out guns a blazing… You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”
And when asked about Jussie coming back, he said what we’ve already heard:
“There’s an option to have Jussie in the series but we have no plans for that.”
This is not at all shocking. Of course Empire is going to end after the next season–this was too dramatic and Jussie’s publicity was too bad. I mean, hopefully the crew throws Jussie a bone and lets him show up for the series finale where they can film the back of his head or something and he can collect a check for his one-line. Otherwise, Jussie won’t see himself on a set for quite sometime. Society won’t let him live this down. Faking a hate crime against yourself? That’s too far. It’s not like he did something forgivable like killing his spouse’s dog.