December “Empire” was discussing the possibility of bringing back disgraced actor Jussie Smollett for its final run before the show ends.
Showrunner Brett Mahoney told TVLine “It’s fair to say it’s being discussed.”
“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him,” said Mahoney, before adding, “It’s fair to say it’s being discussed, but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back. There’s been no decision made.”
However, the speculation of a potential return has now been squashed.
Per Yahoo, according to Fox entertainment boss Michael Thorn, that’s not going to happen.
“He will not be coming back,” Thorn said. “As you would expect when you’re finishing an iconic series like ‘Empire,’ that Brett, as the showrunner, along with his producing partners, would certainly have discussions about what’s the best way to finish the show. In this case, Jussie will not be coming back for the finale.”
Smollett left the show toward the end of last season, shortly after Chicago law enforcement accused Smollett of staging a high-profile hate crime against himself. The producers, responding to intense public pressure, wrote Smollett out of the final episodes of Season 5 despite protests from Smollett’s supporters on the cast.
The show’s producers have never given serious indication that Smollett or his character, Jamal, would return — Fox said prior to the start of the current season that there were “no plans” for him to reappear — but showrunner Brett Mahoney recently told TheWrap that given the show’s nature as a family drama, it would be “weird and particularly challenging to do [the finale] without him.”
“Our hope at Fox — and I know the producers feel the same way — is that the show, to us, is much bigger than some of the personal stuff that’s unfortunately happened for Jussie, where we just want the ending to be as epic as the beginning,” Thorn said.