Empire fans might see Jamal Lyon one last time before the end of the show. The Fox musical drama will come to an end in 2020 and producers are looking at possibly bringing back Jussie Smollett’s character for a final appearance in the series finale, which will likely air a year after he was written out of the show. Smollett left the series after the controversy surrounding his alleged attack in Chicago, which police later accused him of faking for publicity.
Showrunner Brett Mahoney said in a new report that discussions are underway for the actor to reprise his role as Jamal before the show ends in spring 2020.
“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,” Mahoney told TVLine Tuesday ahead of the show’s fall finale. “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.”
The new report comes as a surprise to some, given that series co-creator Lee Daniels tweeted in June Smollett would “NOT be returning to Empire” following reports producers were considering bringing him back after some time away in the first half of the season.
Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon since the first episode of the hit Fox drama, was written out before the end of Season 5, with producers saying the decision was made to prevent further disruptions to production after the controversy erupted earlier in 2019.
The actor claimed he was attacked by two men wearing “MAGA” hats who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him back in January. Smollett was later accused of faking the attack and charged with filing a false police report. The charges were later dropped in March and the scandal died down, though rumours continue to swirl that the actor should face civil lawsuits or other charges.
Throughout the scandal, Smollett maintained his innocence and had the support of his Empire co-stars. After the announcement of the show’s renewal for a sixth and final season, the network announced they had extended Smollett’s contract to include Season 6, though they said there were “no plans” to bring the character back.
The show wrote Jamal out of the story near the end of Season 5, staging the character’s wedding to his fiancé Kai (Toby Onwumere). They explained his absence for the last two episodes of the season by saying the couple was on their honeymoon. During the Season 6 premiere, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) revealed in a conversation with Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) that after a time jump Jamal and Kai had moved to London to get away from the Lyon family drama.
What do you think of Smollett’s possible return? Empire will air its fall finale Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
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