Jussie Smollet might be making a return to “Empire” as the series wraps up its six-season run. According to an interview with TVLine, Showrunner Brett Mahoney says that discussions are currently underway, indicating the controversial former cast member’s potential return.
“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 the outlet. “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.”
Back in February, Smollett was charged with the felonious filing of a false police report, when he claimed that he was attacked outside his Chicago apartment by two men that had allegedly called him racist and homophobic slurs. The attack was later found to be a staged event, in which Smollett had orchestrated in the hopes of increasing his “Empire” salary. The charges against the actor were later dropped.
Mahoney’s statement contradicts a tweet from series creator Lee Daniels, who back in June, declared: “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”
Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon, was written out of the final episodes of the show’s fifth season, following his legal scandal. When “Empire” was renewed for its sixth and final season last May, the network extended Smollett’s contract but said there were “no plans” to bring him back onto the show.
Prior to the beginning of the show’s sixth season, starring actress Taraji P. Henson was confident Smollett would return to the cast.
“The writers are trying to figure out what the next season is [going to] look like, what our storylines [are going to] be,” Henson said during an appearance on “The View” last April. “They’re trying to drum up some really good, juicy stuff for you guys.”