The Fox drama series will return, and while the studio negotiated an extension for the actor to come back after he was written out of the last two episodes of Season 5, there are still "no plans" for Jamal Lyon to return.
"By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire," Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television said in a statement to Variety.
During production of Season 5, Smollett was assaulted in Chicago, which he claimed to have been racially and politically motivated. The case took a turn when police shifted the investigation and accused the actor of filing false statements and possibly staging the attack for publicity.
Weeks after he was indicted, the criminal charges against Smollett were dropped by the city, as the actor maintained his innocence. However, the city of Chicago has filed a lawsuit to ask him to pay for the costs of the investigation.
The fifth season of the beloved series focused on the Lyon family attempting to get back their company, as terrible secrets came to life, including the existence of Lucious' secret first-born son, who appeared in his life to seek revenge.
Jamal Lyon's storyline wrapped up in last week's episode when he married fiancé Kai (Toby Onwumere) in a lavish ceremony featuring a performance by Chaka Khan and officiated by Jamal's best friend Becky (Gabourey Sidibe). Both Jamal and Kai will supposedly head out of town on their honeymoon for the last two episodes of the season, which are also set to reveal which member of the Lyon family rests in the coffin — as has been teased since the season premiere.
Ahead of the airing of the episode, the main cast of the show — including Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard and Sidibe — released an open letter addressed to show producers advocating for Smollett to return in Season 6.
Empire Season 5 averaged 4.7 million total live viewers and a 1.4 in the 18-49 demo. The show was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, who executive produce along with Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Sanaa Hamri, Dennis Hammer, Matt Pyken, Diane Adamu-John and Brett Mahoney.
The series now joins medical drama The Resident, hit show 9-1-1, and comedies Last Man Standing, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and The Simpsons for Fox' 2019-2020 season. The future of Empire spinoff series, Star, is still up in the air.
Empire airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.