Empire Showrunner Says He's 'Hoping' to Shoot 'Real Series Finale' One Day

Empire Showrunner Says He's 'Hoping' to Shoot 'Real Series Finale' One Day

April 22, 2020

Is this really the end of Empire?

On Tuesday, showrunner Brett Mahoney opened up the urgent and sudden decision to shut down production for the FOX series’ sixth and final season amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the final episode of the series, and what’s in store for Empire‘s future.

“We looked at the series premiere and said, ‘How can we end this in the most poetic way possible and honoring that really great series premiere?’ That was our inspiration for the true series finale, and we just had to let that go when I wasn’t able to shoot that,” showrunner Brett Mahoney told Variety of the series finale, which aired on Tuesday.

“When it was clear we were going to have to shut down [production] for the health and safety of our cast and crew, which of course came first, I realized there was an element of Episode 19 that had the spirit and the feeling of the season finale in terms of the Lyons coming together for their family and one another,” Mahoney said. “So I could build the elements to that — meaning taking out elements of 18 to make room for these elements of 19 to combine them and hopefully give something that was satisfying and had the spirit of a series finale. But we’re still hoping to one day shoot the real series finale.”

While Mahoney said it is unclear what the future holds for the beloved show, he noted that he’s had conversations with the cast, crew members and network about possibly shooting the “true” series finale, saying it “is the hope and the dream.”

Despite prior discussions on whether or not Jussie Smollett would return for the series finale, the 37-year-old actor did reprise his role as Jamal Lyon and did not appear in the final episode.

In August, during Fox’s Television Critics Association tour, Charlie Collier, the network’s CEO, confirmed that fans shouldn’t expect to see Smollett return for the show’s final season.

(Smollett was indicted in March with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report claiming two men attacked him in an alleged homophobic and racist hate crime in Chicago. Smollett has always denied any wrongdoing.)

“We as much as anything in case like this, you try to get all the information and make a good decision,” Collier explained. “[Creator Lee Daniels] is right, there’s no plans for Jussie to return to Empire … typically it’s about gathering right info and making sure we’re making the right decisions.”

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