Fox has revealed that Empire will return for a sixth season but it appears that Jussie Smollett will not.
Smollett was written out of the final two episodes of season 5 after being accused of faking an attack he claimed happened to him back in January. His future and the show’s future have been in question ever since and cast members such as Taraji P. Henson have vouched for Jussie’s return to the show.
However, Fox has issued a statement per E! saying, “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.”
Smollett’s final episode in season five ended with his character Jamal marring Kai (Toby Onwumere), the first gay wedding between two African-American men depicted on television. While it is presumed he his off on his honeymoon, the return of the character or his exit have yet not been addressed.
“Empire continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the FOX legacy,” said Michael Thorn, President of Entertainment for Fox Entertainment, in a statement on the renewal. “We want to thank everyone on the show—Taraji, Terrence and the entire cast, as well as Lee, Danny, Brett, Sanaa, Brian, Francie, Dennis and their teams —all of whom have done a tremendous job this season. We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for Season Six.”