Empire won't be getting the series finale the creators of the hit Fox show had in mind. Executive producers and co-creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have both confirmed that the show's upcoming April 21 episode will serve as the series finale. However, that wasn't originally the plan, which means the Lyon family won't be riding off into the sunset as intended.
The widespread production shutdown in Hollywood right now has had adverse effects on quite a few TV shows. Empire being one of them. The finale that the creative team had planned wasn't filmed and, with that, the 18th episode of the show's sixth season will bring Empire to an unceremonious end. Lee Daniels had this to say about it in a statement.
"The success of Empire and bringing the Lyon family to broadcast television will always be one of the proudest achievements of my career. This show is the definition of breaking barriers. Thank you to our incredible cast, especially Terrence and Taraji, along with our amazing writers and tireless crew, for all of their hard work and bringing this story to life. I think there's more to do with these characters, and I'm heartbroken we aren't getting to shoot the finale we wanted, at least not yet. But you know what they say in television? Stay tuned! To the Empire!"
The hope is that they can return, at some point down the line, and give the series a proper conclusion with what would, more or less, be a one-off special. But next week's episode could very well be the last thing fans see, and it remains to be seen how satisfying of a conclusion it will be, since this wasn't the plan heading in. Danny Strong had this to say in a statement.
"The episode airing on April 21 was never meant to be the series finale, but due to current events it will likely be the last one our fans will see for a while. We had an ending for the series planned that we all loved, and hopefully someday we'll be able to film it and give the series its proper conclusion. But we hope everyone tunes in to our last original episode, because the work done by our cast and crew deserves to be seen by the widest audience possible. Big thank you to Fox for being our home for these many years. And here's hoping this isn't the end!"
The impromptu finale is titled Home is On the Way. The episode picks up In the midst of the Bossyfest launch and centers on the fight to regain control of Empire. Cookie reflects on her life and the woman she has become. Lucious finds it impossible to deny his feelings for Cookie, while continuing to support Yana and her rise to stardom. The Lyons will face their biggest threat yet as Lucious prepares for the battle of his life and realizes that in the end, family is what matters the most.
Other shows, such as The Walking Dead, suffered similar setbacks. Though, in that case, a new season had already been ordered, so the show will go on. Aside from the finale, Fox is considering an Empire spin-off centered on Taraji P. Henson's Cookie, but nothing has officially been announced on that front. This news was previously reported by Deadline.