We may not have seen the last of Jamal on Empire after all, as controversial actor Jussie Smollett might return for the series finale. Following the national scandal over Smollett's alleged assault, the actor was written out of the series with no clear plans to ever bring him back. Now, Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney says there are talks behind the scenes of bringing back Smollett for the final episode. As he explains:
"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. 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."
Mahoney may be hopeful to see Jussie Smollett return to Empire one last time so his character can have proper closure, but not everyone involved with the series may be quite as eager to see it happen. Co-creator has previously said that Smollett would not be coming back, stating bluntly in a tweet, "Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire." When the show was renewed for its sixth and final season, the network extended Smollett's contract option to keep the door open for a potential return, though they also noted that "there are no plans for the Jamal character to return to Empire."
The story of Jussie Smollett's alleged assault is coming up on a year old, as the incident was first reported by the actor on Jan. 29. According to Smollett, he was assaulted by two men outside of his apartment building, alleging the pair had doused him with chemicals and placed a noose around his neck, spouting racial and homophobic slurs during the attack. Smollett also described the men as wearing red MAGA hats and ski masks, suggesting that the motivation behind the attack was Smollett's criticism of President Donald Trump.
As the police investigation commenced, however, the evidence began to point towards a much different story than the one given by Smollett. According to the Chicago Police Department, their investigation had uncovered evidence of Smollett hiring two men to stage the assault against him; they were identified as two Nigerian brothers who worked with Smollet on Empire. Because their findings had determined Smollett orchestrated the attack, he was charged with a class 4 felony for filing a police report. Additionally, the actor lost his job, as Fox had him written out of Empire soon after.
For his part, Smollett was able to catch a break when the charges against him were dropped when the actor reportedly agreed to a plea deal to forfeit his $10,000 bond and complete 16 hours of community service. However, the city of Chicago has since filed a lawsuit against Smollett over the incident, demanding he repay $130,105.15 for the costs of paying officers overtime to investigate his case. The Osundairo brothers, who allegedly assisted with the hoax, have also filed a defamation suit against Smollett. In response, Smollett has countersued the city of Chicago and continues to insist his assault was genuine.
Time will tell if Smollett ends up showing up for the series finale of Empire, but given the controversy surrounding his name, it doesn't seem very likely Jamal will return. Perhaps it's best to just imagine Jamal riding off into the sunset, as whatever storyline the writers could come up with to conclude his character's story would certainly be overshadowed by what most people consider to be a phony assault. This news comes to us from The Jasmine Brand.