Taraji P. Henson Wants Jussie Smollett To Return To ‘Empire’: We Started With Him We Should Finish With Him, Network Says It’s Not Happening
Taraji P. Henson, who plays Jussie Smollett’s mom Cookie on the Fox drama “Empire” still wants his character Jamal Lyon to make a return before the show wraps after its sixth season this year.
Jussie Smollett starred in the show for the first five seasons. But he was removed ahead of the final season amid reports that he staged an attack against himself nearly a year ago. He alleged that two men approached him in Chicago, where “Empire” is filmed, and physically attacked him while yelling President Donald Trump’s infamous “Make America Great Again” slogan. He was even charged with 16 felony counts for allegedly filing a false police report. Those charges were later dropped, but now the city of Chicago is suing him for more than $100,000 for the cost of the investigation.
While “Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels has been conflicted about the claims against Jussie Smollett, if Taraji P. Henson had her way, Jussie Smollett would make an appearance on the show again. She told Access while at the FOX Winter TCA All Star Party:
“I was hoping we do. I would love to see him. I mean we started with him, we should finish with him. That’s my sentiment.”
Vivica Fox, who stars as Cookie’s sister Candace Mason, also said she’s here for Smollett’s return.
“I’ve been asking for Jussie from the beginning. He’s always gonna be family, we absolutely love him. In life we make mistakes and things happen but the best thing is that the cast is absolutely supportive of him and we’d love to see him again. But it is a network decision.”
Unfortunately for Smollett fans, the network says his return is a no go. Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn tells TVLine,
“We’re not going to bring Jussie back to the show. There were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back. There were many points of view about if he should come back or if he shouldn’t. As hard as a decision as that was, for us — and when I say us I mean the network, the studio and the producers — it felt like it was in the best interests of the show and the cast.”
“Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn’t overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him.”
Do you think Jussie Smollet should return for the last season? Tell us in the comments!