Jussie Smollett, the ostracized former actor on the show, Empire, may be making a return for the finale of the last season, it is being reported. He has not made any appearances on the show this season as a result of the fallout from the alleged hate crimes against him being put into question this past January, along with the subsequent controversy that ensued.
Is this the breaking point that Smollett needs to move on with his career? And what are the show's higher-ups saying? Brett Mahoney, the showrunner for Empire, gave up some details on the possibility.
According to Mahoney, the need for Jussie Smollett to reappear would not be one with PR or rating motivations. It's more about the continuity of the plot and closure for the show, which will be ending its run with the finale of the sixth season.
Nonetheless, Mahoney, in speaking with TV Line shared that the possibility of Smollett's return was being 'discussed'. He further went on into detail about why his return would be necessary for the show.
“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,” Mahoney said. “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.”
Pulling a Full 180
TV Line also revealed that when the contract was signed to extend the show to a final and sixth season, there were no plans discussed within the contract to being back Smollett. Other representatives for the show declined to comment on the matter.
This development is quite interesting and a complete turnaround from this past June where show creator, Lee Daniels, absolutely slammed the door on Smollett's return by stating on Twitter, "Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire."
Smollett was written off for the remainder of the episodes in the final season.
The Big Hoax
It's understandable that this move is being discussed with caution. In January, Smollett reported to police that while walking home Chicago sandwich shop at 2 a.m., he was openly assaulted by two masked men beat him and taunted him with racial and homophobic slurs, even yelling the phrase, 'This is MAGA country'.
Very quickly, an intense investigation ensued with the findings shocking the nation. According to the police, Smollett had set up with 'mugging' and paid two men to stand in as actors, all in an attempt to produce publicity for his career. He was charged with filing a false police report and arrested.
Ultimately, the charges were dropped, although Smollett let the authorities keep the $10,000 used for his bail.
Making a Calculated Decision
Throughout this saga, Smollett has maintained his innocence. Despite this, though, there are a lot of opinions about him and what should have with his acting career. Most do not endorse his return.
One Twitter user said, "If you have that lying #JussieSmollett back on that just means everyone involved on the show is ok with creating a dangerous hoax. None of you could ever speak with honor or integrity again but most of you seem to only care about yourselves anyway."
Regardless of what happens, the executives for Empire will weigh their options and the potential implications that could result from bringing Smollett back, even if it's for only one episode.