Could Jamal Lyon be making a comeback?
Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney tells TVLine that “discussions are underway” to have Jussie Smollett reprise his role as Jamal before the Fox drama wraps its six-season run this spring.
“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,” says Mahoney. “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.”
This is surprising news considering the network announced earlier this year that Smollett would not be returning to the series when it was renewed for one final season.
“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,” Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement.
As NewNowNext previously reported, the actor was originally cut from the show back in February, but he was brought back after the cast sent a letter in support of him to the network.
A spokesperson for Smollett said in a statement that the actor was “grateful to Fox and Empire leadership, cast, crew and fans for their unwavering support.”
“We’ve been told that Jussie will not be on Empire in the beginning of the season, but he appreciates they have extended his contract to keep Jamal’s future open.”
Smollett had claimed in January that he was attacked by anti-gay, racist Trump supporters. Meanwhile, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, Smollett’s alleged attackers, are suing the actor’s lawyers; they claim Smollett set up the attack on himself and that his attorneys, Mark Geragos and Tina Glandian, then lied about what occurred.
The actor was sued by the City of Chicago for more than $130,000 to reimburse the police department for its hate crime investigation. Smollett has maintained his innocence, however, and all charges against him were dropped.
Smollett’s character was casually written out of the series; following Jamal’s wedding to partner Kai Givens (Toby Onwumere), the newlyweds were said to have run off to London to escape Lyon family drama.
Maybe Jamal will jump the pond for a family reunion?