Empire final season to end early, won't film intended series finale
After the coronavirus shut down production early, the hit Fox series will end two episodes earlier than intended.
UPDATE: Fox has confirmed that Empire's last original episode will air April 21, meaning the record-setting drama will not get to film the planned series finale… for now.
“The success of Empire and bringing the Lyon family to broadcast television will always be one of the proudest achievements of my career," co-creator Lee Daniels said in a statement. "This show is the definition of breaking barriers. Thank you to our incredible cast, especially Terrence [Howard] and Taraji [P. Henson], 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!”
Added fellow co-creator Danny Strong: “We’re so proud of this show and of everything this incredible cast — led by Taraji and Terrence — and crew accomplished over six seasons. 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!”
EARLIER: It appears Empire's reign will end early.
The hit Fox music drama was supposed to have five more episodes to go in its final season, but like nearly every TV series and film, production was shut down due to the coronavirus breakout. While the fate of season and series finale for other shows is still up in the air, it now appears that Empire's is sealed. A promo teasing next Tuesday's milestone 100th episode is advertising this as the beginning of "the shocking final three episodes of Empire."
That would mean that Empire's end is being cut short, and that they will not get to film their planned series finale. Deadline reports that footage from what would have been the 19th episode, which production was halted on during this pandemic, will be weaved into episode 18 to make it better serve as the final installment.
Fox declined comment.
It remains to be determined if fans will get the resolution to some of the season's mysteries, including the flash-forwards of Lucious (Terrence Howard) being shot and Cookie's (Taraji P. Henson) car being blown up.
"It’s all about family," showrunner Brett Mahoney previously told EW of the last batch of episodes. "It’s such an explosive family with so much drama but also so much love for one another, so the question is, will the love they have for one another be able to withstand all of the drama that they bring to it? And will they come out of these last 10 episodes standing, or will they come out of it torn apart? It’s really getting to the core issues of family and the Lyon family, right where we started."
Empire airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
This article was originally published April 1, 2020, and updated April 14.