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Empire's Final Season Ending Early Due To Coronavirus, Here's What'll Happen With Series Finale

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Just about every major TV show has faced a negative impact from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with many series having to face the reality that their current seasons won't be allowed to continue. Not every show is feeling the same kinds of woes, however, and Fox's Empire is arguably in a far worse predicament than most others, considering this is the twisty drama's final season. Unfortunately, it was confirmed that Empire will indeed cut Season 6 short without having filmed its intended series finale.

The confirmation was made in a way that viewers may not have even fully grasped in the moment. Following Tuesday night's installment, the promo for the next episode, "We Got Us," kicked off by telling audiences to be prepared for "the shocking final three episodes" of Empire, even though there were originally five more that would have wrapped up the sixth season. However, Hollywood's gradual shutdown for the coronavirus pandemic came when the drama was still in the midst of shooting Episode 19, without any filming being done on what was previously meant to be the finale.

At this point, it's not completely confirmed how Empire will be handling what will now be its series finale, which is set to air on April 21. Episode 18 was the final episode that fully completed filming before the shutdown, and per Deadline, the producers will probably be adding in some of the finished footage from Episode 19. Here's hoping there's enough there for everything to make contextual sense without any problems. Because the Lyons have more than enough problems already.

Empire's big wedding between Andre and Teri went off without a hitch on Tuesday night. Wait, no, that's the complete opposite of what actually happened, with Andre going all Kingsley on the venue after Teri made her exit following her talk with Cookie. It definitely seems like the show is going to push Andre right over the edge, but it remains to be seen how far he'll actually be able go without the official series finale in place.

As fans are well aware, Empire already had to shake up its sixth and final season thanks to all the legal issues surrounding former star Jussie Smollet, whose character Jamal was name-checked in the latest episode. He and Kai were said to be in Nairobi getting a new baby and finalizing the adoption process, but even though the character's story has continued progressing, viewers shouldn't expect to see Smollet back on screen at any point in the final episodes.

While there was a brief window when it looked like Jussie Smollet might still get a chance to return, it was confirmed various times since then that Empire will wrap up without him. That stance has been strengthened lately, with new indictments coming down in February, which the actor's legal team failed to get dismissed.

Of all the shows facing delays, Empire and Supernatural were the only series whose final seasons were disrupted by the coronavirus shutdowns. Supernatural showrunner Andrew Dabb had previously confirmed that the CW drama would officially wrap up its fifteenth year later in 2020 by filming the final two episodes and airing them with another five eps being held for that final run.

While Empire may be ending on Fox, there's always hope that the story will continue on in spinoff form, seeing as how no firm decisions have ever been announced regarding the proposed plan to give Taraji P. Henson's Cookie Lyon a prequel series. The flagship drama has been building the story between Cookie and Candace and other sisters recently, as it has in years past, perhaps with the goal of going deeper into that history with a follow-up series. Of course, Hollywood will need to start up again in order for that to ever happen anyway.

With three episodes left to go in its final season, Empire airs Wednesday nights on Fox at 9:00 p.m. ET.


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