(NEW YORK) — We now know how Empire will deal with the departure of Jussie Smollett’s character, Jamal, from the series, following accusations the actor staged a hate crime against himself back in January.
“He’s on his honeymoon! [Show co-creator] Lee [Daniels] has spoken a lot about this situation and this story will reflect it,” Charlie Collier, CEO of Fox Entertainment, said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, mirroring Daniels’ comments that Smollett won’t be returning.
“You’ll see pictures of him in the background. He’s on his honeymoon in the storyline. Lee and the team have talked a lot about what they’re going to do, and there are some surprises at the beginning of this season that you’re going to love. And I really think Empire is going to go out just on a high.”
Daniels announced back in June that Smollett would not return for the show’s sixth and final season, premiering September 24.
Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, though all charges were eventually dropped. That decision is currently being reviewed by a special prosecutor, including the actions of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, whose office dropped the charges.
21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.
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