Taraji P. Henson says “There’s… no way to wrap” ‘Empire’ without Jussie Smollett


ABC/Craig Sjodin(NEW YORK) — With the last season of Empire currently underway, Taraji P. Henson is sharing her thoughts on the possibility of a reunion show to wrap things up for loyal fans.

Henson tells ABC Audio that she’d be down for an Empire reunion after the season ends, but only if everyone is involved.  And that means everyone.

Oh, absolutely. [But,] we have to see Jussie [Smollett],” she says. “I feel like there’s really no way to wrap this show up without him. He was…and is such an integral part.”

Smollett was indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct in Chicago for filing a false police report after claiming he was the victim of a hate crime in January. Although all charges were eventually dropped, the decision is currently being reviewed by a special prosecutor, as are the actions of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, whose office dropped the charges.

Furthermore, Empire creator Lee Daniels also confirmed in June that Smollett would not return as Jamal Lyon for the show’s sixth and final season.

Still, Henson, who plays Jussie mother’s, Cookie Lyon, on the series, says she stands by her on-screen son, adding that the entire cast “miss[es] him dearly.”

“That character was very important to our show, especially for the LGBT community,” she says. “So, we’re trying to keep him alive without him being there.”

“I know Cookie is because that was her baby,” she continues. “Still her baby. And he my baby — still in real life.”

Empire airs Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.

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