Jussie Smollett in talks for return to Empire for finale


Jussie Smollett could return to 'Empire' for the finale next year, showrunner Brett Mahoney says.

The 37-year-old actor - who played musician Jamal Lyon in the drama - had been accused of having orchestrated a racist and homophobic attack on himself back in January, and although he had the case against him dropped in March, he recently filed a petition for malicious prosecution, claiming officials created the narrative and it has cost him hugely.

As a result, Fox confirmed there were "no plans" for him to return to the show, with his last appearance in June.

However, Mahoney says they are currently in discussion with the 'Alien: Covenant' star to bring him back for the final in spring 2020.

The executive producer told TV Line: "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.

"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."

Confirming his exit from the family comedy, Fox CEO Charlie Collier said at the time: "We as much as anything in case like this, you try to get all the information and make a good decision. [Creator Lee Daniels] is right, there's no plans for Jussie to return to 'Empire' ... typically it's about gathering right info and making sure we're making the right decisions."

'Empire' creator Lee Daniels had admitted he was "beyond embarrassed" to have initially defended Jussie in the wake of the allegations.

He said in June: "I'm beyond embarrassed. I think that when it happened, I had a flash of me running from bullies. I had a flash of my whole life, of my childhood, my youth, getting beaten.

"Of course, there's some doubt. I'm telling you that because I love him so much. That's the torture that I'm in right now, because it's literally if it were to happen to your son and your child, how would you feel? You would feel, Please, God, please let there be that glimmer of hope that there is some truth in this story. That's why it's been so painful. It was a flood of pain."

Jussie - who had played Jamal since the beginning of the show - was indicted in March with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report claiming he was attacked by two men in Chicago in January.

He pled not guilty, and charges were eventually dropped later that month.