Smollett was let go from the show after he was charged with filing a false police report for a story he told of being attacked by two men hurling racist and homophobic slurs.
It looks like the final verdict is in on the fate of Jussie Smollett's Jamal Lyon on "Empire" as the popular Fox series heads into the homestretch. Will he make a final appearance or not?
It was just a month ago that showrunner Brett Mahoney told TVLine that "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." At the time, though, he did admit that while there were ongoing discussions about the Smollett situation, no final decisions had been made.
It looks like they have now, though, as Fox head Michael Thorn told the outlet in no uncertain terms, "We're not going to bring Jussie back to the show."
Smollett was first written out of the show after his allegations of being attacked by two men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him began to be scrutinized and were ultimately deemed false by authorities.
In turn, Smollett was hit with charges of filing a false police report, with allegations he had faked the attack in an effort to raise his profile and negotiate a higher pay rate on the show.
While those charges were ultimately dropped, Smollett has not been seen since on the Fox series. He maintains his innocence and insists the attack was real and as he reported it.
"Our hope is that all of the controversy surrounding Jussie doesn't overshadow the show, which we think is bigger than him," said Thorn.
Admitting that it was a hard decision and one that was discussed with production, the studio and the network, Thorn said "there were a number of factors that went into the decision to not bring him back." He did not elaborate on what those were, but it would seem the network just doesn't want the distractions.
Certainly, Smollett's return to the show would likely overshadow anything happening on the show itself, as far as the media would be concerned. The final word on his character was that Jamal got married and is currently living happily in London ... far away from the action.
"Brett and the producers have a fantastic way to conclude the series that we are really excited about and we think it will be as epic a finish as its [beginning]," Thorn said.
"Empire" will return in early 2020 to kick off its final ten episodes on Fox.