Empire creator Lee Daniels has plans for a Cookie Lyon spin-off

Lucious Lyon's ex-wife is being lined up for her very own series looking into the backstory of Taraji P Henson's character


With 20 million viewers tuning into its series finale, it comes as no surprise that there are already plans for an Empire spin-off. And it’s no surprise either that the subject of said spin-off is Cookie Lyon. 


Played by actress Taraji P Henson (who has already picked up a Critics Choice Award and Emmy nomination for her efforts), Cookie is the stand-out character of Lee Daniels’ series (I wrote a lengthy ode to her here), and the creator has been teasing fans with his ideas for a breakout show focusing on his leading lady.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour yesterday, Daniels said “there’s going to be a spin-off of Empire, without question,” adding that his potential new series would investigate the backstory of the Lyon family’s estranged matriarch. 

“I have to tell a story that I know. I can’t tell it unless I’ve lived it,” explained Daniels. “OK, here [Cookie] is now. How did she get to where she’s at right now? Let’s go back and understand her mother. Let’s go back and understand her sisters. Let’s get back and understand the makings of her. That I know, because I know Cookie… It would be like a prequel.”

Although the Empire creator did add, “I don’t think we’re quite there yet,” explaining he had to focus on his new Fox pilot Star for the time being. His latest creation is set in Atlanta and follows an all-girl pop group’s rise to the top. Set in the same general universe as Empire, Fox boss Dana Walden hinted there was a possibility of a future crossover between Daniels’ two series.

“It’s not inconceivable that the two worlds could cross, but that’s not Lee’s intention,” she explained during an executives panel at the same event. “Perhaps down the line there will be some shared DNA, but not heading into the show.”

Following its gigantic first season in the States, Empire is poised to return for a second run from 23rd September on Fox with guest stars including Mariah Carey, Marisa Tomei, Chris Rock, Ludcris, Kelly Rowland and more. Empire airs in the UK on E4, although there’s no word yet on when the new series will begin airing this side of the pond. 

In the meantime, we’ll have to console ourselves with this brand new action-packed trailer for series two. Keep an eye out for Lucious’ prison antics, Hakeem’s wheely shoes, and Cookie’s endless sass.



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