Empire will end sooner than expected after the coronavirus pandemic forced filming to shut down.
Though the hip hop drama was always intended to wrap up with its current sixth season, a planned series finale – episode 20 – has now been abandoned.
Instead, the 18th episode of the season will serve as a substitute series ender, with footage from the unfinished episode 19 – which was halfway through filming when production was halted – being incorporated to “help create a more seamless overall ending” according to Deadline.
A possible spin-off featuring Taraji P Henson’s character Cookie Lyon is also reportedly in the early stages of development.
Empire – which focuses on the fictional hip hop music firm Empire Entertainment and its founders the Lyon family – originally launched in 2015 and was a ratings hit for US broadcaster FOX, originally airing on E4 in the UK.
From season four onwards, 5Star aired the show in the UK, but the channel is yet to announce a return date for the sixth and final season.
Plans for Empire’s final episodes were previously changed when star Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon) abruptly exited the show ahead of its sixth year, after the actor faced indictment for allegedly staging a fate hate crime attack and filing false police reports.
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