Jussie Smollett is out of Empire for good, according to co-creator, Lee Daniels.
Variety dropped the bomb that writers of the Fox drama were preparing for Smollett's return as Jamal Lyon during the show's sixth and final season, but Daniels was quick to refute those claims on Twitter.
"This is not factual," he commented below the post on Variety's official Twitter account.
"Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire. -LD."
Smollett played Jamal Lyon on the first five seasons of the musical-tinged drama series, but his tenure on the series was thrown into question when he claimed he was beaten up by two men in Chicago.
The actor alleged that the two attackers wore "MAGA" hats as they hurled racist and homophobic insults at him, tied a noose around his neck, and poured a substance thought to be bleach over him.
Despite Chicago P.D. saying they thought Smollett orchestrated the attack, all charges later got dropped.
Smollett missed out on the final two episodes of Empire Season 5 as a result of the scandal with the character of Jamal leaving New York to go on his honeymoon.
Many Empire cast members put their names on a letter in April that was sent to multiple Fox executives and series producers with the aim of having Jussie return for the sixth season.
“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother, and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire,” the lengthy letter read.
Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Bryshere Y. Gray, Trai Byers, Gabourey Sidibe, and Nicole Ari Parker signed the document.
It seemed like it could have worked when Fox announced that Smollett's option for a sixth season had been picked up, despite no formal plans to bring him back into the mix.
With the news that Empire is concluding next season, there's a chance the role could be recast to bring Jamal back to say goodbye.
What are your thoughts on this?
Hit the comments below.
Remember you can watch Empire online right here via TV Fanatic.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.