Empire is coming to an end sooner than originally planned.
That much we already knew.
What we didn't know was whether the show was going to have a satisfying ending in mind for the fans who have watched for six seasons.
Even the show's leading lady has no idea how the final episode will play out.
Taraji P. Henson joined NBC’s 3rd Hour of TODAY to talk about the series finale and how she’s giving back during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We actually had an ending for you guys but COVID shut us down, so I will be finding out what's happening at the same time you guys are…We were slated to do 20 episodes," she told Sheinelle Jones, adding:
"We got shut down in the middle of production on episode 19," she continued.
"So they had to go into the editing room to make movie magic to give you a finale, and I honestly don't know how it's going to end. I used to know.”
It's bizarre that the leading actress on the series does not know how things are going to play out, and this could suggest that fans will not be getting a satisfying conclusion.
When Fox announced Empire would only air 18 of the 20 ordered episodes, it started to run promos saying the "series finale" would be airing April 21.
If footage from the 19th episode is being used to make a more streamlined finale, it's hard to imagine the now-series finale having any sort of resolution to the "Who killed Cookie and Lucious?" plot.
That was supposed to be answered in the 20th episode of the season.
Empire creators/executive producers Lee Daniels and Danny Strong recently opened up about the show's earlier than planned conclusion, and made it clear they wanted to wrap up the storyline someday.
"I’m heartbroken we aren’t getting to shoot the finale we wanted — at least not yet,” Daniels said.
Added Strong, “We had an ending for the series planned that we all loved, and hopefully someday we’ll be able to film it and give the series its proper conclusion.”
As for what the now-series finale will be about, here's the logline:
In the midst of the Bossyfest launch and the fight to regain control of Empire, Cookie reflects on her life and the woman she has become.
Lucious finds it impossible to deny his feelings for Cookie, while continuing to support Yana (guest star Kiandra Richardson) and her rise to stardom.
When the Lyons face their biggest threat yet, Lucious prepares for the battle of his life and realizes that in the end, family is what matters the most in the all-new "Home is on the Way" episode of EMPIRE airing Tuesday, April 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (EMP-618) (TV-14 D, L, S, V)
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.