‘Empire’ Season 2: Chris Rock’s Role, Cast Announcements, And ‘Warring Kingdoms’

It was just announced that Fox’s Empire will return in September, and from the looks of it, the writers are back at work on a full-fledged season.

Now, we’re learning more about what’s coming up for Season 2. We’ve already reported that Chris Rock will guest star on Empire‘s second season, but beyond that, there was no news reported on what his role will be. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the cast gathered at the Television Academy panel to spill some info about Season 2.

Co-creator Danny Strong said Chris Rock will be “a person from the past.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a big name was involved in flashbacks. Mary J. Blige and Cuba Gooding Jr. are both a part of Cookie and Lucious Lyon’s past. As for other guest stars, they include Alicia Keys, and Lenny Kravitz, with more to follow.

That said, Empire isn’t going to turn into the guest-star-of-the-week show. Show runner Ilene Chaiken talked about the challenge of getting notable names while creating an honest and compelling show.

“The biggest challenge, I feel, is to stay true to the stories, to stay true to the characters. To make sure that Empire continues to be about this family and these relationships and not to lose sight of that in the midst of all of the fabulous opportunities to bring great guest stars onto this show, which we are going to do, but Empire is the Lyons.”

As the Inquisitr reported, Empire’s second season has been expanded to 18 episodes, which is more than what Season 1 had. The extended order did make Strong a bit nervous about sustaining the same success and quality that was produced in the first season.

“I was concerned about doing 18 episodes, about keeping the show at the same level of quality as first season. I wasn’t confident about it, but I’ve been told that that’s what it is, so now we’re jumping in and we’re just trying to do the best we can. It’s a really challenging show to put together. It doesn’t have a cookie cutter model.”

As for fan favorite Jamal Lyon, when we left the first season of Empire, Jamal had inherited the family business. Actor Jussie Smollett said of his leadership, “He’s going to be a very passionate leader. He’s going to lead with his heart and sometimes that’s going to get him in trouble.”

Jamal may be at the center of the main storyline once again, as Chaiken said the theme will be about warring kingdoms. “If season one was [about] who will inherit the throne, season two is warring kingdoms.”

And the matriarch of Empire, Cookie Lyon, has a lot to do this season. It seems like she’ll be juggling not one, but two men other than Lucious. One of those men is Adam Rodriguez who just joined the cast as Laz Delgado, a smooth talking native New Yorker who is vying for Cookie’s heart. Just because she’s juggling men, doesn’t mean she’s turned soft. In fact, Taraji P. Henson said that she’s going to come out swinging.

“She’s getting back to what she did when she built the empire. She’s been tucked away for 17 years. Now she’s been out for some time, so you get to see the Cookie that actually built Empire back in the day, starting from nothing.”

Are you excited to hear about the developing lines for Empire‘s second season?

[Image via Fox]

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