‘Empire’ Season 2 Promises To Be An Ab-tastic Joyride

Fans of Fox’s runaway hit Empire are waiting with baited breath for the show’s second season premiere, but Empire co-creator Lee Daniels promises the wait will be more than worth it. Jussie Smollett (Jamal) told E! Online that Season 1 would look like The Brady Bunch compared to Season 2. So if you thought Empire’s debut season was a roller-coaster ride, buckle up. Smollett says Empire‘s season two will be like season one “time 20 million.”

Currently in production, Daniels shared some snaps on his Instagram from the set of the show’s second season, hinting at some fresh but familiar faces.

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In addition to a recurring appearance by funny man Chris Rock, Empire’s second season will also open its doors to hip hop artist and producer Swizz Beatz and his wife, R&B singer Alicia Keys, according to Vibe. Also joining Empire’s celebrity rotation are Marisa Tomei, who is playing billionaire hip hop junkie Mimi Whiteman, and, according to E! Online, Magic Mike XXL’s Adam Rodriguez, who co-starred as the love interest of Empire’s resident bad girl Taraji P Henson in Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Rodriguez and Henson’s characters will reportedly bond over a shared affliction. Deadline reports sexy, sultry singer Lenny Kravitz will also appear on the show.

In addition to Empire’s curious cast of characters, fans can expect to get a deeper look into the mind of the mogul behind Empire Records. Empire star Terrence Howard, who plays the show’s intimidating patriarch Lucious Lyons, reportedly told Entertainment Tonight what Lucious will be up to.

This second season, we’re going to find out what turned Lucious into who he is, and he’s going to clean up some messes that were left in the last episode.”

But Lucious will be left cleaning up those messes from behind bars, as Empire executive producer Ilene Chaiken revealed to TV Line during the Critics’ Choice Awards. Chaiken, careful not to give Empire’s secrets away, said that Season 2 will contain a significant “time jump” where Lucious would still be in prison. Incarceration, however, would not stop Lucious from, well, being Lucious.

Lucious can do what he does no matter where he is. Lucious, basically, has tentacles.”

Given that Empire’s debut season was a ratings bonanza, Empire’s second season is expected to be Christmas in September, especially with the rising eminence of the show’s dynamic duo. Howard and Henson recently swept the 2015 BET Awards to snag Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. Henson, who recently sported purple locks, beat out Scandal’s Kerry Washington and How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis for the coveted trophy. Henson also won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress for her role as Empire’s matriarch Cookie.

Empire has been nominated for the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Drama Series and Most Bingeworthy Show, so there is still time to catch up before Empire’s Season 2 premiere which airs on Fox, September 23 at 9 p.m.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]