Jussie Smollett Leaving ‘Empire’? Here’s The Truth About Character Jamal Lyon’s ‘Sabbatical’

Jussie Smollett was, indeed, told that his character Jamal Lyon would be leaving Empire, but there’s an interesting twist to the story. According to Life & Style, the chatter about Jamal Lyon taking a sabbatical leave from the show stems from the Empire fall finale where the 32-year-old actor appeared in a Pepsi commercial for the show.

Jussie Smollett revealed he had a heart-pounding discussion with the show’s creator Lee Daniels. Initially, the actor, who has also signed a record deal with Columbia Records due to his breakout success on the show, was quite concerned about the discussion with Lee because he seemed so serious that it made him quite nervous.

“[He] sat me down and said, ‘I need to talk to you,’” Jussie recalled. The 32-year-old also recalled Lee’s tension and how serious he seemed about the issue they needed to discuss. “I was like, ‘Am I being fired? Then [Lee] said ‘You’re not getting fired, but we want Jamal to take a sabbatical.’

“And so I as like ‘Alright… Well, how long?’ He’s quiet for a second and then he says “Stupid b—-, you ain’t being on sabbatical. You are the new face of Pepsi.’”

Fans who immediately panicked can definitely breathe easy now because Lee Daniel’s ruse was just a prank. Jussie Smollett isn’t going anywhere, but it’s probably safe to say the actor definitely wasn’t expecting such a distinguished cachet since he’d just been told about the possibility of taking a leave of absence from Empire in the near future.


However, the big news overshadowed any feelings of anxiety he previously had. During the interview with the celebrity news publication, Jussie Smollett shared his reaction to the big news. He revealed there was one legendary performer that immediately came to mind.

“All I could think of was Michael Jackson [after I found out],” Jussie said. “My mind went right there. Growing up people would ask me what did I want to be, and I swear on my life – you can ask my mother – I wanted to be He-Man, Michael Jackson, or Kermit the Frog. To me, all three of them were so dope. I’m so humbled to be able to do anything that is remotely anything that The King has had something to do with.”

Although Jussie Smollett won’t be missing in action on Empire, fans will still have to wait to see him in action again. Lee Daniels may have been joking about Jussie taking a sabbatical, but the show itself will be taking a “sabbatical” until next spring.

In addition to Jussie’s big Pepsi commercial, the riveting fall finale, titled “Et Tu, Brute?,” definitely packed a big punch with numerous jaw-dropping moments and revelations that left fans on the edge of the seats, according to Deadline. However, that’s not all the finale had to offer. It also left fans with a long list of unanswered questions. What will happen now that the family no longer has the controlling share over the Empire? Will Hakeem finally be the king? Is Camilla using Hakeem just to seek revenge against Lucious? Will Hakeem discover Onika’s pregnancy? Has Onika lost her mind? Did Rhonda and/or her unborn baby die? What does the future hold for Lyon Dynasty? Do Jamal Lyon and Skye Sommer have a real chance at love?

Unfortunately, all of the riveting questions will remain unanswered until the show returns next spring. According to Broadway World, Empire is scheduled to premiere on March 30, 2016, only on FOX.


Who do you think will rule the Empire? Share your thoughts.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]