Jussie Smollett is opening up about the extreme lengths a slew of passionate Empire fans went to after it appeared that the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, killed off Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon.
Speaking out to Entertainment Tonight, Jussie confessed that a number of fans actually sent death threats to the showrunner after last week’s episode and said that they wouldn’t be tuning if Smollett’s character was really killed-off in the episode “Rise by Sin.”
“Lee [Daniels] has been getting death threats of people being like, ‘If Jamal dies, you die.’ Knife emoji, knife emoji, knife emoji! The fans are on another level, it’s incredible,” Jussie confessed to the site ahead of the season two finale this week, coyly teasing that Empire fans will “have to wait and see” if Jamal Lyon actually survives what could be the fatal shooting.
As Empire fans will know, Smollett’s character took a bullet from Freda Gatz, played by rapper Bre-Z, as she attempted to shoot Jamal’s dad, Lucious Lyon, in the penultimate episode of season two, but it was Jussie’s elusive Twitter message following the dramatic episode that has Empire fans believing this could really be the end for Smollett.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time w/ [Empire]. I love you all. Truth,” Jussie tweeted out following the episode on May 11, telling fans that it was “Time 2 make a record & some movies” alongside the hashtag “#Empire.”
Jussie Smollett would neither confirm nor deny that his tweet officially confirmed that he was leaving the Fox drama in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, though he did admit that what’s coming in the Empire season two finale will bring both tears and happiness.
“It’s handled in a beautiful way. I think there’s going to be tears and [there’s] also going to be a lot of happiness. So you know, it’s okay,” Jussie continued, appearing to hint that there’s a chance he may not make it to season three.
Jussie also confirmed to the site that the upcoming Empire finale is “going to be great,” teasing that the episode is “a phenomenal finale and all questions are going to be answered Wednesday at 9/8 Central, only on Fox.”
But while Jussie Smollett is playing coy when it comes to exactly where his fate with Empire currently lies, TV Guide appears to be confirming that this is not the end of the road for Smollett and the beloved middle Lyon brother.
The site previously revealed, after what could have been Jamal’s final episode, that Jussie will more than likely be back for the season two finale, titled “Past is Prologue,” airing on May 18, and is also thought to already be signed up to appear in the upcoming third season of Empire.
The site teased the official synopsis for the upcoming Empire episode, which revealed that Jamal has “a life-changing experience that leads him to press pause on his music career,” suggesting that Lyon does in fact live to see another day after taking the bullet.
Entertainment Tonight also speculated following Empire‘s penultimate season two episode last week that Smollett was likely just attempting to hype up this week’s finale with his tweet.
An Empire source admitted to the site at the time that “Smollett isn’t going anywhere” despite his seemingly pretty telling social media message, suggesting that Jussie’s tease following the shocking Empire episode was just a coy way of creating more “hype for next week’s season finale.”
Do you think Jamal was really killed off on Empire? Or do you think Jussie Smollett is just creating hype for the season two finale?
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]