Empire returned to Fox for Season 3 on September 21 with a shocking twist that saw Rhonda (Kaitlyn Doubleday) fall to her death, but it turns out that we haven’t actually seen the last of Andre’s (Trai Byers) wife.
According to spoilers for the upcoming season, while Rhonda may no longer be alive following her rooftop brawl with Anika (Grace Byers), it sounds like the character will still be popping up throughout Season 3.
Empire showrunner Ilene Chaiken dished on Rhonda’s future with the drama in a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, where she confirmed that Kaitlyn, who’s appeared as Andre’s wife since the series first began, is still very much a part of the show for now.
When asked about making the heart-breaking decision to kill Rhonda or Anika, Chaiken told the site that those behind the scenes of Empire found it “inconceivable that either one of them wouldn’t be in the show,” before confirming that Rhonda will still have a presence in Season 3.
“Rhonda dies but she’s not out of the show,” the Empire showrunner confirmed, seemingly confirming that Rhonda will live on, at least for a few episodes, in Andre’s mind.
“I’m not going to say how long that convention persists, but it’s an important part of Andre’s story and his psyche and it really tells the story of his state of mind,” continued the Empire showrunner, adding that those behind the scenes are “excited” by the prospect of keeping Rhonda alive in another state.
“Not just because we didn’t want to let go of Kaitlin, but because it felt very, very real and right to us,” she added.
While Chaiken didn’t confirm the exact details surrounding Rhonda’s continuation with the series when asked directly if Rhonda would appear in the mind of Andre, who’s battling bipolar disorder, she coyly replied, “Rhonda does not go away immediately, that’s true.”
Jussie Smollett, who plays Jamal, also confirmed that Rhonda will be sticking around on Empire for a while following her death in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
“I was sad because I love Kaitlin personally, outside of the show,” the Empire actor revealed of the shocking Season 3 premiere death. “It’s always tough when you lose a character.”
When asked how much more of Rhonda fans of the Fox drama will be seeing in the coming season, Smollett teased “you never know,” but noted that Empire “is known for flashbacks and good stuff like that.”
Those behind the scenes of Empire are so far staying tight-lipped on the character’s posthumous storyline, though EmpireBooBooKitty.com previously confirmed that Kaitlyn was spotted filming scenes for Season 3 of Empire on the streets of New York back in July.
The news that Rhonda is not completely absent from the series following her death will likely come as good news to Empire fans who flocked to social media to grieve for the character after it was revealed in the show-stopping premiere that she has fallen to her death.
“[To be honest] just thinking about Empire gets me mad. Rhonda didn’t deserve to die. Boooboo kitty’s plotting ass should’ve fell of the roof,” Twitter user @NamelessJay wrote on the social media site of the heart-stopping Empire moment.
“Rhonda. Y’all I’m in tears,” Empire fan @im_royaalty tweeted out alongside two crying face emojis following the character’s shocking death. “[Shaking my head] man should’ve been Anika idgaf #Empire.”
“Shame we had to lose Rhonda. I like that we have a ‘ghost’ story, just hope it last right amount of time. #Empire,” Empire fan @tvgenius05 added.
Empire Season 3 continues with Episode 2, “Sin That Amends,” on Fox on September 28.
[Featured Image by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images]