Empire Season 7: Will More Episodes Ever Release?

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Empire show

Some fans are still wondering if more episodes of Fox's Empire will ever be released, as many are pining for a proper Season 7.

This is in question because Empire Season 6 was always intended to end the series. Back in May 2019, the news was first reported by TV Guide.

Despite knowing the sixth season would be the end, the show still ended in an incomplete fashion with many unanswered questions––so what exactly happened?

What Was the Deal With Empire Season 6?

Taraji P. Henson in Empire

While the creatives behind Empire knew Season 6 would be the last for the show, they weren't able to predict one major obstacle in making that happen: COVID-19.

The series was in production when the pandemic first hit and everything started shutting down. When Empire had to stop rolling cameras, the show had only completed eighteen of its twenty-episode final season.

It was announced on April 14, 2020 that the final episode of the series would be episode eighteen, which aired on April 21, 2020.

In a statement from co-creator Lee Daniels made shortly after production of the final season was shut down before COVID-19, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, there seemed to still be some hope that they'd be able to shoot their original finale one day:

“The success of 'Empire' and bringing the Lyon family to broadcast television will always be one of the proudest achievements of my career... This show is the definition of breaking barriers. Thank you to our incredible cast, especially Terrence [Howard] and Taraji [P. Henson], along with our amazing writers and tireless crew, for all of their hard work and bringing this story to life. I think there’s more to do with these characters, and I’m heartbroken we aren’t getting to shoot the finale we wanted — at least not yet. But you know what they say in television? Stay tuned! To the Empire!”

Danny Strong, Daniels' co-creator added to that, noting, "Here's hoping this isn't the end:"

“We’re so proud of this show and of everything this incredible cast — led by Taraji and Terrence — and crew accomplished over six seasons. The episode airing on April 21 was never meant to be the series finale, but due to current events it will likely be the last one our fans will see for a while. We had an ending for the series planned that we all loved, and hopefully someday we’ll be able to film it and give the series its proper conclusion. But we hope everyone tunes in to our last original episode, because the work done by our cast and crew deserves to be seen by the widest audience possible. Big thank you to Fox for being our home for these many years. And here’s hoping this isn’t the end!”

In the end, the Season 6 finale that aired was a combination of Episode 18 and parts of what had been filmed of 19.

While they were able to successfully restructure an ending that saw The Lyon Family coming together for the 'Empire' movie premiere (in the show), it also left plenty of questions unanswered.

A similar situation was actually part of the original finale. Showrunner and Executive Producer Brett Mahoney revealed to ET Online that originally, after the 'Empire' movie premiere, everything would be been "turned upside down" again, though, they would then "come back together at the end."

In September 2021, the odds of the series ever getting its proper conclusion were shot down even further by Michael Thorn, president of entertainment at Fox Entertainment. He told TheWrap that "it just feels extremely unlikely that we'll be able to, at least for a while, give that kind of finale:"

“Unfortunately, with the pandemic, as you know, we weren’t able to finish the finale in a way that we hoped we could... I think the producers did the best they could, given the situation we were in, to give the audience closure. But just given that everyone in the cast and behind the scenes are all doing different things, it just feels extremely unlikely that we’ll be able to, at least for a while, give that kind of finale. 'Empire’ will forever define Fox. And it’s one of our signature shows."

He continued to express how Cookie and Lucious are among Fox's "most signature characters:"

“Cookie and Lucious are among our most signature characters and will be among the faces of Fox throughout our history. But I think for the show, we are celebrating the iconic series by probably not looking to exploit it any further and just celebrate it for what it was, which was one of the great dramas of all time, in our opinion.”

What Would Season 7 Have Entailed?

Honestly, it's kind of ridiculous that Empire was not able to ever film its final two episodes. A large amount of other projects were put in similar positions, yet nearly all of them were able to make it out the other side.

One would think that finishing the ending to one of its biggest shows would be a priority for Fox, but it seems that's not the case. It seems like there was possibly something else going on behind the scenes that got in the way of completing the series.

For those hoping to see a Season 7, it doesn't look like it will ever be a reality–nor was it considered before. The closest fans might have gotten to that would have been the pitched spinoff series that would have followed Taraji P. Henson's Cookie Lyon.

Those mysterious flash-forwards in Season 6 could have properly had closures, including answering the questions of who blew up Cookie's car and revealing the identity of the person who shot Lucious.

Sadly for fans, in December 2020, it was announced that the project would not be moving forward.

Had it happened, it could have easily concluded Empire's story properly and paved the way for an entirely new storyline.

Empire can be found streaming on Hulu.

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- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.