The ‘Empire’ midseason finale left TWO lives on the line. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with showrunner Brett Mahoney about what comes next, Hakeem and Tiana’s future, and the fate of Cookie and Lucious in those flash-forwards.
Lucious and Cookie’s lives were left in jeopardy at the end of the Empire midseason finale. After a gut-wrenching and brutally honest fight between them, Tracy walked in with a gun in her hand. She was ready to shoot and it’s unclear as to whether or not she will shoot Cookie or Lucious. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Empire boss Brett Mahoney about what those final moments mean for the rest of the season. “We are picking up right where we left when we have our midseason premiere,” Brett told HollywoodLife. “She pulls the trigger. I can’t tell you what happens. You’ve got to watch.”
Brett also discussed the intense scene between Cookie and Lucious that came just before the cliffhanger. “I have to say that I really feel that Taraji [P. Henson] and Terrence [Howard] just brought it in that scene and just brought all their emotion to it, and also the writers Dianne Houston and Jamie Rosengard just wrote a great, powerful scene and it’s sort of the buildup of the entire series but it’s certainly something we’ve been headed towards since the beginning of this season and end of last season,” Brett noted. “I think it’s so powerful just because both of them have right on their side. They know that they love each other. Lucious feels he’s done everything right and why can’t she just be with him? From her perspective, having gone down the therapy route and examining her life choices, she realizes she loves him but doesn’t know if it’s a healthy choice for her.”
While it seems like the flash-forward scenes that include Lucious getting shot by a mystery person and Cookie’s car exploding, Brett teased that those moments and the Tracy situation could be “attached.” Brett did say that the “last flash-forward is in the midseason premiere.” He added, “We will see who is holding that gun and shooting Lucious and we will see who is responsible for Cookie’s car bomb.” As for whether or not the show will reveal Cookie’s fate in the midseason premiere? “I cannot answer that,” Brett cryptically said.
When it comes to Andre and Teri, they’re not doing so great either. Teri is not a fan of the man Andre has started to become. “Andre is really in a place where he has everything he’s always wanted and hoped for — a beautiful wife, a beautiful child. He’s got the empire,” Brett said. “He’s literally sitting on the throne but it’s just going back to his issues as a man and as a person and as a Lyon son where he doesn’t feel he’s worthy. He’s created Kingsley in his head to take all those things away and that’s exactly what’s going to happen unless he can heal himself.” Brett confirmed that we will be seeing Kingsley again.
As for Hakeem and Tiana, there may be hope for Takeem yet. They were seen leaving the awards ceremony together after Tiana started watching Devon’s performance. “They are in each other’s lives,” Brett told HollywoodLife. “They’re parents to those children and they definitely have a fire and a passion for one another. I don’t think that’s over.”
In the midst of her drama with Lucious, Cookie told Yana to run from Lucious while she still can. Yana ended up running straight to Damon. Brett stressed that it’s “not going to be good for Lucious or the Lyons” if Damon decides to act. During the awards ceremony, Lucious announced he was leaving Empire on his own terms. “I think for Lucious, if he were to make it out of that scene with Tracy, I think the back half is him finding himself outside of Empire and who he is without it,” Brett said.
Brett explained that the last episodes of the series will center on the “core issues of the show.” It all started with Lucious turning his sons against each other and making them compete for the empire. Brett continued: “So this is about what is most important to the Lyons. Is it their love for another? Or is it the empire? We know they love each other but can their love withstand being torn apart by all the outside forces that are trying to tear them apart?” Empire season 6 will return for its final episodes in the spring of 2020.