Lee Daniels Says Jussie Smollett Will Not Return to “Empire” for Final Season The statement from the “Empire” co-creator came via Twitter on Tuesday. It was in response to a report by Variety that Smollett would return for the Fox drama’s final season. Lee Daniels, via Twitter, Smollett was written out of the final episodes of the show’s fifth season, after backlash stemming from the actor allegedly staging a hate crime. Chicago prosecutors dropped 16 felony charges against Smollett in March. Despite “Empire” producers issuing a statement in April that “there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to “Empire,”” fans remained hopeful that the character may return in the back half of the final season. The sixth and final season of ‘Empire’ is set to return to Fox this fall.