It’s been a long time coming, but after six seasons, Empire is coming to an end.
The show, which concludes Tuesday night, was originally supposed to have 20 episodes this season, but due to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders in place that impacted filming, the Lyon family will be saying goodbye after just 18 episodes.
And with the show being cut short so abruptly, it seems as though the stars—even its leading lady, Taraji P. Henson—are just as in the dark as we all are on how the show will end.
“We actually had an ending for you guys, but COVID shut us down, so I will be finding out what’s happening at the same time you guys are,” Henson shared Monday on Today.
“We got shut down in the middle of production on episode 19, so they had to go into the editing room to make movie magic to give you a finale, and I honestly don’t know how it’s going to end,” she added. “I used to know.”
Creators and co-executive producers Lee Daniels and Danny Strong recently voiced their disappointment on the botched series finale and new ending. Still, the two remain hopeful that one day their original vision may see the light of 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 and Taraji, along with our amazing writers and tireless crew, for all of their hard work and bringing this story to life,” Daniels said in a statement to ESSENCE. “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!”
Tonight will mark the end of a television era, and we’ll be tuning in to see how it all unfolds! Catch the Empire series finale on Fox at 9 p.m. ET.