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Season 2 of Empire left off with characters Anika and Rhonda fighting and someone falling off a roof; until the show’s latest episode, viewers didn’t know who that person was. It was finally revealed in the Season 3 premiere that Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) is dead, her body falling from the rooftop and landing on a car.
In a similar fashion to many other TV shows, Empire will be bringing the character Rhonda back via flashbacks – but what does this mean for actress Kaitlin Doubleday?
Ilene Chaiken, Empire showrunner, told Variety on Wednesday, “We could still see her. Rhonda is quite likely not out of our Empire world just yet. I don’t want to say how long Andre will have this unusual relationship with his deceased wife, but there’s a good chance that we will see more of her.”
Chaiken revealed that, at the time of the Season 3 finale, she and the other writers did not know the direction the show would be going in; that is, they did not know which of the two characters they would kill off. But they did know it had to make sense for the story line of the third season.
“It was a really, really tough decision because it wasn’t as if we had an agenda last season. We love the character and we love the actress and we didn’t want to lose her from the show. It was really the story that led to the decision,” Chaiken said. “That fight on the balcony, it just happened. It wasn’t in the original finale script, and as Lee [Daniels] and I were working on it, we loved it and we said, we have to do it. And then I said, ‘Lee, you realized that means one of these women will be killed off?!’ Lee and Danny [Strong] both said, ‘No! We love them both! They can’t die!’ But after much anguishing, we came to the very, very tough conclusion.”
It’s obviously taking a large toll on him. He’s bereaved deeply and profoundly, and he’s also a man with a delicate psychological constitution who, apparently based on that scene, is going to take this very hard and might face challenges that other people don’t face. It’s going to be an ongoing challenge for Andre. The way that he regroups and goes forward is going to be very stunning.