Fans of Fox musical drama Empire have seen the end coming since the beginning of its sixth and final season last fall, however, this end will now arrive earlier than expected. While the network originally planned to have the 20th episode of this season serve as the finale, Fox has now revealed its 18th episode will take the place of series finale in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Deadline.
The last completed episode of the series, the 18th of the sixth season, is now set to air April 21. While in the midst of filming episode 19, the penultimate to its planned series finale, Fox mandated all series shut down as the health crisis spread. Episode 20, which Empire writers intended to serve as the final episode of the series, is unlikely to ever see production. The new finale is predicted to feature additional footage from episode 19 in hopes of creating a more seamless ending.
The series follows the Lyons as they manage their family business, world famous record company Empire Entertainment, and the betrayal fueled power conflicts that result. Receiving heavy praise for its performances, the show stars Terrence Howard as patriarch Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon, Bryshere Y. Gray as youngest son Hakeem, Trai Byers as eldest son Andre, and Jussie Smollett as middle son Jamal.
Empire premiered in early 2015 to rave reviews, with most praise aimed at Henson’s portrayal of matriarch Cookie. Its run has not been without its share of controversy, however, with main cast member Smollett being let go the end of the series’ fifth season following charges of staging a hate crime and filing a false police report. The series was renewed for a sixth and final season in April 2019, which will come to a close this month.
Empire‘s final episode will air April 21 on Fox.