The Coronavirus crisis has already caused serious – possibly irreparable – damage to the entertainment industry’s empire. With film and TV productions being canceled or delayed on a daily basis, Hollywood studios possibly being converted into emergency hospitals, and corporations as massive as Disney already looking at financial losses from the shutdown of theme parks, theaters and stores – that’s not a surprise to anyone.
So when it was revealed that b, the long-running and successful Fox drama starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, would be coming to a close sooner than expected, the news was disappointing but anticipated.
What wasn’t quite so predictable was the way in which Empire will be ending. The series (which follows Howard and Henson’s husband/wife duo Luscious and Cookie Lyon as they fight to maintain control over a music dynasty) was put on hold, like many other TV series when Coronavirus hit, before the last two episodes of the sixth and final season could be filmed. This means that now, with the season’s ending swiftly approaching, there’s no time to do anything about the problem.
Instead of delaying the last few episodes of the final season to a future date, the showrunners have made the bold and risky decision to use all the footage available to them to try and create at least a semi-cohesive ending to the series, which will premiere on April 21st.
THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE
The new Empire finale (which was originally meant to be the eighteenth out of twenty episodes) will use material from the partially-filmed nineteenth episode to finish the story arcs of the ensemble cast, and bring the adventures of the Lyon family to an abrupt end. The decision can’t have been made lightly, but it seems like the sort of scenario where a delay would have made more sense – fans have seen similar scenarios where hasty conclusions get tacked on to unfinished series before (Sense8 comes to mind), and it rarely works out. Instead, it tends to leave a bad taste in the fandom’s mouths.
But the series has been through rough patches before – as when star Jussie Smollett wound up in a lengthy and nasty controversy, forcing him to leave the show. So this won’t be their first time having to work around unfortunate and unexpected circumstances: though it will be their last.
So what do you think of the news? Is this the right decision, or should Empire have been delayed and given a proper finale in due time, after the coronavirus has run its course? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.