‘Empire’ Showrunner Teases Vivica A. Fox’s Role, Talks What’s Ahead for Jamal and More

Empire‘s explosive season two premiere did not disappoint last night. There was family drama, murder, music and TMI to boot (thanks Porsha!).

The Lyon family was still a divided mess in last night’s episode, but it’s divided a little differently than it was last year. Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), Hakeem (Bryshere ‘Yazz’ Grey) and Andre (Trai Byers) were looking to stage a hostile takeover from Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Lucious (Terrence Howard), but by the show’s end, it was Team Jamal that ended up with the power, while the rest of the family just ended up kicked out of a house.

Now the show’s boss lady, Ilene Chaiken, is letting fans in on what to expect from Jamal as he tries to balance being an artist with running Empire, why Lucious helped Cookie take care of Frank Gatis and what we can look forward to when Vivica A. Fox makes her Empire debut.

On what’s ahead for Jamal

“Jamal becoming the head of Empire, especially with his father in prison, is very much a case of careful what you wish for. The second he gets the opportunity, Jamal will bust out of his corporate chains because Jamal is an artist at heart and he is really suffering under the burden of responsibility. He needs to get back to making his art. He needs to get back on his journey to becoming a star, which he had just begun when he got derailed by Lucious’ incarceration.”

On why Lucious helped Cookie with the Frank Gatis situation

“…It’s just what they do for one another. The essence of their relationship is articulated in that scene when Cookie comes to him. It’s a relationship between two people who love and hate one another with equal passion and they can’t get away from either of those feelings, and he will defend her to the death. He’ll defend his family, but especially Cookie, and yet, they will never stop being the bane of one another’s existence.”

On what to expect from Vivica A. Fox’s role as Cookie’s older sister

“We’ll see the relationship among the three sisters, and explore family in their scenes and their story together. It’s something that [co-creator] Lee Daniels has talked a lot about and promised, which is, as well as being a story about family, it’s an exploration of class and culture. It’s an opportunity to talk about where Cookie came from and where she is now, and the disparities between extreme poverty and extreme wealth that are hard to talk about and fascinating. Particularly in the hip-hop culture, there are those stories of people who come from the most abject circumstances becoming unthinkably wealthy, and what does that do to not only the individual, but the family relationships.”

To read more of what Ilene dished, head on over to The Hollywood Reporter.

So what did you think? Was the season premiere all you hoped it would be or did it fall flat?

Photo Credit: FOX


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