Empire producers announced this morning that Smollett will be removed from the final two episodes of the season. What if producers decide to write off Smollett's Jamal Lyon completely from the show? "Empire hasn’t yet been confirmed for a sixth season, but if the show returns and is forced to move forward without Smollett, writing Jamal out won’t be hard, but the character is an important one, and his absence would be felt," says Starrene Rhett Rocque. "He’s an openly gay pop star — groundbreaking for prime-time network TV — who we watched overcome a drug addiction and find what seemed like true love with an HIV-positive man." Rocque adds: "If Jamal must be written off the show, then perhaps he’ll conveniently follow Kai back to London. There was always the threat of Jamal going back there anyway, since it’s where he seemed most happy, so it’s the most obvious route. That way, he can remain overseas in limbo until Smollett’s actual legal woes are resolved, but they probably won’t kill Jamal. Empire without Jamal, or any of the Lyon brothers, would feel meaningless and could potentially tank the show — if Smollett’s alleged hoax doesn’t do that first."