*Despite “Empire” star Jussie Smollett sending an ominous tweet last week that appeared to signal the death of his character Jamal, the actor attended the network’s upfront presentation Monday in New York City – and remained coy about Jamal’s fate.
“Wednesday at 9/8 Central, only on Fox,” he told “ET” when asked if his character will die in tonight’s season finale. Last week’s episode had Jamal mistakenly shot by his homegirl Freda Gatz and left in critical condition.
Shortly after the episode, Smollett tweeted: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time w/ @EmpireFOX. I love you all. Truth. Time 2 make a record & some movies.”
Smollett said last week’s cliffhanger and his tweet have riled the fan base.
“[Creator] Lee [Daniels] has been getting death threats of people being like, ‘If Jamal dies, you die.’ Knife emoji, knife emoji, knife emoji!” Smollett shared. “The fans are on another level, it’s incredible. But you know, we’ll have to wait and see.”
He did, however, promise an action-packed season two finale that will be a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and the payoff for Jamal’s story — however it turns out — will be worth the anticipation.
“It’s handled in a beautiful way,” Smollett promised. “I think there’s going to be tears and [there’s] also going to be a lot of happiness. So you know, it’s OK. It’s going to be great. It’s a phenomenal finale and all questions are going to be answered Wednesday at 9/8 Central, only on Fox.”
Smollett also addressed Lucious Lyon’s eyebrow-raising comment to son Jamal in last week’s episode, where the elder Lyon told his gay son with a vengeance, “The day you die from AIDS, I’m going to celebrate.” That harrowing exchange was borne from Smollett and Terrence Howard workshopping the dialogue in executive producer Sanaa Hamri’s office.
“We came up with all those horrible things because it was something that had to be said, that you just can’t come back [from] — something so hurtful,” Smollett explained. “And look what ends up happening? Your son ends up getting shot — ‘I took a bullet for you.'”
“It’s one of those instances where we’re not preaching, we’re just holding up a mirror to society and saying, ‘Is this you?’ and if it is, what about that?” he added.