At the least, the show is heading straight into the danger zone by, according to TMZ, filming (“getting ready to shoot something”) around the site of Smollett’s alleged attack in Chicago. The criminal charges he faced for allegedly lying about being the victim of a hate crime were later dropped. TMZ reports:
Art really does imitate life — the “Empire” crew is firing up its cameras pretty much exactly where their former star, Jussie Smollett, insists he fell victim to a racist and homophobic attack.
FOX had a bunch of crew members from the show setting up a shot Tuesday in Chicago ... literally within a stone’s throw from where Jussie says the Osundairo brothers gave him a clobbering, poured bleach on him and left a rope around his neck.
The set is literally in the shadow of Jussie’s apartment building ... it’s the high-rise with the reflective windows.
It was previously unclear to me what was even happening on Empire, as a former fan who hasn’t watched the show since Season 3 (and was then confused with the Tinashe storyline when I checked back in, circa 2017). But Jamal is still alive and trapped somewhere on a honeymoon. Smollett won’t be returning for the final sixth season, but I’m assuming some elaborate Jamal death is being planned that has a meta connection with real life. As TMZ so wisely notes about the filming in Chicago, “this can’t be a coincidence.” My only hope is that they play “Drip Drop” at Jamal’s funeral.