Empire: Do We Really Need a Cookie Spinoff?


Empire wrapped up its six-season run earlier this year. 

And while Empire Season 6 was cut short because of COVID-19, we left the characters in a good place. 

Cookie and Lucious were finally on good terms, and their sons were all moving on with their lives in a way that felt natural. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t find out who killed Cookie or Lucious, but are we sure that actually happened?

Empire had all the soapy conventions you would expect from a primetime sudser, so my theory is that the deaths were a nightmare. 

If you watch Empire online, you know that the Lyons had many enemies throughout the series. 

People were coming at them from all angles, so it was inevitable that one of them would meet their maker. 

With the news that Taraji P. Henson is working on an Empire spinoff at FOX, it’s a good idea to assess whether a spinoff would actually work. 

Would There be a Worthy Storyline?

Cookie developed a lot throughout Empire, but one of the most emotional moments involving her was when she realized she was having an identity crisis. 

She had put a certain aspect of her life to bed and was essentially living up to a persona. With a different Cookie, it could work. 

Then again, Cookie was one of few reasons to tune into the show in the latter seasons. It really fell away from what fans loved in those initial seasons. 

Early reports indicate that the potential spinoff would take Cookie to Los Angeles. Cookie in a new place is something that would be fun. 

Taking her away from New York, Lucious, and most of the people who inhabited her world on the original series could present some decent storylines. 

Even more intriguing is that the series would be made under Henson’s new overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

Henson will serve as an Executive Producer should the project go to series. Giving Taraji creative control would be something interesting to see. 

Nobody knows the character as well as the woman who portrayed her for six years, so this could actually be a good thing. 

Should Lucious be Alive in the Spinoff?

This is a tough one. The love story between Cookie and Lucious was well and truly exhausted by the time the final season concluded. 

But, do we really see Cookie moving to another coast and not having Lucious begging her to take him back?

Not a chance. 

That’s why, unless Terrence Howard is going to appear, it’s likely that his supposed death in the flash-forwards on Empire Season 6 might just stick. 

The death of Lucious would be enough to make Cookie leave New York behind and embark on a journey somewhere very different. 

It would be a ballsy move, for sure, but one that fans might welcome with open arms if it actually progresses the plot. 

If Lucious is appearing, then it might as well be billed Empire Season 7. 

Which Other Characters Could Pop Up?

The beauty of a show like Empire is that it had a lot of cast members throughout its run, but not all of them got the time to shine. 

For example, Tiana was relegated to a glorified guest star. There was simply not enough of Serayah’s alter ego in those later years. 

A single mother battling the pitfalls of the music industry would have translated well on the main series, and there’s a good chance that Cookie taking Tiana under her wing would work on this potential spinoff. 

Beyond Tiana, Cookie’s sons could pop up here and there. It’s hard to imagine Jussie Smollet reprising his Jamal role, but he could be talked about, or even recast. 

Then again, we’re supposed to believe he’s a happily married father in London with Kai, so that’s a definite enough ending for me. 

Hakeem was on the cusp of greatness on Empire Season 6 after playing his father in a biopic. That should propel his career to new heights. 

He could be a busy young star, traveling the world, but having him pop up to check on his mom would work well. 

As for Andre, well, if Lucious dies, he’s going to crumble. Sure, there were times he hated his father and wanted to kill him, but the death of Lucious would have a profound effect on him. 

Additionally, Andre never repaired his relationship with Teri after his mental breakdown. It’s hard to imagine him bailing on New York and his son. 

Like Hakeem, however, he could pop up here and there. 

I’m also here for any and all of Cookie’s sisters following her to Los Angeles. They were a hoot!

Would a Los Angeles-Set Cookie Spinoff Actually Work?

Yes. Cookie carried Empire for much of its run. The exciting storylines dried up after a few seasons, but Taraji’s awards-worthy performance was the true constant throughout. 

A spinoff with Cookie as the lead character could also be music to the ears of the fans who bailed on the show. 

Let’s not forget Empire was reaching almost 20 million viewers in its first two seasons. People know who Cookie is, and I dare say they would tune in out of curiosity to check in with her. 

The biggest hurdle for the series would be whether the writers could craft a plausible story that keeps Cookie as one of the most badass characters on all of TV. 

On top of that, they would need to avoid the stunt casting that made the original series suffer. 

Okay, Empire fans!

I’ll leave it over to you. 

Should a spinoff be made?

Hit the comments. 


Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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