Cookie Lyons May Be Getting Her Own Empire Spin-Off

Illustration for article titled Cookie Lyons May Be Getting Her Own iEmpire/i Spin-Off
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images (Getty Images)

Taraji P. Henson is developing an Empire spin-off series at Fox centered around her iconic character, Loretha “Cookie” Lyons, as part of her two-year, first-look deal with the network. Empire co-creator Danny Strong is set to write for the series, along with Stacy A. Littlejohn and Yolonda Lawrence, and Lee Daniels will serve as a non-writing EP. According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources say the spin-off would follow Cookie as she moves to Los Angeles, and could feature some of her family members.

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At its best, Empire was a delightfully soapy drama with some catchy music, but unfortunately, the show lost its focus after the first couple of seasons. However, even as my interest in the plot waned, I kept watching because of Cookie. Sure, Terrence Howard was billed as the star, but Taraji was electric as Cookie from the show’s very first episode—who could forget the scene where she literally grabs a broom out of her youngest son Hakeem’s hands and beats him with it after he has the audacity to call her a bitch? Cookie was funny, smart, emotionally compelling, and damn did she know how to dress! (Jezebel was particularly fond of her fur coats.)

Empire ended its sixth and final season prematurely in April of this year after the covid-19 pandemic forced an industry-wide shut-down before the show was able to shoot what were supposed to be its final two episodes. So in addition to the new story, the potential Cookie Lyons spin-off could also provide an opportunity to give a more satisfying end to the original show’s character arcs. (And also, more fur coats.)

Freelance writer who loves sandwiches, astrology, & fighting on the internet.

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DISCUSSION

It’s Lyon. As somebody who watched every single episode (which wasn’t easy in the last two seasons), the family name is Lyon, not Lyons. Lucious would not be pleased his chosen name is consistently wrong in this article. ;)

I totally agree Cookie was the best thing about that show! She delivered my favorite line while interrupting a recording session, “The name’s Cookie, ask about me.” If Empire does a movie to tie up the loose ends the series finale could not (due to the virus), I’ll watch it because I’ve watched everything else. If Henson gets her own series, I’ll be excited to watch because Cookie Lyon was fun. Even when she was doing something silly, dangerous, or dumb, it was fun to watch. And if Cookie’s sister move to LA with her? Vivica A. Fox and Taraji P. Henson together pretty much guarantee it’ll be good.

And speaking of the series finale, the editing shade. Jussie Smollett played middle son Jamal on the show, but after Smollett’s hate crime/hoax, his character started traveling and was never seen on camera again. Jamal wasn’t present in the last episode because he and his husband were adopting a child in some other country (they did say which one but I don’t recall). The series finale went into a montage for each of member of the Lyon family: Lucious, Cookie, Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem, everyone got a little highlight reel reflecting their character over the seasons. Jamal was included in the montage - but everyone one of his flashbacks from when Jamal was a kid or teen, and played by actors other than Smollett.