Taraji P. Henson develops an “Empire” spin-off centered on her character, Cookie


After Empire ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans believed they would never see a proper ending. While they might not be, they can still follow Cookie on her adventures as Taraji P. Henson began work on the spin-off.

Taraji P. Henson in “Love Me Still” episode of “Empire” | FOX

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie in ‘Empire’

Loretha “Cookie” Holloway met teenage rapper Dwight “Lucious” Walker and almost instantly fell in love with him against her father’s better judgment. However, she followed Lucious and helped him become a successful rapper.

The two financed her career by selling drugs and later married before giving birth to three sons. Eventually the police caught up with them, but Cookie took the film so Lucious could continue his career.

He founded the quickly successful music label Empire Entertainment and got married at the time to A&R head Anika Calhoun. After Cookie served his 17-year prison sentence, during which Lucious rarely spoke to him and then sent him divorce papers, Cookie returned to get half the business.

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They engaged in a power struggle before falling in love with each other and remarrying. However, the couple later broke up, and Cookie started the Lyon Dynasty with her youngest son, Hakeem.

After Empire acquired their business, she briefly returned to the label before finding herself without Lucious. The likeable co-founder landed a gig on a daytime talk show and joined Becky on a female-founded label Bossy, which turned out to be successful.

‘Empire’ ended prematurely due to COVID-19

The first episodes of the sixth and final season of Empire foreshadowed the presumed death of Cookie and Lucious. In one scene, an unknown assailant shot the patriarch in the face, and he apparently fell dead.

Another scene showing Cookie entering a car which immediately caught fire. However, their endings were not revisited after the first two episodes, and the series ended with both parents alive.

Due to mandates related to COVID-19, production on Empire had to close halfway through filming the penultimate episode, and the cast couldn’t shoot the scheduled finale. Therefore, the team included moments from Episode 19 through Episode 18, where the series ended, to give fans a more satisfying ending.

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After the finale, Taraji P. Henson did an interview with Entertainment Weekly, where she opened up about the incomplete ending. She admitted it was distressing that the series couldn’t end properly after the six years the team and fans have put on the series.

The actress also noted that she never starts any project that she cannot complete, which makes the situation more upsetting for her. Plus, she said it would “haunt me for the rest of my life and career” if she couldn’t give fans the planned finale.

Three months later, the actress announced that she was working on a Cookie spin-off.

Taraji P. Henson working on Empire spin-off

Henson and his production company, TPH Entertainment, have signed a new deal with 20th Century Fox TV for a few projects across multiple platforms. According to sources, a Empire The forward-thinking brave icon-centric spinoff is the first project fans can expect from the new venture.

Written by Danny Strong, who was previously co-creator, executive producer and writer for Empire, Stacy A. Littlejohn (Single Ladies, The Wanda Sykes Show) and Yolanda Lawrence (Empire producer), the series will likely revolve around Cookie as a newly single woman.

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Sanaa Hamri, who also worked on the drama Fox, is expected to direct with Brian Grazer and Samie Falvey as executive producers.


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