Season 5 of Empire is taking viewers six months into the future of the House of Lyon, where someone is poised to die, “And it will have deep ramifications,” showrunner Brett Mahoney previously told TV Guide. “Hopefully it will feel satisfying and significant.”

In a flash-forward, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) is seen tearfully standing over a closed coffin mourning the loss of someone whose identity has yet to be revealed.


As the season unfolds, Mahoney says fans will see additional clues about who has a date with death.

“In the world that Empire has created, it’s a world where there are life and death stakes and where death can happen to a Lyon,” added Mahoney.

While viewers wait for the identity to be revealed, here’s who thinks will end up in that mysterious grey coffin and why… see below.

Cookie Lyon

Lucious’ pained expression suggests that whoever is in that coffin meant a lot to him and as his ride-or-die wife, Cookie certainly fits the bill. The loss of the Lyon family matriarch would be devastating but it’s not like Empire hasn’t toyed with the idea of her death before. Last season, Cookie suffered a mild heart attack that scared her family into getting their act together and she ultimately recovered.

And while it seems unfathomable that the show would ever part ways with its animal print-wearing verbal assassin, showrunner Brett Mahoney previously told TV Guide that he’s not afraid to kill off a member of the Lyon family, meaning that no one–not even Cookie–is safe in the world of Empire.

Hakeem Lyon

Hakeem (Bryshere “Yazz” Gray) survived a traumatic shooting in the Season 4 finale that resulted in him losing a part of his lung. While the injury has significantly hindered his breathing, thus altering the youngest Lyon’s ability to rap, he seems otherwise stable.

However, Becky (Gabourey Sidibe) telling Lucious “No one could have known” in the flash-forward hints at an unexpected death. Given that Hakeem is still suffering the side effects of the shooting and he’s not exactly taking care of himself, it’s possible that his condition could worsen ultimately lead to his death. Stranger things have happened on the show.

No One

What if Lucious isn’t mourning the loss of a person, but rather his old life? In one of those ominous flash-forwards, the FBI shows up at the end of the deceased’s funeral demanding to speak with him. Given Lucious’ extensive list of enemies and his willingness to do whatever it takes to rebuild his fallen empire, it’s not surprising that he would ruffle the wrong feathers and cost his family everything, including their old identities. Lucious might be too proud to snitch but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t fake the death of a loved one in order to protect them.

Who do you think is in the casket? 

Empire airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.

PHOTO: Fox promo




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