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Major spoilers below for Empire's latest episode, so be sure to watch before reading on.
By the time Empire comes to an end, presumably after another 10-15 seasons, I probably wouldn't be surprised if viewers learned that Lucious Lyon was actually the secret biological father to every character other than Cookie and his own mother. And, if you've seen the most recent episode, you'll know why this seems like such a plausible possibility, because Kingsley revealed that he at least believes that the Lyon family patriarch is his long lost (not-so-dear) old dad. So, why did those behind the music drama decide to pull this twist out on viewers? Here's what Empire showrunner Brett Mahoney had to say:
Where this character actually comes from initially --- I don't know whether I should say it or not --- but he's sort of a Trumpian character. In my mind, he was taking over Empire as Trump took over the White House, and as we've seen, Trump in any way possible to destroy Obama's legacy, that's what Kingsley has been trying to do to Lucious. So that was where the idea came from, but the question that the studio and network kept asking me was, why would he do this? Why would this be so important to him? And that's where the idea of this being a son of Lucious' who felt abandoned by him came from.
So, what Brett Mahoney and his writers were after is putting a character in Lucious' way who wants to completely dismantle everything he's accomplished in his career. Kingsley wants to tear down the man's powerful musical legacy, and that was all well and good as a basic idea, but Mahoney and his team were prompted to come up with a strong reason why this character would be so intent on ruining what Lucious has built. You have to admit, Kingsley being the son he abandoned is a pretty good impetus toward that goal.
Of course, that's not quite everything that Kingsley is hiding from the Lyons clan. The reveal that he believes Lucious to be his father came as he was visiting his mother, who's in a coma and has been dealing with drug addiction and the poor health that often comes with it for decades. Mahoney notes to Entertainment Weekly that Kingsley also believes his mother's condition is Lucious' fault, so it makes total sense that he would do everything in his power to punish the man he feels is responsible.
That's exactly what Kingsley believes, that Lucious is responsible for getting his mother hooked on drugs. The mother has been basically an addict and suffering from that and having numerous strokes. She's in and out of consciousness so we will have the opportunity to hear her side of the story eventually. But from Kingsley's perspective, and that's what he's talking about at that dinner, he believes that Lucious is responsible for his mother's drug addiction and then abandoning them.
Wow. Can you imagine how determined you'd be to take down the man who got your mom hooked on drugs, knocked her up, left her to raise the kid alone and also left her to deal with the very serious ramifications of a deep drug addiction, while you went on to build an empire for yourself and your family? I gotta hand it to Kingsley, he took his time to work on getting revenge. As they say, I suppose it really is a dish best served cold.
Well, it is good to know two things about this whole Lucious is Kingsley's daddy thing. First, we don't know for a fact that it's true, just that this is what Kingsley believes based on Lucious' drug dealing past and the fact that he knew his mom back in the day. Second, his mom will wake up at some point and be able to give him the facts of the situation, but, right now, he's working under his assumptions and Brett Mahoney says the Lyons family is gonna pay dearly unless Momma Kingsley sets the man straight soon.
Whether it's true or not, it's certainly something that Kingsley believes and this is what has been motivating him on his journey to punish Lucious. Over the next few episodes and beyond, this is something that the Lyons will have to wrestle with.
As you can see, Empire is as hot and dramatic as ever. You can keep up with the rollercoaster that is the lives of the Lyons family when the show airs on Fox Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST.