Is Empire Killing Lucious Lyon In Final Season? Here’s What The Premiere Tells Us

lucious lyon fox season 6
(Image credit: Fox)

Spoilers ahead for the premiere of the sixth and final season of Empire, called "What Is Love."

Only one season is left before the final credits roll on Empire to close the door on the Lyon family. Last season was spent building the mystery of which member of the family be dead by the fifth season finale, and it wasn't one of the obvious candidates, such as the then-terminally ill Andre or the character played by Jussie Smollett, who would eventually be cut from the show due to his real-life activities. Now, did the Season 6 premiere reveal another big Lyon death in the form of Lucious?

Why Empire Might Be Killing Lucious In The Final Season

Like the Season 5 premiere, "What Is Love" featured a foreboding look into the future to indicate a big death in the Lyon family. Unlike the Season 5 premiere, "What Is Love" explicitly revealed the person who is likely to be killed, and there's not a whole lot of ambiguity about his fate. Lucious seems... well, super dead by the end of the flash to the future.

There were actually two flash-forwards in the Season 6 premiere: at the very beginning and the very end, although both take place in the same scene. The flash to the future takes us nine months ahead, and Lucious is seemingly alone at the mansion with the exception of an enemy. Lucious is being held at gunpoint, but he's not intimidated. This is what he says:

So I see you think you got balls now!

Unsurprisingly, that statement didn't make the person holding Lucious at gunpoint decide to lower the weapon. Instead, the person shot Lucious three times, and it wasn't exactly in the leg, arm, and shoulder. No, the three bullets hit him in the chest, slightly lower and to the side of his chest, and in his lower belly.

I'm no doctor (though I do watch a lot of them on TV), but it doesn't look like any of the bullets hit him in the heart. That said, he did crash backward through a glass table. The first flash-forward ended before a reveal of his post-shooting condition, so it was possible he was just gravely injured. The flash-forward at the end of the episode was more discouraging about his odds of survival.

Flat on his back, bleeding from the bullet wounds and lying on top of broken glass, Lucious' eyes went blank, and he looked about as dead as could be expected from the 9 p.m. ET time slot on Fox. So, has Empire revealed that Lucious will be dead before the end of the series?

Will Empire Kill Off Lucious In The Finale Season On Fox?

Honestly, I wouldn't be shocked. Empire started with Lucious' death seemingly looming; Lucious dying after the final season teased his demise would bring the show full circle. There's also no real reason not to kill off any major character in the final episodes of the series. It's not like the show would be cancelled without Lucious, or it would matter if ratings were affected by the death. The show is ending anyway!

I'm really not expecting Empire to have an overwhelmingly happy ending anyway. Jamal won't be around, which will at least be sad for Cookie and his brothers. Cookie, despite her bold move to leave Lucious in the Season 5 finale, clearly still has strong feelings for her husband, even if they're not all positive feelings.

Empire Showrunner Explains What Happens To Jussie Smollett's Jamal In Season 6

The Lyon boys would be saddened to lose their dad, as "What Is Love" proved that Andre is still being advised by his dad, even though Andre is in charge of Empire and Lucious is on the run. Still, if anybody is going to die in the Lyon family and have it be more bittersweet than just bitter, I'd say that person would be Lucious.

It might be hard on Terrence Howard fans, considering Howard's recent statements about his future in showbiz. Still, a future for Cookie, Andre, Hakeem, and (hopefully) Teri and Andre's son sounds better than one of them dying.

At this point, though, there's some uncertainty about Teri's fate. While the Lyon family was at an event celebrating the future of Empire in the Season 6 premiere, Teri was alone at the mansion, and the discomfort she'd been feeling due to her pregnancy proved to be more serious than she believed. Despite attempts to reach her phone to call for help (and cries to God), Teri collapsed and was last seen bleeding on the floor. Her fate and the fate of her unborn son with Andre are both uncertain.

Who Pulled The Trigger On Lucious In Empire's Season 6 Premiere?

A big question now is who could be the one to pull the trigger on Lucious by the series finale. The flash-forward was shown from the POV of the shooter, and Lucious didn't drop the name or really any clues about who it could be. His comment of "you think you got balls now" could either be an insult toward a man who historically hasn't done much to stand up to Lucious or others, or potentially a woman.

Hopefully Empire will handle Lucious' fate like it handled the big death in Season 5, and continue to drop clues via further flash-forwards throughout the season. It was apparent before the end of the fifth season that it was going to be a member of the Lyon family to bite the dust, but there were big questions about who and even if only one Lyon would be gone by the end.

Of course, Empire went with the least heartbreaking route by killing off Lucious' illegitimate son Kingsley, although his death was heartbreaking in its own way. And I don't even mean because Kingsley's death quite literally meant that Andre could live via a heart transplant courtesy of his freshly dead half-brother!

Find out what happens next when new episodes of Empire air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. It's only one of the many new and returning shows hitting the airwaves this fall.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).