The debates about whether Empire actor Jussie Smollett could or should return to the series just took an interesting turn. According to TVLine, we may not have seen the last of Smollett's character, Jamal Lyon, after all! Showrunner Brett Mahoney told TVLine interview that talks are underway to have Smollett return for the show's series finale in 2020.

"It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him," Mahoney said. "It's fair to say it's being discussed, but there's no plan as of yet to bring him back. There's been no decision made."

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That's not exactly a slam dunk in favor of his return, but it's certainly a change of tune as far as Smollet's future involvement with the show after the controversy this past year. Smollett was written out of Season 5 of Empire amidst the prolonged scandal surrounding the alleged hate crime he reported, which the Chicago police accused him of faking. Though Smollett's fellow cast-members petitioned for his return, it didn't seem likely after creator Lee Daniels denied reports that Smollett would be back for Season 6, tweeting, "This is not factual. Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire."

Despite the controversy surrounding Smollett, it would be difficult, from a storyline perspective, to end the Lyon family's story without such a key member of the dynasty. Sadly, it's too soon to tell at this point whether these "discussions" will turn into an actual appearance.

TV Guide reached out to Fox for comment on Smollett's possible return, but did not hear back at press time.

Empire airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Fox.

(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBSInteractive, a division of ViacomCBS)

Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, EmpireJussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Empire