‘Empire’s’ Lee Daniels Teases Young Cookie Spinoff: ‘It Would Be Like a Prequel’

TCA 2015: Creator and executive producer says mothership show will “without question” spawn new series

“Empire” has become such a massive hit for Fox that a spinoff series may seem inevitable, but creator Lee Daniels just solidified the possibility more than ever.

“I think there’s going to be a spinoff of ‘Empire,’ without question,” Daniels said definitively on stage during the Television Critics’ Association’s summer press tour Thursday.

After the panel, Daniels revealed more details about what the potential spinoff series would be about: a young Cookie Lyon. The estranged matriarch of the Lyon family is played by Taraji P. Henson on the Fox drama.

“I have to tell story that I know. I can’t tell it unless I’ve lived it,” Daniels said. “OK, here she is now. How did she get to where she’s at right now? Let’s go back and understand her mother. Let’s go back and understand her sisters. Let’s get back and understand the makings of her. That I know, because I know Cookie … It would be like a prequel. I don’t think we’re quite there yet. I have to focus on ‘Star.’”

Daniels is referencing his new pilot for Fox set in the same general universe, an Atlanta-based drama about an all-girl pop group’s rise to the top. Though Fox bosses Gary Newman and Dana Walden said a crossover with “Empire” was a possibility in the future, the show is its own entity at the moment.

“It’s not inconceivable that the two worlds could cross, but that’s not Lee’s intention,” Walden said earlier, during the executives’ panel. “Perhaps down the line there will be some shared DNA, but not heading into the show.”

Daniels’ hip-hop soap opera “Empire” became the top drama across all of broadcast TV in its first season. During the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour executive panel, Walden referred to “Empire” as a “shot in the arm for broadcast.”

For Season 2, the show is already pulling in a treasure trove of guest stars, including Mariah Carey, Chris Rock, Kelly Rowland and Ludacris, among others.

“Empire” returns for a second season on Sept. 23 on Fox at 9 p.m.