The first season of the hip-hop drama Empire had its fair share of cameos, including Courtney Love, Mary J. Blige, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Jennifer Hudson, Naomi Campbell and Snoop Dogg. But the show’s success — it’s the most-watched show on television — has attracted even more star power for its sophomore season. Here’s everyone (so far) who will be joining the cast or making a guest appearance.
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Empire creator Lee Daniels announced at Mariah Carey’s Walk of Fame star ceremony that the singer would join the show this season. The news comes two months after one of Empire’s stars, Jussie Smollett, joined Carey in her music video for “Infinity,” during which he tries to woo the diva with an adorable puppy.
The Destiny’s Child crooner will play the mother of Terrence Howard’s character Lucious Lyon in a flashback, according to E. The casting suggests that audiences will get their first looks at Lucious Lyon’s childhood and what drove the gangster-turned-rapper-turned-entrepreneur.
Co-creator Danny Strong has kept the details of Chris Rock’s character largely under wraps. He “will be a person from the past,” he said at a Television Academy panel. But the show’s other creator, Lee Daniels, posted a video of Terrence Howard and Rock in matching orange jumpsuits on the set of the show, suggesting that Rock’s character will be locked up with Lucious Lyon.
Lee Daniels told Access Hollywood that actor/singer Common would have a spot on Empire this season. Common has been building up his acting resume recently. He starred in Selma last year and won an Oscar with John Legend for the film’s original song “Glory.” He is also currently filming the upcoming superhero pic Suicide Squad.
Unsurprisingly, getting Oprah Winfrey on Empire was no easy feat—even for Lee Daniels who worked with her on The Butler. “I tell him: ‘Lee, it’s not enough that you’ve taken every viewer possible on Wednesday night. Now you want me to leave my own network?'” Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter. But Daniels confirmed to Access Hollywood that after much lobbying that he had succeeded in recruiting the talk show superstar for next season.