After last night’s shocking episode in Empire‘s second season where Jamal took a bullet meant for nasty ol’ dad Lucious (Terrence Howard), Jussie Smollett sent fans who felt certain that their favorite character would survive into a frenzy with one little tweet.
The actor seemed to confirm that his time on the Fox hit was up, talking about his tenure on the series in the past tense and referring to his future, unrelated plans.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time w/ @EmpireFOX. I love you all. Truth,” Smollett wrote following the episode’s west coast airing. “Time 2 make a record & some movies. #Empire”

So, what is it? Is this just the latest in TV’s long line of ruses this season to make fans at home believe their favorite characters really are dead, even though, in actuality, they are not? Or has the ratings juggernaut actually decided to kill off its prodigal son? (Our money’s on the former, FWIW.) The actor has gone radio silent on social media since sending the tweet in question, while, as of press time, Fox hasn’t responded to E! News’ request for comment.

As gay middle Lyon child Jamal, Smollett immediately became one of Empire‘s breakout stars, second only to Taraji P. Henson’s outrageous quote machine Cookie. The story of Jamal’s sexuality, and how it’s treated in the African-American community, proved to be a lightning rod, endearing the character to fans at home who’d yet to see their unique LGBT experience reflected on the small screen.