When Empire premiered in 2015, it initially centered on Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) dividing up his record-label kingdom among his three sons in a seeming nod to King Lear. But it quickly became the “Cookie Lyon Show,” thanks to Taraji P. Henson’s fierce performance. The show’s full of badass moms, though, including Grace Byers, Leslie Uggams, and guest star Phylicia Rashad. Now Fox has announced that a new lioness is joining the show—Alfre Woodard will guest star on the fourth season as Cookie’s mom Renee.
According to a press release, Cookie and Renee will have a “turbulent reunion,” as is the Holloway (and Lyons) family’s wont. Woodard’s garnered plenty of critical acclaim for her TV work, including Emmy wins for her work in Hill Street Blues, Miss Evers’ Boys, and The Practice. Her presence will hopefully perk up the dwindling interest in the show. Vivica A. Fox and Tasha Smith recur as Cookie’s (née Loretha) sisters, so hopefully they’ll also find their way into the midseason premiere which airs Wednesday, March 28.