What is Jussie Smollett's future on 'Empire' now that charges were dropped?

PHOTO: Jussie Smollett waves as he follows his attorney after his court appearance at Leighton Courthouse on March 26, 2019 in Chicago.PlayNuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
WATCH Chicago officials outraged after Smollett charges dropped

In a shocking twist to the meandering public drama surrounding Jussie Smollett, Chicago prosecutors dropped all charges against the "Empire" actor Tuesday.

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Smollett had been indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report over an alleged January attack that included racist and homophobic slurs. Chicago police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have clearly shown they disagree with the prosecutors' move, calling it a "whitewash of justice."

One of the questions still looming is what this new development means for the actor's future on the show that made him famous.

After news broke that the charges were dropped, 20th Century Fox, the network that airs "Empire," acknowledged it was grateful the charges were dismissed, but didn't allude to his future on the drama.

"Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified on his behalf that all charges against him have been dismissed," Fox issued in a statement to ABC News.

Don't expect his return tonight

It was reported last month that Smollett would not appear in the final two episodes of "Empire" this season in the wake of the criminal charges he was facing.

The show's creators and executive producers Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Brett Mahoney, Brian Grazer, Sanaa Hamri, Francie Calfo and Dennis Hammer released a joint statement confirming the news in February.

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our Empire family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out. We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of ‘Jamal’ from the final two episodes of the season," the joint statement reads.

Instead, the show has been promoting the continuing plot point of the FBI's investigation into the character Thirsty -- an ironic twist.

Other characters have also been promoted ahead of Wednesday night's show.

What's the future of the show?

Despite previous reports of poor ratings following all the real-life drama, the show's producer recently expressed faith in the show's future.

Earlier this month, executive producer Brett Mahoney said Smollett's case was "a lot to deal with and a lot to go through, but we're really just focused on finishing strong."

In regards to Smollett being written out of the final two episodes of the series, Mahoney said it was a "difficult decision," but one they were able to make work because of the "strong ensemble" and available stories to tell.

In response to the rumors that "Empire" will be cancelled because of the controversy, the exec said he was "confident" there would be another season -- with or without Smollett.

21st Century Fox -- which produces EMPIRE -- is now a part of Disney, ABC News' parent company.