'Empire' season 2 news: Showrunner says Marisa Tomei's character has an important role in the new season

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The second season of "Empire" premiered merely hours ago and fans all over tuned in to see the return of their favorite hip-hop family, the Lyons. Unsurprisingly, the debut episode of one of this season's most highly anticipated releases garnered not only the praise from its fans but from professional critics as well. Currently, "The Devils Are Here" holds a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and over 16 million people across America tuned in for the initial airing.

To say that the first episode of "Empire" season 2 is dramatic is definitely an understatement. The "successful" take over Cookie instigated during the finale of the pilot season was foiled when their investor changed her decision, investing instead on Lucious and Jamal's side. Arguably, despite Taraji P. Henson's spectacular performance in the episode, Marisa Tomei as Mimi Whiteman, the lesbian billionaire investor, stole the show.

At the offset of the premiere, Ilene Chaiken, "Empire" showrunner, sat down with TVline to discuss the details surrounding "The Devils Are Here." During the interview, Chaiken revealed that Tomei's character was initially conceived as an example of the rich white man trope, and their decision to make the character into a lesbian is something that the cast and crew are excited about.

"We realized Rich Whiteman was an important character — and he also needed to be an interesting one. At that point, someone in the room — I can't remember who — said, "Let's make her a lesbian." Actually, it was probably me. And we just had some fun with the idea of the lesbian billionaire. We talked about all those male conventions you were referring to, but why not play with them?" explained Chaiken.

She further hinted that should fans want to find out more about the rest of the season, they should focus on Mimi Whiteman as her character is instrumental in ushering the show into its mid-season finale.

"Mimi is with us for five episodes. That storyline pays off in our midseason finale — Episode 10. — airing sometime in December. I'll just say it builds to a glorious and hopefully unexpected conclusion."

Episode two of "Empire" season two titled "Without a Country" is scheduled to air on Sept. 30, 2015 on Fox.

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