Plotting their next move. Fans were left on the edge of their seats after season 3 of Succession wrapped up with a familiar face shaking things up for the Roy siblings and their future at Waystar Royco.
The third season’s finale aired in December 2021 and ended with Shiv Roy (played by Sarah Snook) realizing that her husband, Tom Wambsgans (played by Matthew Macfadyen), betrayed her by reporting to her father, Logan Roy (played Brian Cox). This revelation came after Shiv and her brothers Kendall Roy (played by Jeremy Strong) and Roman Roy (played by Kieran Culkin) failed to stop Logan from selling the family company, Waystar Royco. The crafty CEO changed the rules of the game by enlisting the trio’s mother, Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Mary Walter), to help him remove their right to a super-majority vote.
Following the bombshell conclusion, some viewers are already speculating there may be more surprises in store for the new season — including a potential Shiv pregnancy. After getting his big moment, Macfadyen opened up about how his story line came to be.
“We had a conversation early on before we started shooting, which outlined a possible scenario for the end. It’s a funny one, I listened to it, then forgot about it, because things might change, and whatever they want to do is great,” he said during an interview with Deadline in December 2021. “I wasn’t hanging my hat on it, and I was just waiting for the script to come in.”
Tom’s switch came as a shock to Shiv, but the U.K. native added that the decision was a long time coming for his character.
“It’s an accumulation — it’s a pivot by a thousand cuts. From the very beginning, he’s had to take a lot. [Shiv] speaks of an open marriage on their wedding night — it hasn’t been an easy ride for Tom, he’s had to take a lot of s–t from the brothers and from his father-in-law and everybody,” Macfadyen shared. “And then there’s the real terror of potential jail time. I think something flipped. But when I read the last episode, I was like, ‘This makes sense.’”
Ahead of the season 3 finale, Cox noted that while there are endless possibilities for where the Roy saga can go, the HBO Max show likely won’t last forever.
“I would say possibly two more series and then I think we’re done. But it just depends and may just be only one more series. It depends what the writers feel. I know they’ve got an endgame. They haven’t told us what the ending is, but there is an endgame,” the Braveheart star told GQ UK in October 2021. “So it’s just how they get up to that endgame, whether it takes one series or two series. I think it’s going to be hard to let go of it this early. I think it needs a couple more series before it really comes to a culmination. That’s my feeling. Because its iconic nature is just hitting, I think people are going to want two more series, but they may only get one.”
Creator Jesse Armstrong knew exactly how the story will conclude before it was officially announced that season 4 would be the last.
“I have a pitch for where and how I think we end. It’s not immutable in respect to my colleagues, we’ll chat about it and how many seasons that plays out over,” he told Deadline in December 2021. “Similarly I have a pitch, I don’t want to say in public as it will take away a little bit of the fun and I want to check in with all the important people around the show to see if we all feel the same.”
While discussing possible futures for the main characters, the screenwriter added that it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the Roy siblings find some peace for themselves.
“We follow some iron rules of the show which are to try and make it feel close to the truth of a media organization of this size and structure and the psychology of people like this, and the people we created. But within that, I’d refer you again to the writers’ room — I would never exclude a possibility such as that,” Armstrong said at the time. “Yeah, the world is an extraordinary thing and I would never exclude a possibility like that [but] given where they’ve come from, it sounds like it might be a stretch. But lots of things are a stretch. The way I approach the show is to test those hypothesis against reality and where they are, without making too early firm decisions.”
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