‘Succession’ creator announces that the upcoming fourth season is the last

This week, the actors of Succession have started doing promotional interviews for the new season, the fourth season, which starts in a month. Jeremy Strong covers GQ’s March issue, and he was talking openly about how he believes that Succession would end with Season 4. I didn’t believe him – I thought it was just something he was telling himself to get through it because he’s burned out. But no, his interview was a harbinger of doom – Succession’s creator and showrunner Jesse Armstrong confirms to the New Yorker that the fourth season is the last season. SOB!!! Some highlights from his interview:

Why he decided that this is going to be the last season of “Succession”: “There are a few different aspects. One, we could have said it as soon as I sort of decided, almost when we were writing it, which I think would be weird and perverse. We could have said it at the end of the season. I quite like that idea, creatively, because then the audience is just able to enjoy everything as it comes, without trying to figure things out, or perceiving things in a certain way once they know it’s the final season. But, also, the countervailing thought is that we don’t hide the ball very much on the show. I feel a responsibility to the viewership, and I personally wouldn’t like the feeling of, “Oh, that’s it, guys. That was the end.” I wouldn’t like that in a show. I think I would like to know it is coming to an end. And, also, there’s a bunch of prosaic things, like it might be weird for me and the cast as we do interviews. It’s pretty definitively the end, so then it just might be uncomfortable having to sort of dissemble like a politician for ages about it. Hopefully, the show is against bullsh-, and I wouldn’t like to be bullshitting anyone when I was talking about it.

He & the writers did brainstorm a few scenarios: “I got together with a few of my fellow-writers before we started the writing of Season 4, in about November, December, 2021, and I sort of said, “Look, I think this maybe should be it. But what do you think?” And we played out various scenarios: We could do a couple of short seasons, or two more seasons. Or we could go on for ages and turn the show into something rather different, and be a more rangy, freewheeling kind of fun show, where there would be good weeks and bad weeks. Or we could do something a bit more muscular and complete, and go out sort of strong. And that was definitely always my preference. I went into the writing room for Season 4 sort of saying, “I think this is what we’re doing, but let’s also keep it open.”

Armstrong on Brian Cox saying Logan loves his children desperately, and that’s his weakness. “I think it’s true. You get into a bit of Prince Charles territory: What does love mean, when you never express it, and do things which are antithetical to what most people would consider to be love? But I think that Logan Roy would, rhetorically, reject any suggestion that he didn’t love his children to the utmost. And he has a whole intellectual defense system against the criticism that he’s done anything other than be loving. And I think it’s also important for Brian, playing Logan, to feel that thing underneath. There’s a version of this character who’s a caricature—who’s just the worst man in the world—and I hope we haven’t portrayed quite that.

On Tom’s betrayal at the end of Season 3: “Some people seem to have this reaction where they get Tom but have these questions about him, like: Why are he and Shiv together? And how did he do this? Hopefully, it’s in that good area of being a mystery and not a muddle. Hopefully he’s a bit mysterious, in that way that you find human beings in life mysterious.

Whether he’s been paying attention to the real-life succession drama of the Windsors: “It’s been a human drama, and anyone who comes from the U.K., and even the U.S., has obviously been sort of more drawn into it, with the heir and the spare. It is interesting to note that these are not dynamics that the show was unfamiliar with, because every single corporation and monarchy and empire has these crises around succession, because it’s so potent. I guess I’m interested in how that succession intersects with power. And that’s why the British monarchy fundamentally feels comic to me, rather than anything else. Not that it doesn’t have a lot of cultural power and isn’t a huge part of the national psyche. But because, if it were ever to draw its sword from the scabbard, it would probably be made of vanilla sponge cake.

[From The New Yorker]

Honestly, I feel like they could have done five solid seasons, fifty episodes, and it would have been a complete story? But what do I know? The beauty of Succession is that there were endless possibilities for where the show could go and the power struggles within the family and what outside forces could affect the business. So… I hate-respect the fact that the show isn’t going to overstay its welcome, but I do feel like they’re leaving too soon. You know HBO was probably trying to throw money at Armstrong, trying to convince him to do one more season. Succession has become one of HBO’s signature properties.

As for what Armstrong says about the Windsors as if their succession game is less about power as opposed to a family-owned conglomerate (a la the Murdochs), I disagree? When we see a national media smear, abuse and scapegoat “the ones who got away” in collusion with the Windsors, that’s not some powerless, sponge-cake exercise.

Photos courtesy of ‘Succession’ and HBO.

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12 Responses to “‘Succession’ creator announces that the upcoming fourth season is the last”

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  1. Felicity Fox says:

    I appreciate it when shows stop before their decline, but I HATE that this show is stopping now. It’s the favorite show of mine and Fantastic Mr Fox’s.

  2. Moderatelywealthy says:

    Much like Veep, Sucession is more of a crictics darling/ niche show than a ratings monster for HBO. It actaully makes lots of sense to stop now on a fourth season, claim all the awards coming the season then to invest on a fith season, especially considering that HBO is part of Warner now and they are all about re toooling after the streaming wars. Their money is better invested in several seasons of Westeros Universe, which will be very costly to them.

    If they have Sucession for too long, it would lose some of its appeal for the critics. Season 3 was repeating much of the themes and dynamics of the first two seasons. The magnificent ending was what it saved it. Veep was a half an hour show, cheaper by definition, so that is why it ran longer, but Armstroing´s shows are simply not for everybody. They even tried to do a podcast rewatch for Veep like many others were doing, but it failed.

  3. Slush says:

    I’m sad, but also I would much rather they go out “early,” on their terms, with a strong story, before they’ve outstayed their welcome – a la Breaking Bad.

    The alternative is a rating grab slog into useless seasons a la LOST, Walking Dead.

  4. Orangeowl says:

    I like Succession but I think this makes sense. And I would think there might be opportunities for a spin off that could go in directions that the original Succession really couldn’t. Kinda like Better Call Saul, which to me ended up being better than Breaking Bad.

    • DeeSea says:

      I agree: BCS was infinitely better than BB to me. I love the idea of one or more Succession spin-offs, and I hope someone makes that happen. I hope they start with a Geri origin story!

  5. TwinFalls says:

    Logan Roy does not love his children but I can believe he believes he does.
    I’m sad it’s ending but I have high hopes for it being an excellent last season.

  6. Rapunzel says:

    The McMahons who own the WWE are probably the closest to the Roy’s irl.

    The Trumps could be, if they were any good at business.

  7. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I love that we’re getting the final season of Succession the year of Charles’s ascension. Poetry and a wonderful harbinger of the downfall of the British monarchy. Make it so.

  8. Bosandi says:

    I’m sad the show is ending but it’s better to go out on top I guess. The show is so well written I could watch it over and over and still see something new. It’s so layered and nuanced. All of the characters are awful in one way or another but their motivations and interactions are so interesting. We can’t get to the core of who they are because they don’t know who they are IMO. Anyway, I could go on and on. I can’t wait for the last season! It better be a good ending!

  9. Lizzie says:

    By far my favorite show. However, and there is always a however in life, I get frustrated when a new season is released and there are only a handful of episodes, I think season 3 might have been 9 episodes. That isn’t a satisfying season for me, so I don’t think I’ll miss it.