The Roy family is heading out. Series creator Jesse Armstrong has revealed that the upcoming fourth season of Succession will mark the end of the HBO series. The last episode is expected to air on Memorial Day Weekend.
A family comedy-drama series, the Succession TV show stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Friedman, J. Smith-Cameron, Dagmara Dominczyk, Justine Lupe, David Rasche, Fisher Stevens, Hiam Abbass, Arian Moayed, Harriet Walter, James Cromwell, Natalie Gold, Juliana Canfield, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Zoë Winters, Jeannie Berlin, Alexander Skarsgård, Sanaa Lathan, Linda Emond, Jihae, Adrien Brody, Hope Davis, and Dasha Nekrasova. Unfolding in New York, the show explores themes of power and family dynamics through the eyes of patriarch Logan Roy (Cox) and his four grown children, Kendall (Strong), Siobhan (Snook), Roman (Culkin), and Connor (Ruck).
The third season of Succession averaged a 0.12 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 553,000 viewers in the live+same day ratings (includes all DVR playback through 3:00 AM). Compared to season two, that’s down by 17% in the demo and down by 7% in viewership.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Armstrong said that the fourth season finale is “pretty definitively the end” of the series. He opted to reveal that Succession is coming to an end now so that he and the cast wouldn’t have to lie about the show’s future in interviews.
What made you decide that it was time to end “Succession”?
It’s been a bit tortured, and I felt unexpectedly nervous about talking to you, because it’s all theoretical until this point, and I have tried to keep it theoretical for a whole number of reasons. Who knows about the psychological reasons, but the creative ones were that it felt really useful to not make the final, final decision for ages. You know, there’s a promise in the title of “Succession.” I’ve never thought this could go on forever. The end has always been kind of present in my mind. From Season 2, I’ve been trying to think: Is it the next one, or the one after that, or is it the one after that?
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.” I like operating the writing room by coming in with a sort of proposition, and then being genuinely open to alternative ways of going. And the decision to end solidified through the writing and even when we started filming: I said to the cast, “I’m not a hundred per cent sure, but I think this is it.” Because I didn’t want to bullshit them, either.
So even when you’re shooting there’s a possibility in your mind that you could keep it going to Season 5?
I don’t know whether that’s a psychological trick on myself, to stop being sad about stopping doing something which I really, really enjoyed. Or it’s a creative trick to not make us get lachrymose or sentimental, or to kind of do it differently than we have done before. And a certain percentage of not definitively saying early on that this was the last season was also a feeling that sometimes on the show, previously, we’ve discovered plot avenues, character dynamics, which have demanded we follow them. And therefore not wanting to definitively close off the possibility of that happening this season—at least until it got weird to not say, O.K., I think this really is it.
Did you always have an idea of where “Succession” was going to end up?
Not when I was writing the pilot, nor probably in the Season 1 room, but I think, growing from about Season 2, I started to know where I thought it should end. I don’t keep that secret because that’s what the writing room is there for: to test the ideas out. The show is an artifice—you are making up the story. And yet there are certain ideas which feel organic and some which feel inorganic, and I guess the writing-room process for me is a great way of making a piece of artifice feel organic to us, and to myself.
Could there be a spin-off? HBO and HBO Max content CEO Casey Bloys recently spoke about the possibility.
What do you think? Have you enjoyed the Succession TV series? Are you disappointed that there won’t be a fifth season, or is this the right time to end the Roy family’s story?
Good choice not to drag it out for too many seasons. When the entire premise of the show is about an old billionaire facing his mortality and his kids fighting over who’s going to run the family “empire” when he’s gone, you can’t do that for 10 years and not look ridiculous.
Also…. if you’re on any division of WarnerDiscovery right about now, you’re better off writing your own ending while you can, and not letting Zaslav & Malone cancel you after a cliffhanger, right?
Great show, but the novelty was wearing off a bit, so probably a good time to end. I’d love it if J.A brought Peep Show back.