Succession is widely regarded as one of the greatest shows in modern television history, with a great deal of debate and intrigue in online communities regarding who truly earned the title of CEO of Waystar Royco. According to a recent write-up on Deadline, series creator Jesse Armstrong has declared who Logan Roy would have chosen to succeed him once and for all. According to Armstrong, the deceased patriarch of the Roy family intended to name Jeremy Strong’s Kendall Roy to take his place in retirement had he lived to retire.
Jesse Armstrong, creator of Succession, has finally come clean and admitted that Kendall Roy would take over following Logan Roy’s retirement.
The scene that seemingly confirms this line of succession within the show comes in the fourth episode of season four. In the fourth and final season of the series, there is a question regarding whether or not Brian Cox’ Logan Roy crossed out or underlined his son Kendall’s name on a document, with an ambiguously placed line starting below Kendall’s name and gliding up through it. When the document is first recovered after Logan’s death, Kendall celebrates it as a firm win until his sister Siobhan points out that it may not be clear what the line is communicating.
After a great deal of debate, it is never ultimately settled, leaving the document as one of Succession’s greatest mysteries. That is, until a recent media appearance from Jesse Armstrong at an event hosted by the Financial Times in London. During the event, Armstrong clarified his behind-the-scenes intention with the scene, suggesting that Logan likely wouldn’t have started the line underneath Kendall’s name if his intention was to cross the name out.
Regardless of whether the character’s intention was to cross or underline the name, the ambiguous nature of the document is never properly decoded in the series, leaving the mystery alive within the purview of the Succession characters.
Additionally, Armstrong is credited with having drawn the line on the prop paper used in the shoot himself, so his reading of the line’s placement comes from a place of certainty. While some Succession fans may be frustrated by this seemingly definitive answer, other users on X (formerly Twitter) have suggested that the showrunner is notorious for stirring the pot with his fans, including sometimes teasing non-canon material online.
Regardless of whether the character’s intention was to cross or underline the name, the ambiguous nature of the document is never properly decoded in the series, leaving the mystery alive within the purview of the Succession characters. Armstrong concluded the event by explaining that he’s ready to answer these questions because the series is already over, though he would never give away the mysteries if the show were still currently running.
After a great deal of debate, it is never ultimately settled, leaving the document as one of Succession’s greatest mysteries.
Succession ends with the entire Roy family being all but pushed out of their own family business, with Matthew Macfadyen’s Tom Wambsgans taking on the role of head of the company. Though Tom is married into the family through Siobhan, the pair’s marriage is riddled with poor communication, exploitative power dynamics, and a lingering sense of extramarital obligation, which makes it clear that the future for the two has only two possible outcomes. Either Siobhan and Tom will remain in an unloving sham marriage, or the two are destined for divorce in the near future.
Now that Succession has wrapped its final season, there’s no telling what Jesse Armstrong will cook up next. Studios and streamers will surely be clamoring for his magic touch in the near future, with a great deal of demand for prestige television and film following the eventual conclusion of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.