Warning: contains Succession spoilers
It’s been almost a year since audiences were treated to Succession season three’s dramatic and terrifying finale. And ever since it’s been an equally excruciating wait to find out what happens next.
Fans have been drip-fed details about the next season: in May, at the BAFTAS, creator Jesse Armstrong said that writing for the next season had nearly been completed and then in June the show’s official Twitter account shared a picture of a clapperboard saying that production had begun.
In June an official synopsis of season 4 was also released, which said that there would be 10 episodes in the next season and that the drama would unfurl as “the sale of media conglomerate Waystar Royco to tech visionary Lukas Matsson moves ever closer.”
We admit that none of these slivers of information give much away, but then today HBO Max released a supercut of trailers of its upcoming shows, and audiences were treated to a glimpse of Succession series 4.
So while we still don’t have details about a release date, fans do, finally, have something to feast their eyes on.
Here’s everything else we know about the trailer and upcoming season.
The trailer was released today as part of a larger supercut of trailers of upcoming shows on HBO Max, including The White Lotus, Love & Death, The Idol and The Last Of Us, a documentary called Shaq about Shaquille O’Neal, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Somebody, Somewhere, Perry Mason, Barry, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Gilded Age.
Then we get a glimpse of Succession (starting at 1 minute 30 seconds).
“This is not the end,” says Logan Roy, then in another scene he shouts to an office crowd, “We’re killing the opposition.” Then the screen flashes between his daughter Shiv, who is leaning her forehead on her hand, son Roman who is staring off into the distance and son Kendall who is looking deadpan past the camera.
“I’m going to build something better, faster, leaner, wilder,” shouts Logan to an office crowd. “I love it here! I f**king love it!”
That’s it. The new trailer is literally seconds long, but it’s still wonderful to see our favourite characters back on screen – if only for a moment.
What’s happened so far?
Season three was a real humdinger. Succession follows the Roy family who owns a media conglomerate (they could be seen as a make-believe Murdoch family) and the drama that ensues as the family’s four grown-up children, Connor, Kendall, Roman and Shiv, fight each other and their father, Logan, for control of the company.
Season three left matters, predictably, on a massive cliffhanger. In the penultimate episode, Kendall was intoxicated and face down in a swimming pool – was he dead? (He wasn’t, but it set the tone for the final showdown).
Then in the finale, in what the Guardian called “the most biblical betrayal of all”, Tom Wambsgans (Shiv’s husband) betrayed his own wife and brothers-in-law by tipping off Logan, telling him that his children had been plotting against him. Logan reacted by moving to sell his company Waystar Royco to a tech billionaire, and also renegotiated his divorce agreement with Caroline in such a way that it cut out his kids’ company control rights.
What else do we know about the upcoming season?
After season three, with all its heart-thumping, anxiety-inducing drama, it’s almost certain that season four is going to be more of the same. After all, there’s so much unfinished business. What will Logan do without Waystar Royco (if the sale goes ahead)? What role is GoJo CEO (the tech billionaire Logan is selling to) Lukas Matsson going to play now? How are Kendall, Roman and Shiv going to handle their newfound situation? What revenge will Shiv enact on Tom?
The official synopsis for the show says: “The prospect of this seismic sale provokes existential angst and familial division among the Roys as they anticipate what their lives will look like once the deal is completed. A power struggle ensues as the family weighs up a future where their cultural and political weight is severely curtailed.” You can feel your stomach starting to do somersaults already.
Then, there are the ever-creeping ambitions of some of the more secondary characters, such as cousin Greg (who has made an unlikely alliance with Tom). Speaking to Deadline, Nicholas Braun, who plays Greg, teased that in the next season, “Greg shifts into another gear” and that “he and Tom have a new frequency.” Eek.
Who is returning?
We haven’t yet seen an official cast list, but we can assume that all the key family members will be returning given that they’re still very much in the fight.
There’s team one, which consists of Logan (Brian Cox) and his allies Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun), Gerri (J Smith Cameron), Frank (Peter Friedman) and Karl (David Rasche) and ex-wife, Caroline (Harriet Walter).
Then there’s team two, which is made up of Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) who had finally joined forces by the end of season three, leading to that incredible revolt. If you didn’t see the third season, it’s definitely worth going back and watching it – even though you know the ending – just to see that shocking scene.
Then, it still remains to be seen whose side eldest son Connor (Alan Ruck) and his new fianceé Willa (Justine Lupe) will join.
Then, Matsson (who is played by Alexander Skarsgård) is also set to be returning for season four alongside Arian Moayed’s Stewy Hosseini (a long-time friend of Kendall’s), Juliana Canfield’s Jess Jordan (who works at Waystar Royco), Annabelle Dexter-Jones’ Naomi Pierce (a board member of media company PGM), Justin Kirk’s Jeryd Mencken (a far-right congressman), Stephen Root’s Ron Petkus (a political donor and organiser) and Dagmara Domińczyk’s Karolina Novotney (who is head of PR for Waystar Royco).
What do the critics think?
Succession has been a massive hit with critics and audiences alike. The show has won two Golden Globe Awards (in 2020 and in 2022) and has won two Primetime Emmy Awards (also in 2020 and 2022) and has a whopping 94 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. The third season earned 25 Primetime Emmys, the most of any show that year.
Reviewing the finale of season three, The Guardian called it “sheer sinister perfection”, while The Telegraph called it a “devastating, killer conclusion” and NME said it was “still the best show on TV”.
Any other gossip?
Speaking to The Guardian in December 2021 about the end of season three, writer Armstrong said: “You’ve only got so much plot, character and psychological capital. One day it will be gone and you don’t know when that day is. The fear is that it’ll sneak up on you when you’re not looking.”
Then, when Armstrong was asked how long the show would continue at the May 2022 BAFTA awards, he said: “I won’t answer that one precisely. I don’t think it should go on forever. But we’re still having fun at the moment.”
Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall, caused a stir in December 2021 in an interview with The New Yorker in which he detailed his acting methods (which he calls “identity diffusion”). In the interview Strong said, “I can’t work in a way that feels like I’m making a television show. I need, for whatever reason, to believe that it’s real and commit myself to that sense of belief,” and that, “To me, the stakes are life and death… I take [Kendall] as seriously as I take my own life.”
“His mild appearance belies a relentless, sometimes preening intensity,” said New Yorker writer Michael Schulman.
In an interview with Deadline a month later Brian Cox, who plays Kendall’s father Logan, said: “It was Jeremy’s idea, the whole article… In a sense, he got hoisted by it, and I think it was unfortunate.”
He added: “Let me tell you, I have such respect for Jeremy as an actor, and I just wish him well. I think he lives in a lot of pain. I mean, he creates the pain in the role he plays… There is a certain amount of pain at the root of Jeremy, and I just feel for that pain.”
Succession season 4 currently has no set release date