Succession showrunner on why season 4 finale was the "right ending"
Succession showrunner Jesse Armstrong admits that “it feels very perverse to end it, because it’s been incredibly meaningful".
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the finale of Succession season 4.
It's the end of Succession as we know it and while the world mourns the end of the hit drama – and revels in the somewhat surprise ending – series creator Jesse Armstrong has revealed that the anticipated finale ending was the right one in the end.
The winner of Succession was ultimately Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) who was appointed as the US CEO of Waystar Royco by Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård). The decision came as a slight shock to viewers who had been following along with Shiv's (Sarah Snook) plan of plotting with GoJo's eccentric founder to eventually name her as CEO.
Of course with Kendall (Jeremy Strong) learning of the news, all hell breaks loose but Armstrong admits that it was the right decision to end Succession in the way he did.
In the Controlling The Narrative featurette (via Deadline) that aired after the finale, Armstrong said: “Tom being the eventual successor, that had been something that I thought was the right ending for quite a while.
“Even though he’s not exactly the most powerful monarch you’ll ever meet, his power comes from Matsson. Those figures who drift upwards and make themselves amenable to powerful people are around.”
Once the Roy siblings learnt of Matsson's surprising new plan, things do seem to shift for them all as they laugh and joke about Kendall being the next CEO. Director Mark Mylod said: “There was an odd emotional tension ... My understanding of the show has always been that it’s a tragedy. Therefore, every moment of hope is so cruel, because we’re just waiting for that shoe to drop and waiting for their essential nature to be exposed. To break your heart again.”
He continued: “As with Tom’s betrayal at the end of Season 3, everything was always working toward this idea of Sarah’s character of Shiv ultimately sabotaging herself and sabotaging the deal."
Speaking about the ending itself, Mylod said: “Jesse — I hate this expression — stuck the landing with this climactic showdown, if you like, between the three siblings. The final ripping off of the bandaid to expose that terrible, terrible truth put so simply by Roman — ‘We are bullsh*t’ — was so heartrending, and yet so inevitable. And good tragedy should feel inevitable, shouldn’t it?”
Chatting about how the series wraps up for the Roy siblings, Armstrong says: “Shiv is still in play, I’d say, in a rather terrifying, frozen, emotionally barren place. But she has got this kind of non-victory, non-defeat. I mean there’s gonna be some movement there. There’s still a lot of that game to play out, but that’s where we leave it, and it feels like it’s going to be hard to progress for them emotionally given the things they said to each other.
"For Kendall, this will never stop being the central event of his life, the central days of his life, central couple of years of his life. Maybe he could go on and start a company…but the chances of achieving the sort of corporate status that dad achieved are very low go, and I think that will mark his whole life.”
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It's been known for some time now that season 4 is the final outing for Succession, with Armstrong previously saying it was the right time to end things. Reflecting on the decision to wrap things with this fourth season, he says: “It feels very perverse to end it, because it’s been incredibly meaningful. I love this cast. I love working with the crew [and] my fellow writers. I’ve had some of my happiest times in my career being in the writers room and working with them.
“I don’t feel like I’ll be able to write anything as good as this again, because I just feel like it’s an arena that I’m so interested in, and the group of people who’ve made it have been so talented.”
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