It’s been twenty (long) months since Kendall Roy ended the reign of his father Logan in the mic drop finale of Succession’s second season. But the sure-to-be-epic return of the Roys finally feels imminent. Following extensive filming delays due to COVID-19, HBO finally whetted our appetites with a teaser for Season Three. A high octane preview dropped in early July, featuring a glimpse at the fractured Roy family allegiances plus a shitload of good insults and threats. And now, thanks to Vulture’s extensive hangout with the Succession cast, we have a better idea of what to expect from the new season.
Read on for everything we know about Season Three of Succession so far, including the recently-announced release date.
When Will Season Three of Succession Debut?
As Nicholas Braun, who plays the beloved Cousin Greg, told Esquire in 2020, the cast and production team had just gotten the conversation going about filming Season Three when the pandemic hit. That sidelined plans for the majority of last year, but things are shoring up for a 2021 debut, finally. In an HBO Max sizzler, the network included the show on a reel of titles to debut before 2022. Thankfully, it wasn’t a troll. HBO announced this Monday morning that Succession will return on October 17.
What Will Happen In Season Three of Succession?
“This is the day his reign ends,” Kendall Roy says at the end of Season Two, twisting the knife deeper into his father’s back, during a press conference at which the Number One Boy was supposed to take the fall for the criminal cover up in Waystar Royco’s cruise division. Instead, Kendall exposed Logan Roy’s knowledge of Uncle Mo Lester’s illegal behavior, staging the coup he flubbed earlier.
“The truth is that my father is a malignant presence, a bully, and a liar, and he was fully personally aware of these events for many years,” Kendall says. “I have with me today copies of records that show his personal sign offs.” And scene.
Earlier in the episode, when Logan told Kendall that he’d be the blood sacrifice who would go down as the face of the scandal, he also told his son that he could never be head of the company without a “killer instinct.” Well, Kendall sure did prove his father wrong, effectively killing Logan in the court of public opinion (and, not to brag, but we predicted this back in the third episode of Season Two).
So, where do we go from here? In August of 2019, HBO renewed Succession for a third season. In a statement, Executive Vice President of HBO Drama Programming Francesca Orsi said: “We are elated that Succession and its exploration of wealth, power and family has resonated so powerfully with audiences. We cannot wait to see how the complex characters that Jesse Armstrong has created continue to navigate this captivating, ruthless world of the uber-rich. In today’s world where the intersection of politics and media is increasingly prevalent, Succession presents an especially piercing look behind the curtain of this elite, influential, and cutthroat community.”
From here, Succession could go to some very interesting places. Kendall has effectively fired a devastating blow at his father, but, as the new preview attests, Logan’s not going down like a whimpering pup. And, we can’t forget (a Roy never would), Logan is the only one who knows and has proof of Kendall’s involvement in the accidental death of the waiter. Would he use that against his own son? It’s a chilling thought, but an absolute possibility.
Beyond that, it will be interesting to see what sides the rest of the Roy family will take. The preview hints at ongoing open conversations between the siblings—at one point Shiv says that she’ll switch sides and join Kendall if she gets to be in charge—but it’s unclear where the battle lines are drawn for the rest of the gang. Except, of course, when it comes to Greg The Egg, who is firmly on Kendall’s side (and likely gotten himself back into his grandfather’s will in betraying Logan). In one of the lighter moments from the preview, Tom can be seen shouting threats through his cell phone at Greg for his decision. Greg responds: “That seems, like, kind of dramatic Tom.”
“I believe that he still has a little ambiguity about which side he can play,” Braun told Esquire of Greg’s path-to-come. “I think in the moment of the news conference, Greg is supporting Kendall, which he’s done before. Greg is this down to give him some weapons, give him Greg’s best weapon really, which is those documents. So, I don’t know how it goes once they walk out that door, but they walk out together.”
The other key moment, he says, is what happened between them on the plane before Kendall’s press conference. “I think something happened on the plane, and the importance of what Kendall was about to do was relayed. I don’t actually know how much Kendall had decided,” said Braun.
Kieran Culkin, who plays Roman, actually had an interesting theory for how a third season could play out. As he recalled a conversation with Brian Cox in an interview with EW:
If Kendall does succeed in bringing Logan down, would Logan then name Roman as his successor? Or, more likely, will Logan tell Roman that he wants to make him the next CEO as a tactic to get one of his sons by his side, pitting him against Kendall?
Aside from the Shakespearean drama of Kendall and Logan, there’s also still the lingering tragedy of Shiv and Tom to be addressed. Though she ultimately pleaded his case to her father not to make him the fall guy, Shiv betrayed Tom in front of the rest of the family. But, that’s not what’s breaking Tom’s heart—he’s still hung up on the whole open relationship thing. (Right?)
Some hints have been trickling out from those in the know, as well. “There are also a lot of talks about going more international than we’ve gone before, which is to do with the relationship between the media industry and international countries,” Succession writer Lucy Prebble told Deadline late last year. “The way international countries input, control and fund the media in ways that aren’t talked about as clearly as they should be.”
That was early days in terms of plotting and filming, but it appears that came to be: the cast was spotted filming in Italy in June. Now, thanks to Vulture’s cover story with the Succession cast, we know that the final two episodes will take place in Tuscany. Of course, as always, the location is part of the bit.
“I don’t know how much of a social signifier it is to Americans—anybody who can go abroad is really rich—but [Tuscany] has this particular flavor for the English upper class,” Armstrong told Vulture. “Some call it Chiantishire in a slightly sickening way.”
We’re just hoping that someone gets a big glass of red wine hurled at them.
Is Anyone Joining the Cast?
Actually, yes. Lots of people. Alexander Skarsgard—who recently took a turn on another HBO property, Big Little Lies, a role that earned him an Emmy—has joined the cast to play Lukas Matsson, “a successful, confrontational tech founder and CEO,” the Hollywood Reporter revealed earlier this year.
Adrien Brody has also signed on as a guest star for the season. According to Deadline, he’ll tackle the role of Josh Aaronson, “a billionaire activist investor who becomes pivotal in the battle for the ownership of Waystar.”
Hope Davis is also due to appear, as Sandi Furness, the daughter of Logan’s rival Sandy Furness (Larry Pine). Also from Deadline, Sanaa Lathan will play Lisa Arthur, a high-profile New York lawyer; Linda Emond will portray senior White House aide Michelle-Anne Vanderhoven; and K-pop star Jihae Kim will take on the character Berry Schneider, a leading public relations consultant. (We agree, they could use it.)
It’s also worth noting that a few series guests have also been promoted to regulars for Season Three: Willa Ferreyra (Justine Lupe), shady chief financial officer Karl Muller (David Rasche) and Waystar Royco’s senior comms exec, Fisher Stevens (Hugo Baker) will all re-appear.
The previous two seasons have been masterful in their storytelling, and fortunately the wait for a third finally feels to have made some progress—maybe we can kill some time with a healthy game of Boar on the Floor until then?