So, after five years and four thrilling seasons, Succession is coming to an end this year. While we are incredibly sad to see the back of one of the best TV series of all time, there’s a lot to be said for knowing when to make a move and finishing at the peak of your powers.
Speaking of, the battle for supremacy within Waystar Royco is heating up as we approach the Succession season 4 release date, and the question on everyone’s mind is – who will come out on top by the end of the drama series?
When it comes to Succession characters, Logan Roy is the reigning champion of the media empire, but we’ve already seen Kendall, Shiv, and Roman try to knock the patriarch off his perch… and fail miserably. You may be thinking Logan is immovable, but we have a theory that suggests there will be a new king in town by the time Succession concludes.
We’ve already seen Logan survive a hemorrhagic stroke, corporate scandal, the FBI, and a hostile takeover or two. As Tom Wambsgans so eloquently put it, we have “never seen Logan get fucked,” and it does seem there is nothing that can topple the supreme leader of Succession.
However, there is one thing that no amount of money or power can save you from. Death waits for no man, and while Logan may feel invincible, his time is surely coming. In the Succession pilot the head of the Roy family celebrates his 80th birthday, and while life certainly doesn’t stop at 80, the amount of pressure on Logan through the course of the show suggests he will end up working himself into the grave.
If that does indeed happen during this next chapter of the show, there is going to be a power vacuum at Waystar Royco with no clear succession plan in place as things stand. By the end of season 3, Lukas Matsson was circling the company, but we can’t see Logan’s stubborn pride allowing him to ever truly let the empire leave the Roy family.
In a way, Waystar Royco will remain in the family after Logan’s potential passing, though the next emperor will be a Roy by blood rather than name. That’s right, we think Gregory Hirsch is in line to rise to the very top this season.
Nicholas Braun’s role in the Succession cast has largely been about putting the comedy into the comedy series. Cousin Greg’s dynamic with Tom is a consistent source of hilarity, and the former’s awkward, uncertain approach to corporate life is great for drawing laughs. But what if it’s all an elaborate ruse?
Think back to where Greg started in the very first episode of Succession – stoned out of his mind, vomiting through the eyes of a dog costume, and being dismissed from his role as a Brightstar Adventure Park mascot. By the end of that episode, he had wormed his way into Logan’s birthday celebrations and somehow had a job offer on the table.
This meteoric rise simply does not stop throughout the entirety of the three seasons, with Greg the Egg riding Tom’s coattails all the way to the peripheries of the inner circle. In fact, you could argue Greg is the only character in Succession whose trajectory is relentlessly upwards, while the Roy siblings, Tom, and even Logan suffer setbacks along the way.
It’s Greg’s relationship with Tom that could well prove to be the key to him making the final jump to the very top, too. Tom may be in a position of power on the corporate ladder, but he is constantly kicked by the Roy family, a beating he in turn decides to pass down to Greg whenever he gets the chance. But Tom would do well to remember that Greg has one major advantage over him – the birthright of a Roy.
Greg has been biding his time, observing the power plays around him, and using his own unorthodox methods to get what he wants, too. We’ve also seen Greg’s morality gradually corrupted simply by being in the proximity of the Roy family and the corporate elite. This loss of humanity is most evident in his tantrum at being deprived of his inheritance by Greenpeace, which shows just how far Greg the Egg has fallen.
He has taken the beatings from Tom, because he recognises the value of being the underdog, operating in the shadows to slowly but surely ascend to the throne. Plus, being close to Tom has served Greg well thus far, especially given the plot twist in the season 3 finale, where Tom betrayed the Roy siblings to strengthen his own position with Logan.
Remember when Tom compared his relationship with Greg to the Greek myth of Nero and Sporus? The foreshadowing of that moment could well be crucial to the endgame of Succession, but not in the way Tom hopes. After enduring Tom’s torment and manipulation for so long, Greg will soon find himself in a position where he no longer needs Tom, and it is the latter who will be castrated (figuratively speaking, of course).
Tom was able to curry favour with Logan in the season 3 finale, but it has been made abundantly clear Logan will never regard Tom as being competent enough to reign over Waystar Royco. The Roy siblings, too, are in complete opposition to their father now, and there’s seemingly no way back for them.
It would be rather poetic if, in complete contrast to the celebrations of the pilot episode, the finale saw Logan dying with no one around him. After pushing everyone away and being so adamant that none of his heirs are strong enough to take his place, Logan may well end up unwittingly leaving everything to Greg, simply because he was in the right place at the right time.
Of course, Matsson’s prospective takeover of the company could prove to be a stumbling block. But, we’ve seen Greg make it this far on sheer charm and dumb luck alone, so there’s no reason to suggest he can’t find a way to make this developing situation work to his benefit in the long term.
In the season 3 finale, Tom mused about Greg becoming the King of Luxembourg. While we’re not sure about his chances of ruling a small European country, we can definitely see Greg ruling the Waystar Royco kingdom.
For more from Succession, check out our Succession season 4 episode 1 review. Or, you could look ahead to the next chapter of other HBO hits with our guides on the Euphoria season 3 release date and The Last of Us season 2 release date.