Helicopter flights over skylines, supercars, thousand-dollar suits, designer watches, penthouse apartments, multiple mansions and mega-yachts the size of small estates. These are a few of the toys at the disposal of our narcissistic protagonists, the fictional Roy family, as they jockey for positions within the family empire. When watching HBO’s “Succession,” ogling over such luxuries is inevitable.
The unequaled economic class of the characters is apparent in every scene, whether that be to the frustration or fascination of the viewer, and the overarching plot concerns issues quite literally above our paygrade. The characters repeatedly backstab, self-destruct and step on us small people, one acquisition deal at a time. Yet, both fans and critics can never quite bring themselves to look away from the controlled chaos.
The show’s materialistic spectacles and familial plotting are only equaled by its Aaron Sorkin-level dialogue. Fast-paced, sarcastic, immature and magnetic, their tongues resemble their spoons: silver. They talk, spend and manipulate to get what they want within their multi-billion-dollar media conglomerate, Waystar RoyCo. HBO uses these quips along with lavish spectacles in their ad runs to attract new viewers to the glitz and glamor of unparalleled wealth.
But if you know anything about “Succession,” it’s arguable that every character involved is an asshole — funny and mind-numbingly rich ones all to varying degrees, but assholes nonetheless. The creators use this premise as a running commentary on the self-centered nature of America’s upper echelon. Unapologetically relevant to our current economic climate, “Succession” offers us borderline antagonists to simultaneously despise and root for.
For the characters, the concept of family is an opportunity more than an obligation, and that mindset naturally leaks into their careers. Yet, their occasional instances of humanity and enjoyability endear them to audiences all the same. As the show’s rabid fanbase and the numerous fan pages across social media will attest, they’re our assholes.
So, while the alliances, intimidation and backstabbing of these self-centered capitalists propelled the action through two acclaimed seasons and captured a cult audience, no moment offered such a drastic repositioning of the characters than the climactic reveal in the Season 2 finale. Finally, somebody distanced themselves from the family and their countless transgressions to became less of a narcissist! The episode’s final minutes left restless fans eager for the promised third season, even before multiple pandemic-related postponements halted production. Today, these viewers finally have due cause for optimism.
Current estimates place “Succession” Season 3 as airing before the end of 2021. Despite city restrictions and ongoing COVID-19 testing, shooting began in February and likely wrapped in New York City sometime this April. Since then, it was revealed that at least some of the season will take place in Italy, as flights to the peninsula were flaunted by crew members as recently as June 6.
Once shooting wraps, rounds of edits and review will follow, but HBO remains confident in the timeliness of this process. Deadline reported back in February that HBO’s chief content officer expressed his optimism that the show would premiere in the fourth quarter of 2021 in a “normal world.” Though stated with a caveat, considerable strides have been made on a national scale regarding both vaccinations and case reductions.
This appears promising for the subscription service, which marketed Season 3 as one of its premier series slated to return before 2022. Of course, fans and news outlets alike can only speculate about the possible delays experienced during production, but considering the reports coming out of shoots like Warner Bros.’ upcoming “The Batman” earlier this year, the absence of rumors is cause for encouragement. “Succession” hasn’t been spared from all rumors, however, with noteworthy additions to the already revered cast surfacing and some even confirmed by the network.
Season 2 of “Succession” earned the series three Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting performers: one for outstanding supporting actress and two for outstanding actor, one of which was won by Jeremy Strong in 2020. These account for only a few of the cast’s accolades thus far in a series that has won 57 Emmys out of 80 nominations in only two years. HBO now hopes that the expected introductions can replicate the success of the proven core, as shown by the case with the addition of guest actress Cherry Jones as Nan Pierce in Season 2.
Both Jones and casting director Avy Kaufman won Emmys for their roles in the series, which bodes well for acting veterans Alexander Skarsgård and Adrien Brody. Skarsgård and Brody have won an Emmy and an Oscar, respectively, and were met with warm receptions when the news first broke of their introduction to the series in May. Skarsgård is expected to play Lukas Matsson, a tech founder and CEO with an inclination for confrontation, while Brody is slotted to act as a “billionaire activist investor” central to the future of the family’s conglomerate. It appears that the plot will be increasingly saturated with figures from the wider industry, potentially separating aspects of the story from the Roy family directly.
Skarsgård and Brody do not comprise the whole of the additions for Season 3, though, since Sanaa Lathan and Hope Davis should benefit a series otherwise short on female perspectives. Davis, following a recent appearance in the well-received television series “Your Honor,” is reported as having a multi-episode character arc as established character Sandi Furness’ daughter, which will hopefully extend past Season 3. The sentiment remains for Lathan, who joins as notable New York lawyer Lisa Arthur.
Whether or not the legal troubles surrounding the family will continue beyond Season 3 is still unknown, even if the plot through two seasons would hint at the answer being yes. Likewise, whether Lathan’s character will represent Logan or Kendall Roy is also undetermined at this juncture — that is, if both parties are involved in any direct legal confrontations at all.
Lastly, fans should expect some time lapse following the chaos of the Season 2 finale, but the extent of which is a greater question. That is one aspect HBO hasn’t clarified yet. However, cast members have alluded to the plot handling COVID-19 in a “delicate” and “classy” manner. Furthermore, the allegiances within the family have been left undisclosed. HBO appears to be holding their cards close to the chest, allowing fans to only speculate about the finer details.
Luckily, part of the fun is in the speculation. Fans have converged to theorize, predict, wish and anticipate the ongoings of their favorite narcissists for months even before being offered their first episode. Such has proven the case over the past year since HBO hasn’t aired any episodes — special or otherwise — from the series since early winter of 2020. Only recently have fans been offered a glimpse into what’s to come.
So, while plenty of details will remain unknown until premiere night, that’s ultimately why people watch. Fans won’t really know what happens until it does, aside from what history suggests: that HBO and “Succession” will deliver once again.