Succession, the Emmy-winning HBO drama that helped redefine the premium cable network following the end of Game of Thrones, is ending.
Creator and showrunner Jesse Armstrong revealed that the upcoming fourth season will indeed be its final run on the Warner Bros. Discovery-backed premium cable network, telling the New Yorker that “there’s a promise in the title of Succession. I’ve never thought this could go on forever. The end has always been kind of present in my mind. From season two, I’ve been trying to think: Is it the next one, or the one after that, or is it the one after that?”
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“I got together with a few of my fellow writers before we started the writing of season four, in about November, December, 2021, and I sort of said, ‘Look, I think this maybe should be it. But what do you think?’ And we played out various scenarios: We could do a couple of short seasons, or two more seasons. Or we could go on for ages and turn the show into something rather different, and be a more rangy, freewheeling kind of fun show, where there would be good weeks and bad weeks. Or we could do something a bit more muscular and complete, and go out sort of strong. And that was definitely always my preference.”
Reps for HBO declined to comment outside of confirming the New Yorker story is accurate. Season four of Succession returns March 26 on HBO.
The news ends speculation on if Succession would sign off with either its fourth or fifth season, something Armstrong has teased since the satirical drama broke out as an awards season darling.
“I feel deeply conflicted. I quite enjoy this period when we’re editing — where the whole season is there — but we haven’t put it out yet. I like the interregnum,” Armstrong said. “And I also quite liked the period where me and my close collaborators knew that this was probably it, or this was it, but hadn’t had to face up to it in the world. It’s been a difficult decision, because the collaborations — with the cast, with my fellow writers, with Nick Britell and Mark Mylod and the other directors — they’ve just been so good. And I feel like I’ve done the best work I can do, working with them. And HBO has been generous and would probably have done more seasons, and they have been nice about saying, ‘It’s your decision.’ That’s nice, but it’s also a responsibility in the end — it feels quite perverse to stop doing it.”
Succession broke out in its first season and earned the Emmy for best drama series for its sophomore run and followed that up with another win for its third season. The show’s sweeping cast, including stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Nicholas Braun, Kieran Culkin, Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook, have all become regular names each and every awards season and have collected numerous wins among them. Armstrong took home the Emmy for writing for a drama series, with other guest stars and directors also earning statuettes for their work on Succession.
Created by Armstrong, who earned an overall deal with HBO for his work on the series, Succession is also exec produced by Adam McKay, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick, Jane Tranter, Mylod, Tony Roche, Scott Ferguson, Jon Brown, Lucy Prebble, Will Tracy and Will Ferrell.
Succession has become a key anchor show for HBO following the conclusion of such award-winning hits including Game of Thrones and Veep. It’s part of a roster of originals at the Casey Bloys-led cabler that also includes The White Lotus, Barry, Euphoria, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Industry, House of the Dragon, The Last of Us and Game of Thrones offshoot House of the Dragon.
Bloys has maintained for some time that the decision to end Succession would be entirely up to Armstrong as the executive has a history of letting creatives determine what’s best for the story. Bloys has also maintained that Succession is unlikely to get a spinoff treatment, which goes against the franchise strategy that most conglomerates have taken to in the Peak TV era. Still, Armstrong told the New Yorker that the door remains open to revisiting the power-hungry world of the Roys: “I do think that this succession story that we were telling is complete,” he said. “This is the muscular season to exhaust all our reserves of interest, and I think there’s some pain in all these characters that’s really strong. But the feeling that there could be something else in an allied world, or allied characters, or some of the same characters — that’s also strong in me. I have caveated the end of the show, when I’ve talked to some of my collaborators, like: Maybe there’s another part of this world we could come back to, if there was an appetite? Maybe there’s something else that could be done, that harnessed what’s been good about the way we’ve worked on this. So that is another true feeling.”
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