WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Succession Season 4 (through episode 3).
The fourth season of HBO hit series Succession is well underway. When creator Jesse Armstrong said it would be the final one, it became highly likely that we would finally get to see an actual succession on Succession. After the now infamous episode 3, “Connor’s Wedding” we can definitely say someone will have to step up and take over the role of CEO of Waystar Royco.
From the very first episode of Succession, the death of media mogul Logan Roy (Brian Cox) seemed inevitable. Instead, we got to grow sort of fond of Logan’s business bully through a variety of health scares from which he always seemed to bounce back. Until the Waystar Royco CEO finally dropped dead on his private jet—not en route to his oldest son’s wedding, but rather in pursuit of yet another deal. His off-screen demise—there was no lead-up, no breaking down of the unbreakable Logan Roy, just like in real life, death is a sudden phone call—made for an hour of intense and incredible television. And so “Connor’s Wedding” now tops the IMDb chart of best TV episodes in history with a perfect score, surpassing series like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad.
It might feel a bit too soon, but the show must go on, which leads us to the billion dollar question: What’s next for Waystar Royco? After all the broken deals and deceit, the scandals and scuffle, who among Logan Roy’s children, (ex)-lovers, employees, and business connections will prove capable of taking his place? We ranked the main contenders based on their personalities, leadership skills, and legacy. Does the winner take it all, or are we heading for a fall?
‘Succession’ family and business tree
Want to see how every character relates to Logan Roy? Before we dive into our ranking of who’s most likely to lead Waystar Royco, get a refresher on everyone involved in this epic battle. We’ve put together a diagram of family members and business associates who have appeared on Succession.
11. Connor Roy
Personality: Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) is Logan’s oldest son and the half-brother of Kendall, Roman and Shiv. He isn’t really involved in the business, though he has occasionally voiced he should be. Connor lives on a ranch outside of the Manhattan frenzy, and out of lack of recognition in his family has channeled his main character ambitions in a bid to become the next U.S. president.
What he’s got going for him: Probably the least toxic, most honest relationship on the show, and with the death of his father maybe some pity votes that’ll keep him running for president. And now that the old man who “never liked [him]” is gone, could this allow him to finally claim a seat at the table?
Why it won’t be him: Yeah, we don’t think so. Too peripheral a personality (it took the others 15 minutes to remember they should inform him of his father’s passing), the half-sibling will probably remain on the sidelines, hoping to cash out enough for his campaign and loving(-ish) wife Willa.
10. Stewy Hosseini
Personality: Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed) is Kendall’s charismatic and intelligent friend in high finance who will always put himself first (remember when he tricked Kendall into giving him a seat on the board?) and doesn’t shy away from the occasional backstabbing to get what he wants.
Why he’ll come out on top: Stewy and father-daughter team Sandy (Larry Pine) and Sandi Furness (Hope Davis) hold three seats on the board, which can help them swing the vote for the next CEO, or well, any other major business decision. And with Sandy wanting to destroy Logan’s legacy, Stewy would definitely be a better alternative to the Roy kids.
Why he’ll flop: Their combined efforts to get more money from GoJo owner Lukas Matsson (Aleksander Skarsgård) could also blow up the deal entirely.
9. Kendall Roy
Personality: Although he probably doesn’t realize it, Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) is entitled and selfish, though with a slight sense of humanity. He struggles with addiction, has an inferiority complex, and has fought for the CEO position despite being made to feel like he will never be good enough to step into his father’s shoes.
His assets: He’s got a killer instinct and has come close to taking over, outstrategizing his father on numerous occasions. Even on the day of his death, he balances grief with a business mindset.
His Achilles heel: Well, he killed a guy.
8. Shiv Roy
Personality: Siobhan Roy (Sarah Snook) is a natural born leader, but is more experienced in leveraging that talent in politics. As the only daughter, she feels ignored when it comes to the business. Fighting for her father’s recognition, she gives up her political career and shows manipulative and toxic traits in her attempt to climb to the top.
What she has to succeed: Her spin doctor experience comes in handy when she takes the stage during the press conference on Logan’s passing and reads out the family statement. This instantly made her the public face of Waystar Royco.
What she lacks: Business tact. This has landed her in Logan’s doghouse a few times in the past, and more recently she seemed to be leading the siblings to a downfall with hasty and impulsive financial decisions around the Pierce and GoJo deals. Then there’s her estranged husband Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfayden): he could be a shoulder to cry on and a stepping stone once more, but he could also end up dragging her down (with him, depending on the skeletons in the closet).
7. Marcia Roy
Personality: Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass) is a sidekick with definite main character energy. She married into the family and is (or was) devoted to Logan Roy, which doesn’t always sit well with his children. She mostly operates in the background and tends to keep to herself but does so with a strategic and ruthless tenure that should not be underestimated.
How she can make a comeback: Marcia is sure to return from Europe to claim her ample inheritance—after all, she never signed the divorce papers. Her son Amir leads a European Waystar division, but the incriminating information both hold on Kendall—remember, they’re among the very few who know about the killing of the waiter—could maybe help the mother and son step up in this family business.
Or a vanishing act: Maybe she really just wants to take her money and get back to her shopping spree in Italy. None of the kids liked her anyway.
6. Tom Wambsgans
Personality: Although intimidated by Logan Roy, Tom managed to parlay his constant humiliation into a spot in the media mogul’s inner circle (he was actually on the plane when Logan died). Similar power dynamics take hold of his marriage to Shiv, where he bends backwards in order to keep the relationship going. With people he deems of lower status than him, he is just as abusive as the Roys are to him. He is a calculating man with many faces.
What he’s got to build on: Tom has been sneakily working his way up the ranks at Waystar Royco, becoming Logan’s right hand man while ratting out the siblings and sacrificing his marriage to Logan’s daughter Shiv in the process. He’s had his eyes on the CEO position from the start and nothing seems to stand in his way—apart from whatever it is he sent Greg out to dispose of in the “logistics” folder.
What will bring him down: In tears, he realizes himself that he’s now lost his protector, the man he’s worked so hard to get close to. And this before Logan even came to giving Tom an actual promotion. His power was never solidified and he lacks the charisma and support to get the leading role.
5. Gerri Kellman
Personality: Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) is one of Waystar Royco’s most important employees. She’s highly intelligent, business savvy, ice-cold, and knows how to come out on top of a power struggle.
What makes her a winner: Officially, she’s still General Counsel to Waystar Royco and she’s successfully navigated the company to success even in the bleakest situations. She can also leverage the inappropriate photos Roman sent her to ensure her position by suing him.
What makes her a loser: Was she perceived as a threat, a traitor, or did Roman’s sexual misconduct give her stone-cold reputation a blow? Whatever the reason, Logan Roy wanted Kellman out of the way. Then again, only a handful of people know that he wanted to fire her, so maybe she lucked out.
4. Cousin Greg
Personality: Gregory Hirsch (Nicholas Braun) is the nervous, clumsy grandson of Logan’s brother, Ewan Roy. He seems all over the place and extremely awkward at the surface, not standing up for himself when he gets bullied by his own family. But this might make one overlook his deceptive, sly capabilities.
What he’s got going for him: As Tom’s assistant and protégé, Greg has gathered a certain level of influence in the company by proxy. Having made copies of scandalizing documents before, he’ll likely do the same and cover his back now that Tom sent him out again to cover his tracks. Maybe he’ll leverage the power this intel holds over many people involved with the business and snatch the CEO dream.
Why he won’t make it: His fate is very much tied to Tom’s, and with Logan gone, it’s unclear where his mentor stands. But after his previous noncommittal fluttering between Team Tom and Team Kendall—betraying the latter—it’s unlikely the siblings would welcome him back at all. Then again, maybe he doesn’t need to side with anyone to make it.
3. Roman Roy
Personality: Roman ‘Romulus’ Roy (Kieran Culkin) is Logan’s youngest son. He is deeply insecure, which translates into rude, belittling behavior and a love for humiliation—both of himself and others. He has great business instincts and a wicked sense of humor, but his immaturity and anxiety hold him back.
Why he’ll come out on top: He has learned to put his passive entitlement aside and use his shrewd tactics to seal some deals for the company. He’s got an eye for business and warned about the high Pierce price and risking the GoJo deal—which he helped broker. He seemed closer to Logan and Matsson likes him. So whether the company stays in the family or goes to GoJo, Roman is in pole position.
Why not: He still questions how genuine his relationship with his dad truly is and is guilt-ridden over his last voicemail. Roman could be too insecure to claim the crown. And being the messenger telling Gerri she’s fired definitely broke their already damaged bond. He may have lost his rock—who happens to be in a position to sue him as he sent her explicit photos.
2. Lukas Matsson
Personality: An unpredictable, blunt Swedish tech billionaire with a trolling online personality. Lukas Matsson is the owner of GoJo, a trendy streaming service that was supposed to buy Waystar Royco. Matsson plays by his own rules, which can be quite reckless and impulsive. He’s easily bored and has said he is more interested in failure than success.
Why he’ll raise: The GoJo deal is still on the table, and Matsson is the clear favorite to lead the company that he’ll be acquiring. With Waystar Royco stocks plummeting and after vastly overpaying for Pierce, the kids should probably shelve their plans to squeeze Matsson for a better deal.
Why he’ll fold: He already warned that if anyone messes with the deal, he’ll walk. But it’s also possible that the Roy kids will try to pull out of it themselves, wanting to take over Waystar Royco rather than taking the money to build their own media empire.
1. Waystar Royco goes down
If Waystar Royco is no more, there is no succession. And this could just be the most plausible outcome of the series. The family business was already in trouble, even driving Logan to a desperate attempt of apologizing to his kids just to ensure their support in saving the GoJo deal. If the buyout fails, so will the company. And let that just be where the Roy kids’ strategies are likely headed: either pushing Matsson away by pushing for more money, or pulling out to keep the business in the family—but ending up with a broken Pierce deal, falling stock prices, and no one to steer the sinking ship to success.
There are just six episodes left in Succession’s final season—who you got?
FAQ: About Succession
Is ‘Succession’ based on a real family?
Jesse Armstrong, the creator of the show, has said that the family is fictional, but also that the show’s writers have been inspired by real-life media families such as the Hearsts and the Murdochs.
What network is ‘Succession’ on?
Succession is an HBO series. It can be streamed on HBO’s own streaming services, as well as other services that bundle HBO into their subscriptions.
Is ‘Succession’ over?
The current season of Succession, the show’s fourth, is also its last. The series finale will air on May 28, 2023.