Succession creator Jesse Armstrong finally reveals answer to major storyline mystery

Jesse Armstrong has spilled the beans on a major Succession storyline mystery.

In episode four of the award-winning satirical show’s final season, a typed document is found that seems to name the eldest Roy son, Kendall (Jeremy Strong) as the successor to Logan (Brian Cox), the head honcho of the family’s media empire.

But there was also a line scrawled in pen that started underneath Kendall’s name and appeared to strike through it. Fans, and indeed the show’s characters, were left scratching their head as to whether Logan meant to underline Kendall’s name for emphasis or cross it out.

Speaking at the FTWeekend Festival months after the show came to a close, Armstrong, 52, has now revealed: “This is the sort of thing I would have hated to do while we were still doing the show. But if you were going to cross out, you wouldn’t start out underneath, would you?”

Armstrong also recently commented on the HBO show’s inspiration after years of tiptoeing around the subject.

It has long been speculated that the series about a media mogul and his children fighting to inherit his empire was based on Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp and the Fox Corporation.

Armstrong has previously insisted that Succession’s Roy family are fictional and that “there are loads of succession stories to draw on” for inspiration.

However, speaking in front of an audience at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August, the writer said: “I wrote a script about Rupert Murdoch and his family – the real people, which was the predecessor.

“A distinct entity ended up as a sort of screenplay that started at Channel 4 as a sort of docu-drama and it evolved into a sort of screenplay.”

He said he originally stopped working on the script, adding that “many years later” he thought it was a “really great idea” and began working on what would eventually become Succession.

Underlined or crossed-out? (HBO)
Underlined or crossed-out? (HBO)

The final season of Succession has earned 27 Emmy nominations, including 14 acting nominations and one for Best Drama Series.

This year’s Emmys have been postponed to further notice due to the actors’ and writers’ strikes in Hollywood.

Succession only ended in May, but Armstrong is already musing on his next idea. In a new interview with The Observer, he said he wants to make a sitcom with his Peep Show writing partner Sam Bain. “I’d love to work with Sam again,” he said. “I think we both would. It was not an unhappy Beatles breakup and we have some things cooking.”