Ever since the beginning of Succession, when a deteriorating Logan Roy was due to choose a successor to his colossal media empire, the title of the show has been at the forefront: when Logan popped his clogs, who would slip into them while they were still warm? Now that we know we are 90 minutes away from the show ending forever, the question has never been more central. An American CEO may be poised to take over Lukas Matsson’s Waystar 2.0 – but who? Will it be Shiv? And what does Kendall’s last-ditch attempt to thwart Matsson’s takeover look like?
Appropriately, it is still a mystery as to which aces are being held up which sleeves. So who will ‘win’ when it all comes to an end? Here are some educated guesses.
Shiv: the dark horse
Used to being in third place behind Kendall and Roman, Logan’s only daughter may in fact have more fire and fight in her than anyone. Although Shiv ascending to the throne would be a turn-up for the books, it would feel like more of a victory for the fans: she would become the first female CEO of Waystar, her horrible stresses with Tom and the pregnancy would be surmountable, and her bullying brothers would have lost. There is, of course, the problem that her pregnancy – as Matsson hinted – might disqualify her in other people’s eyes. But Shiv won’t be easily swayed.
Roman: the man-child
Although he “fucked it” at his dad’s funeral, Roman is in a good position as Kendall’s number two. He comes without some of the baggage that makes people perceive Kendall as unpredictable and, after Ken, he is the obvious choice. As they all do, he sees himself as number one, and knows that Logan was having secret talks with him before he died. But is he too inexperienced? Was his funeral outburst the last straw for him? Who knows…
Connor: the black sheep
Not going to happen.
Tom: the snake
This has been a Tom-heavy season, both in the personal and the political, and it is not out of the question that Mr Wambsgans is so power-hungry that he could plough through all of his rivals to sit atop a mound of Roy skulls as Waystar’s king. He obviously cannot be trusted – even his apology to the mother of his child in the most recent episode cannot be taken at face value – and we know that Logan held him in high esteem as the man who put business before family. Although a Roy is always going to be more likely, only a fool would rule Tom out. Is he, in fact, more like Logan than anyone else?
Greg: the giraffe
Greg is comic relief in the same way as Connor but the difference is that from the very beginning Greg has actually been central to the show: he is the audience, in many ways, and we have been with him every step of the way as he came into the world of the Roys. We can’t forget, either, that Greg is totally amoral and every bit as ruthless as anyone else. Succession is a drama but it is also a comedy, and what funnier way for the show to end than with Greg at the top of the Christmas tree, grinning like an idiot?
Logan: the bear
If Logan’s death seemed a little too sudden, then perhaps he could have the last laugh beyond the grave. Perhaps, somehow, a hidden document or signature will in fact reveal that the old man intended not for any of his children to assume power after he died but for the business to be put into the hands of a long-lost relative or childhood friend. The details are sketchy here, sure, but Logan never loses, remember. He has been the engine of the show. He has been the king. Perhaps he will have been one step ahead of his moron children all along.
Kendall: the favourite
Although the main characters in the show are given Shakespearean depth and enough screen time for us to fully invest in each of them, really it’s always been about Kendall. As the eldest son (Connor doesn’t count, as we know), he always assumed the Waystar crown would pass onto his entitled head. Whichever way you shake it, anyone other than this fatally damaged, perennially unhappy man wouldn’t feel quite right – despite the fact that, you know, he did once try to burn his father to the ground and destroy everything he ever built. There is always the argument that Kendall is the most Logan-like of the lot, and that he is perhaps the coldest, most ruthless of all. His inheriting the crown (and inevitably finding that it didn’t give him the happiness he craves) would be the most poetic ending of all.