Shiv, Logan – or Cousin Greg? Who will come out on top in Succession?

As the hit drama’s final season approaches, it’s all-out war for the title of CEO at Waystar Royco – but who will claim the ultimate prize?

When Jesse Armstrong announced that the upcoming season of Succession would be the last, you probably felt a wave of palpable excitement and dread. Excitement because there will finally be a succession on Succession, and we’ll get to see which member (or members, or former members, or non-members) of the Roy family (or not) will gain control of Waystar Royco. But dread because, Christ, we’ve seen the pain these people can inflict on one another. Who knows what emotionally crippling depth-charge they’ll deploy now we’re in the endgame. As season four begins, here’s a ranking of the main cast, from least to most emotionally devastated.

Logan Roy

Last season, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) revealed the closest thing he has to an ideology. “Life … is a number on a piece of paper,” he told his son Kendall. “It’s a fight for a knife in the mud.” As season four begins, his hand is firmly on the handle, and the blade is dripping with blood. Thanks to some slippery navigation by Tom, it seems as if Logan might have definitively won Succession. He seized control of the company. He brutally dispatched his children. He is the lion in winter. The season four trailer sees him prowling and growling on the shop floor, seemingly unbeatable. Is this how the show will end? Almost definitely not. Quite honestly, it’ll be a miracle if he makes it out alive. But for now, the man is on top.

From left: Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy; Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch; Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy; Brian Cox as Logan Roy; Alan Ruck as Connor Roy; Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy; and Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgans.
From left: Sarah Snook as Shiv Roy; Nicholas Braun as Greg Hirsch; Kieran Culkin as Roman Roy; Brian Cox as Logan Roy; Alan Ruck as Connor Roy; Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy and Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Wambsgans. Photograph: HBO

Tom Wambsgans

While we’re talking about things that definitely won’t last, let’s enjoy this moment of Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) triumph while we can. In the dying breaths of season three, we learned that Tom had been tipping off Logan about his children’s planned mutiny. Now, Tom appears to hold all the cards. He’s in Logan’s inner circle now, and ostensibly the favourite to succeed him. All that plus, it seems as if he has actually built the courage to tell his wife how awful she is. As a proud member of Team Tom, I am thrilled about this – he has spent the entire series being kicked around like a tatty rag and deserves all the victories he can get – but come on now. This is Tom Wambsgans we’re talking about. The man is a walking catastrophe. If he isn’t stabbed to death by the Shiv by the end of the next episode, I’ll be staggered.

Greg Hirsch

The true Succession connoisseur knows that Greg (Nicholas Braun) is going to win. The show is going to end with him standing atop a pile of bodies, holding Logan’s severed leg in the air like He-Man’s Power Sword. But we’re not quite there yet, so Greg’s ascent is still hidden in the background. He’s currently a member of Team Tom, though in a deeply noncommittal way, which is risky. But let’s not worry about him too much. When the winds change, and they will, he’ll still find a backroad to success.

Keeping it straight … Is Gerri playing the long game?
Keeping it straight … Is Gerri playing the long game? Photograph: HBO

Gerri Kellman

For much of season three, it looked as if Gerri (J Smith-Cameron) – thanks to her weird romantic entanglement with Roman – was going to align herself with the siblings in an attempt to oust Logan from his beloved Waystar Royco. And yet, as the cards fell, she chose to follow the money and back the boss, rejecting Roman’s plea for help with a cold insistence that “it doesn’t serve my interests”. This would put her back in the hot seat to succeed Logan, but a Hail Mary profession of love from Roman could change everything.

Connor Roy

Now we have Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), the Chaotic Neutral of the Roy clan. He is, as he always was, peripheral. The siblings’ plan to dethrone Logan hinged on their mother. As a half-sibling, Connor was shut out of this; something that spares him the frantic clawing of the rest of his family, but doesn’t do his ego much good. Anything could happen this season – scandal, implosion, death – yet Connor will still be bimbling away, witlessly attempting to be the next president. Oh God, is he going to end up as president?

Willa Ferreyra

Almost exactly the same as above but, thanks to Willa’s (Justine Lupe) half-hearted proposal acceptance last season (“Fuck it, how bad could it be?”) she now also has to be married to Connor.

Roman Roy

Given the state of 2021’s finale, the main Roy siblings are at the bottom of this list. But Roman (Kieran Culkin) arguably finds himself in the best place. Yes, his father has shut him out of the family business. Yes, his mother washed her hands of him. Yes, Gerri betrayed him. But look back to season one. Look what a graceless, grasping chump he was. For better or worse, Roman is going into season four as a fully formed person. By far the most intriguing part of the trailer is Logan imploring Roman to come back to the Waystar fold. This will be the truest test of his mettle; season one Roman would have sucked up to daddy and followed the money. How this new and improved Roman will react is anyone’s guess.

Siobhan Roy

There’s a good chance Shiv (Sarah Snook) will explode this season. She starts out furious with her father, but arguably even more furious with her husband Tom for helping him out on the sly. She used the most violent language in the season three finale – literally telling her mother: “You just slit our throats” – and things seem likely to ramp up from there. She’s blinded by rage. That cannot end well, for anyone.

Kendall Roy

Who else could it be? The key scene from the most recent episode involved him sitting in the dust, broken beyond words. The episode before that, nobody knew if he was dead or alive. Kendall (Jeremy Strong) has always seemed too delicate for the aggression of the family business, and the paternal betrayal could send him down the dark road to oblivion. Or it could spur him on to beat his father once and for all. God, I can’t wait.


Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Every Succession episode – ranked!
Kendall ​crashing, ​Logan slapping, ​Shiv cheating, Roman ​perving, Greg Gregging ​and Tom eating chicken … we rate every episode of Succession and relive its most shocking moments

Stuart Heritage

30, May, 2023 @5:00 AM

Article image
Succession recap: season four, episode four – did Logan mean it … or cross it out?
A scribbled note reveals the deceased patriarch’s choice for heir – or does it? One ‘undated doodle’ may prove to be the Roys’ downfall

Michael Hogan

17, Apr, 2023 @9:10 PM

Article image
Succession review: smash hit reaches fabulous new heights of comedy – and cruelty
From the bloody machinations of Logan and Kendall to Cousin Greg’s buffoonery, the third series of the HBO drama continues to deliver the most thrilling and beautifully obscene TV there is

Rebecca Nicholson

18, Oct, 2021 @9:05 PM

Article image
Succession review – family saga shows lifestyles of the rich and the ruthless
The Big Short director Adam McKay and Peep Show creator Jesse Armstrong have joined forces for a blackly comic melodrama series with excellent performances

Jake Nevins

01, Jun, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
Succession finale review – a perfect, terrible goodbye
There was more agony by the moment as Jesse Armstrong’s epic ramped up to the most exquisitely humiliating ending imaginable. No one should have to cope with such pain

Lucy Mangan

29, May, 2023 @9:25 AM

Article image
Succession season four review – even diehard fans will be glad the end is nigh
TV’s most agonising, pulverising drama is back for its final season, and ‘the rats’ are having one last stab at patricide. Will any of us survive battle Roy-al?

Lucy Mangan

22, Mar, 2023 @7:01 AM

Article image
Succession creator Jesse Armstrong on its thunderous finale: ‘That might be as good as I’ve got’
Season three of the hit show has made even more headlines than usual. We ask its British creator if he’s had enough yet, if actor Jeremy Strong is doing OK – and if his character Kendall is actually Jesus (warning: contains spoilers)

Stuart Heritage

14, Dec, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
‘The twisted egos and mediocre minds are spot on’: boardroom survivors on how true Succession is
From the scheming super-brats to sweary CEOs, just how realistic is the world of the Roys? As the power-crazed family return for their final showdown, high-fliers reveal all

Michael Hogan

20, Mar, 2023 @12:40 PM

Article image
Succession: this glittering show will end on a high that we’ll be talking about in 30 years’ time
As the Roy family’s fleet of helicopters land for their final outing, there’s no point in resisting this sumptuous programme. There really is nothing else like this on TV

Joel Golby

27, Mar, 2023 @6:00 AM

Article image
Succession recap: season four, episode three – a gut-punch episode is one of the show’s finest
Gamechanging and heartbreaking in equal measure, this week’s instalment shakes up the status quo for the rest of the season

Michael Hogan

10, Apr, 2023 @9:15 PM