‘Succession’ Creator Jesse Armstrong Settles Debate Over Whether Kendall Roy’s Name Was Underlined or Crossed Out

Succession creator Jesse Armstrong once and for all settled a major debate from its fourth and final season.

In the fourth episode of the Emmy-winning series, titled “Honeymoon States,” family and friends of the Roys gather in Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) home to mourn the death of the family patriarch. During the wake, Frank (Peter Friedman), who is the executor of Logan’s estate, finds a “rather worrying piece of paper” in a private safe.

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The typed document seemed to name Kendall (Jeremy Strong) as Logan’s successor to media empire Waystar Royco. But a line that started underneath Kendall’s name and moved up through it raised the question of whether Logan was noting him as the successor by underlining his name or crossing it out as if to say he didn’t want Kendall at the helm.

When the old guard — Frank, Karl (David Rasche) and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) — gather in a room to discuss what the paper means with Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Kendall, Roman points out that the document is old, and Kendall has “tried to put him in jail, like, 12 times since then.”

While the series never answered whether Kendall’s name was crossed out or underlined, Succession creator Jesse Armstrong just did.

During an appearance at a Financial Times event in London on Saturday, recorded by journalist Cassam Looch, Armstrong explained he would’ve hated to answer a question like this while the show was running, but now that it’s over, he doesn’t mind.

“If you were gonna cross out, you wouldn’t start underneath, would you?” he asked the crowd, before someone shouted, “Underlined!”

At another point in the conversation, the Emmy-winning writer recalled subtly preparing Matthew Macfadyen for the series outcome, which saw his character, Tom Wambsgans, take over as CEO after the media empire’s merger with GoJo.

“Occasionally, I would remind him to do a take where it was like, do remember — this was earlier on in the show — it could be you as well,” Armstrong shared, “just to make sure he had that thing about [how he’s] a suck-up who also had some steel that could be activated at a certain point.”

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