Two years after season 2 ended in October 2019, Succession is finally back with its third season. Despite the delay, the Emmy-winning HBO drama picks up where things left off in the shocking finale as the series continues to follow the lives of the Roy family as its members viciously fight for control of Waystar RoyCo and stake claim in what they think is rightfully theirs. Speaking with ET’s Rachel Smith ahead of the premiere, the ensemble cast, including Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook and others, teased what’s in store for season 3, which is easily the best that creator and showrunner Jesse Strong has delivered yet.
“It’s exciting [to be back]” Snook said. “Like, we were waiting two years to start shooting it. So to have it coming out and seeing what we created… we are proud that we managed to do it in the midst of the pandemic.”
Despite winning seven Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series and two acting trophies for Strong and guest star Cherry Jones, Culkin said there was no added concern about coming back. “I don’t really pay attention to all that stuff,” he shared. “I don’t really feel that kind of pressure.”
“I think we all just feel very confident about this show. The writing is just rock solid. The characters are so fun. The cast is amazing,” J. Smith-Cameron added.
How Season 2 Ended and What to Expect From Season 3
If anyone is feeling the weight on his shoulders, it’s Kendall. “He feels a lot of pressure to make good on this move that he’s made in the final moment of the second season and to be victorious,” Strong said.
After it becomes clear that there’s no escaping blame for the cruise incidents at the end of season 2, the Roys spend their holiday yachting in the Mediterranean debating over who should be the company’s scapegoat. Logan (Cox) ultimately chooses Kendall (Strong), who always thought of himself as his father’s successor before learning that he was never going to choose his son as CEO. After returning to New York City with his cousin, Greg (Nicholas Braun), who is in possession of potentially incriminating documents, Kendall goes rogue and during a press conference blames Logan and holds him responsible for all the company’s misconduct and mishandling of subsequent legal settlements.
Not long after being ambushed, season 3 sees Logan in a perilous position as he scrambles to secure alliances, whether it’s familial, political or financial. Of course, he can’t just make any move, or too quickly. “He has to think about it, and that’s what he’s doing,” Cox said of the premiere as his character initially assesses the fallout of Kendall’s press conference.
But as tensions rise among the ranks, especially amid the threat of legal repercussions and losing power of WayStar, that just means more infighting and positioning for the remaining Roy siblings, Connor (Alan Ruck), Shiv (Snook) and Roman (Culkin), as well as Long’s top team members, Shiv’s husband, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), COO Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman), general counsel Gerri Kellman (Smith-Cameron) and communications executive Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens).
Where each of them fall, with Logan or with Kendall, is to be determined, especially as the two engage in a public civil war. When it comes to Shiv, who was close to gaining control over Waystar before Logan shut down a merger with PGM, “she’s got to decide which side she wants to be on,” Snook said, teasing that instead of “Team Kendall or Team Logan, Shiv would rather be Team Shiv.”
Meanwhile, “Tom is worrying about where Greg is and he is also still reeling from the conversation he and his wife had on the beach,” Macfadyen said, referring to Tom and Shiv getting brutally honest about the state of their marriage. “So, the show picks up immediately after where season 2 left off, and I am still trying to work out what is happening. Everyone is in crisis mode a little bit.”
As for Connor, the often overlooked eldest son whose political ambitions were squashed by Logan, Ruck said, “He’s on the outside knocking on the glass just saying, ‘Let me in. Somebody, let me in.’”
If there’s one person who has the toughest decision to make it is Greg, who is still in New York with Kendall after the press conference, but is still employed by WayStar. “I think that’s Greg’s debacle this season, like, which side does he play? He’s actually got three sides to play. He’s got the Kendall side, he’s got the Logan side, and he’s got his grandfather’s side,” Braun said, referring to Logan’s older brother, Ewan (James Cromwell), who despises the company.
“So, I think that’s the big question for him: ‘Who do I settle with?’ And I think he makes a lot of wrong decisions in there somewhere,” Braun added.
Perhaps the most assured as one can be about what’s happening, it’s Kendall. “He is airborne now,” Strong teased, adding that he’s ready for what comes next. “It’s, like, ‘Here it comes!’”
Returning Faces and A-List Guest Stars
Speaking of Cromwell, he’s one of many returning faces that were first introduced in seasons 1 or 2. In keeping with his character, Cromwell said the Roys “are all reprehensible.” As Ewan, he believes they should “take responsibility for what they’re creating all around them.”
Justine Lupe, who plays his disinterested girlfriend, Willa Ferreyra, added that she’s “hanging with old Connor” as everything goes down in season 3. “Willa’s running a play that has flopped but she’s still moving along,” Lupe said of the play Sands.
One of the few remaining allies of Kendall’s, Arian Moayed returns as board member Stewy Hosseini. “They got a little bit of mischievousness left in them,” the actor teased, noting that “Stewy always has a soft spot for Kendall.” Stewy’s biggest contribution this season “is gonna be introducing a power player” to Kendall. “That’s what he’s bringing to the table,” he said.
Additionally, season 3 also sees Dagmara Dominczyk back as head of PR Karolina Novotney, who is left scrambling after organizing Kendall’s press conference, David Rasche as CFO Karl Mulle, Jeannie Berlin as Cyd Peach as well as Harriet Walter as Logan’s ex-wife, Lady Caroline Collingwood, Hiam Abbass as Marcia Roy, his third wife, and Zoë Winters as his current assistant.
Meanwhile, Juliana Canfield is back as Kendall’s assistant Jess Jordan, Natalie Gold as his estranged wife, Rava Roy, and Annabelle Dexter-Jones as his current girlfriend Naomi Pierce.
This season, there’s no shortage of amazing guest stars. Alexander Skarsgård will appear as the successful, confrontational tech founder and CEO Lukas Matsson, while Adrien Brody, in a rare TV appearance, will play Josh Aaronson, a billionaire activist investor who becomes pivotal in the battle for the ownership of Waystar.
“We rumble a bit,” Cox teased of Logan’s interaction with the two. When it comes to Brody, Strong said he’s one of the greats. “He’s a wonderful guy, brilliant actor and I loved working with him,” he shared, while adding that “some amazing people” have joined season 3.
Sanaa Lathan joins as a high-powered New York attorney named Lisa Arthur and Hope Davis will play Sandi Furness, daughter to Roy’s longtime rival and owner of another media conglomerate, Sandy Furness (Larry Pine).
While she couldn’t share anything specific about her role (“They’ve been very explicit, so y’all are going to have to wait”), Lathan admitted she quickly became a fan of the series after being offered the role. “I wound up bingeing both seasons and I was blown away by the writing and the acting,” she said. “It’s just, you know, pure entertainment.”
Snook, meanwhile, revealed the two have a scene together. “What I love about it is they allude to a friendship before,” she shared, adding that “it’s so much fun to be able to create a history. So, we had a lot of fun imagining what these two people might’ve been getting up to when they’re going through college. Like, who they were back in the day, you know?”
Additionally, Stephen Root, Justin Kirk and others will pop up in various roles throughout the season while Ziwe makes a hilarious meta appearance as a late-night talk show host and comedian.
And other new faces include Linda Emond as senior White House aide Michelle-Anne Vanderhoven, Jihae Kim as PR consultant Berry Schneider and Dasha Nekrasova as Berry’s co-worker, Comfry.
And while Culkin is “game” to have his famous siblings on the series, don’t expect Macaulay or Rory to pop up in season 3. “That would be cool, wouldn’t it?” he said of the idea.
Succession season 3 premieres Sunday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. Want to watch more? Catch up on seasons 1 and 2, which are now streaming on HBO Max. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)