Season 3 of Succession, HBO’s award-winning family drama, is officially on the way – but as with most new series on the horizon, the Covid-19 pandemic put a pin in our hopes for its imminent return to our screens.
One of the most addictive shows around, Jesse Armstrong's series follows the clashes, twisted affections and downfalls of the rich and influential Roy family, and is loosely inspired by the main players in the Murdoch media empire.
An exceptional second season followed a promising first outing to put the unpredictable drama – which, at times, treads the line of a comedy – on the pop culture map, and we’re eager to see where Succession takes us next.
Succession season 3 was made official all the way back in 2019, and with filming well underway, we've now got a better idea of its cast, plot and arrival time. We've even got a teaser trailer, too.
Below, we’ll take you through Succession season 3's expected release date, story, cast and everything else you need to know.
Naturally, spoilers for the first two seasons follow, so proceed with caution.
The latest reports confirm filming for Succession season 3 is underway, with a release date also confirmed for the last quarter of 2021. We've finally got our first teaser trailer, too, which you'll find below.
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Succession season 3 release date
While we don't know the precise Succession season 3 release date yet, we have a ballpark figure – the last few months of 2021.
Both the previous seasons landed in the summers of 2018 and 2019, and considering that season 3 was commissioned by HBO only two episodes into season 2, a summer 2020 launch made sense – before the arrival of Covid-19, that is.
Amid the pandemic-induced chaos, WarnerMedia Entertainment shut down production on all its series, including Succession and Barry, which ruled out season 3’s expected 2020 release date. Writing for the new season did continue, though, and cast members have since hinted at a 2021 return following confirmation that filming got back underway in February.
Most recently, in a May interview with British GQ, Nicholas Braun (who plays Cousin Greg) revealed he is "currently spending most of his days filming" – so we know the wheels are moving when it comes to the show's production.
Helpfully, Succession fans have taken to Twitter (see the thread below from user @waystarceo), to outline any updates to filming of the latest season.
I've been seeing the same questions about it, so here's a brief timeline of Succession season 3 filming (some mild spoilers ahead)May 8, 2021
Given that Succession was included on HBO Max’s 2021 release slate, too, we anticipate seeing Brian Cox (Logan Roy) swear his way through a series of swanky new locations by the end of the year.
Speaking to Deadline, HBO chief content officer Casey Bloys said that in a “normal world” he would hope for Succession season 3 to premiere in the fourth quarter of 2021. “But that would be [dependent on whether we] get hit with any Covid delays,” he added, “so it’s hard to predict right now.”
Bloys has since re-affirmed those hopes, claiming that Succession is scheduled to arrive some time during the last few months of this year (that's Fall, for our American readers).
Succession season 3 cast: which Roys are returning?
Luckily, we do know which cast members will be returning – and who’ll be joining them – for Succession season 3.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, most of the show’s actors successfully nabbed a pay bump to $300K-350K per episode before filming began, which gives us a good idea of who’ll be reprising their roles in the new season. Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck are among those who negotiated a pay rise, so expect all the Roy family mainstays to make a return for the new episodes.
Matthew Macfayden and Nicholas Braun are also mentioned in the article, so we anticipate seeing Tom Wambsgans and Cousin Greg again, too (with the latter confirming his involvement in an aforementioned GQ interview).
As for new names joining the show, it’s been confirmed that Oscar winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel) will play Josh Aaronson, a billionaire activist investor who becomes pivotal in the battle for the ownership of Waystar.
Big Little Lies' Alexander Skarsgård will also make his Succession debut, with sources describing his character as “a successful, confrontational tech founder and CEO.”
Emmy-nominated actor Hope Davis has signed on for a multi-episode arc, too, playing Sandy Furness, daughter of Sandi Furness (yes, that’s not a typo) – Logan Roy’s long-time rival.
In other words, expect plenty more dialogue-duelling conversations and boardroom bust-ups.
Succession season 3 story: it's likely about Logan vs Kendall (again)
According to HBO, season 3 of Succession will, again, find Kendall and Logan going head-to-head in a Shakespearian battle. "Ambushed by his rebellious son Kendall at the end of Season 2, Logan Roy begins Season 3 in a perilous position," an official statement reads. "Scrambling to secure familial, political, and financial alliances, tensions rise as a bitter corporate battle threatens to turn into a family civil war."
We still haven't fully recovered from the twist that concluded season 2, to be honest. As Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) was due to take the fall for the sexual harassment allegations and subsequent cover up attempt plaguing Waystar Royco, he ignored his prepared press statement and blamed his father, Logan. He refused to be the 'blood-sacrifice' for the firm and finally stood up for himself, and fans have been debating what that could mean for Succession season 3.
In the first teaser trailer for season 3, that trouble relationship shows no sign of improving. Check it out below.
The narrative twists and turns make Succession almost impossible to predict. How will Logan react to his son's betrayal? Will he be able to maintain his grip on the firm? His final, inscrutable smirk seemed to suggest a kind of pained pride – he seemed impressed by his son's bravery despite being humiliated on national television.
We know, however, that Logan has proof of Kendall's involvement in the accidental death of a waiter in season 1's trip to the UK, so it's likely that dark secret will eventually see the light of day.
Kieran Culkin's Roman Roy could be vital in this new run of episodes, too. A popular Succession theory maintains that each series focuses on one particular member of the Roy family: season 1 was Kendall, Shiv was season 2. Could Roman be the focal point of Succession season 3? Culkin light-heartedly claimed it as "my theory" in a chat with Entertainment Weekly.
Even the main cast can have little idea of where the plot is going. Take the unlikely 'thing' going on between Roman and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), for instance. "I'm not sure where the writers land on that question," Smith-Cameron told Entertainment Weekly. "I think they were kind of floating this idea, but it’s the nature of television writing, and definitely our show, that there is a sort of fluid feeling of sticking your toe in the water of a certain storyline, and then deciding as you go along."
Could future series transcend American borders? While scriptwriter Lucy Prebble told Deadline back in 2019 that the writing team don't "want it to be too on the nose about what is happening now in the world," there are "talks about going more international than we’ve gone before, which is to do with the relationship between the media industry and international countries."
Perhaps the question of who truly holds power will go beyond just the Roy inner circle in Succession's future. That said, since this interview was conducted pre-pandemic, it's possible that plans around the show have subsequently changed, at least in terms of where the action in new episodes will take place.
Speaking of which: how will the pandemic play into Succession season 3?
Sarah Snook, who plays Shiv on the series, told Variety that if Jesse Armstrong (the show’s creator) chose to include the pandemic as part of season 3’s storyline, “he wants to be delicate about it and classy.”
“I think it’s a thing that everybody’s aware of, and audiences are really intuitive these days,” she said. “Even just seeing a mask in the background of something or hand sanitiser, those things that have become part of our daily lives, those things maybe, but nothing that is so overt that is going to really tackle it head on, because that’s not the show.”
Nicholas Braun was equally cryptic about the pandemic's role in the new season. In his chat with GQ, he suggested that whether or not the show addresses Covid, it will "stand out from the previous series, if only aesthetically." He also confirmed that the cast and crew have been grounded in New York, meaning that gallivanting to yachts in Europe or estates in Scotland is not an option.
It doesn’t seem like the pandemic will play a major role in Succession’s main plot, then, but it might be used to explain some less-than-cosy board meetings and socially-distanced gatherings, at least. It's fairly clear we shouldn't expect much globe-trotting, either.
Still, we have seen reports suggesting filming for certain episodes is taking place in Italy (which is corroborated by what we see briefly in the above teaser trailer, too). The show's costumer, Midge Denton, recently shared images which hint at a European setting for the season finale – so maybe there will be some travelling, after all.
June 6, 2021: Succession is filming in Italy! pic.twitter.com/NaCZS0P9T3June 7, 2021
Can Succession capitalize on the success of season 2?
Succession's premise shouldn't be as enticing as it is: who cares about the problems of rich people as they scheme to get even richer? It shouldn't work, but Jesse Armstrong's unpredictable HBO knockout got its claws in us early and left us desperate for more.
After that season 2 finale, there are plenty of threads to be tied up, and if the improvement between seasons is anything like as noticeable as last time, we're in for a real treat.
We've also got an indication of when Succession will end, too. According to the show's executive producer, Georgia Pritchett, Succession is unlikely to go beyond five seasons. “I think the maximum would be five seasons, but possibly more like four,” she told the Times, "at this point [Armstrong] is saying only one more.”
Before that, though, we'll update this page each time we learn more details about the plot, cast and release date of Succession season 3.
Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait too long for it to arrive.