'Succession' Season 4 is upon us. Who will end up at the helm of Waystar Royco?

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Which of Logan Roy’s four children will win his approval and take over the family’s vast media conglomerate, Waystar Royco? It’s the question that has animated “Succession” since it debuted on HBO in 2018, and one that remains unanswered as the Emmy-winning drama series begins its fourth and — alas — final season Sunday night.

In Season 3’s gripping finale, “All the Bells Say,” the balance of power in the Roy family was upended in spectacular fashion. Just as Kendall, Shiv and Roman put their squabbling aside in a surprisingly touching moment of accord and teamed up to stop Logan from selling the company to GoJo, they were betrayed by their chronically self-interested mother, Caroline, and Shiv’s long-suffering husband, Tom. As Season 4 begins, the youngest three Roys are on the outs with their domineering father and face an uphill battle in reclaiming the family business. Meanwhile, the eldest child, Connor, is busy flushing money down the toilet in a long-shot bid for the presidency.

Though it has helicopters instead of dragons, “Succession” is, much like “Game of Thrones” before it, a drama about dysfunctional people willing to betray their own flesh and blood in order to accrue power. And part of the fun of watching is concocting elaborate theories about who will take over the Waystar Iron Throne and why, thematically, they make the most sense.

Will Shiv, a.k.a. Pinkie, overcome Tom’s betrayal and win the throne? Will it be Greg the Egg? Or perhaps Connor, the so-called “first pancake”; Tom, the cornfed basic from Hockeytown; or Roman, Slime Puppy extraordinaire? It’s anyone’s guess. Here, five Times staffers evaluate and predict who will succeed Logan and how they’ll maneuver their way to the top.

Whatever you do, please do not consider any of this as investment advice.

Connor Roy

The eldest Roy. The half-brother. The underdog. Connor Roy (Alan Ruck) was interested in politics from a very young age, and now he’s ready to run his father’s company. Not only could Connor be a front-runner to take over Waystar, but with his impending nuptials to underrated power-player Willa, he’s also a front-runner for most toxic relationship, which seems to be a Roy hallmark. While Kendall is busy trying to get acquitted for murder, Shiv is preparing to murder Tom, and Roman is doing … whatever Roman does, Connor has the perfect opportunity to swoop in as Logan’s next right hand. Is my answer biased because I’m a Day One, die-hard Conhead? Yes. But is Connor also uniquely positioned as a semi-outsider to be a last-minute Waystar CEO contender? Yes, or, maybe. Whatever, I’m ready for the Connaissance. —Amy Wong, audience engagement editor, food

Gerri Kellman

I have unwavering faith in Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron). She's the craftiest operator within the Waystar Royco ranks and has survived attempts by others to have her ousted. She's been tested more than any of the Roy siblings and prevailed by allying herself with the strongest person in the room. Her biggest challenge this season will be to find that person, but once she does, her politically savvy business acumen will pull her across the finish line at the top of the Roy family business. —David Viramontes, audience engagement editor, entertainment

Kendall Roy

As someone who essentially has had Kendall Roy’s addictive, cringe-worthy and iconic “L to the OG” rap playing on loop in my head since the fall of 2019, I remain convinced that his rap talents foreshadow the gumption needed to come out on top. He didn’t rap like that not to win! More seriously, he’s been the heir apparent all along and has been groomed to take the reins of Waystar — plus, he’s the only heir with “Logan” as a middle name, as Jeremy Strong, who brilliantly portrays Kendall, confirmed recently. His actions throughout the series show how desperately he craves it. And while conniving and ruthless Logan has decades on him when it comes to outmaneuvering those who stand in his way, Kendall is his father’s son. But Logan isn’t a nurturing father, and he’s going to make Kendall earn the throne. Was this Logan’s biggest test of all, after Kendall was willing to cash out? What if this GoJo deal was all a ruse by Logan to get Kendall back in a battle mindset and exhibit the sort of tenacious and scheming qualities that made him a formidable business titan? Or, who knows? Since Strong is so completely connected to his alter ego, he might go full method and emerge as the successor himself. I’d rap to that too. —Yvonne Villarreal, senior writer

Siobhan 'Shiv' Roy

Shiv (Sarah Snook) may have one of the shorter résumés when it comes to running a conglomerate like Waystar, but she pulls no punches and suffers no fools. Her background as a political operative is to her benefit — knowing how to bend laws and politicians to your will is part of the role. Plus, she’s been underestimated for so long that she won’t go down without a fight. She will have to get the company’s board behind her, which means she will have to put her ego aside. But if the deal with GoJo goes down and she can convince everyone that her brothers aren’t competent enough to run the company (and come on, she has plenty of examples to point to), the world is her oyster. I’m rooting for her. —Maira Garcia, television editor

Tom Wambsgans

It’s hard to imagine how Shiv and Tom’s marriage — already one of the most toxic relationships on all of HBO, which is saying something — can move forward after last season’s betrayal. I fully expect that Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), freed from his burdensome loyalty to Shiv, will focus on ingratiating himself even further to Logan. “Succession” is brutally realistic about political and financial power and how it is accumulated. As a shameless suck-up with a remarkable ability to fail upward, Tom is on track to conquer the world. Sure, he might be an unctuous, embarrassing buffoon, but hey, have you seen who’s in the Senate lately? As for the specifics of how Tom pulls off this coup, I have no idea: I know less about business than he does. But I’m willing to bet that Tom will be the last cockroach scurrying around after the apocalypse. —Meredith Blake, senior writer

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.