The Best Succession Series Finale Fan Theories

Logan Roy has finally been laid to rest in his discounted mausoleum, but with only one episode to go of the entire series, Succession still has quite a few loose ends to wrap up. The question of who will succeed Logan as the CEO of Waystar remains as all-important as it was in episode one, with an even greater number of possible candidates for the job. And then there are the alliances and the relationships to consider. Has Roman already lost Mencken’s support? Is Shiv backing the wrong horse with Mattson? Is Hugo really the droid Kendall is looking for? And, most important, will the Roy siblings ever find common ground?

Succession scholars on the internet—sometimes referred to as “fans”—have a few theories about how all of this is going to conclude. Some are predicting a Shakespearean end in which nobody wins. There’s an ongoing debate between those who see a surprise coup from Cousin Greg on the horizon and those who think the Greg backers are “not serious people.” And whatever happens with Shiv and Tom’s marriage, the consensus seems to be that it will not be a healthy arrangement.

Here are the top theories about the series finale of Succession, which premieres Sunday, May 28, on HBO Max.

Kendall Becomes the sole CEO.

Succession began with Kendall as the heir apparent of Waystar, only for him to spiral when Logan lost faith in him. Four seasons later, there’s a ton of evidence that Kendall is finally on the brink of becoming the true successor to his father in every sense of the word. But even if Kendall does become the sole CEO of Waystar, that doesn’t mean his ending is necessarily a happy one.

“Kendall stepping up to clean up Roman’s mess further lets Kendall stamp his authority, in public fashion, that he is the successor,” writes one Redditor. “He’s even starting to act nastier and was a bit cruel in the end to Roman the same way Logan would be. Ken is more assertive and is quick with gathering his army for the final episode.” Another Reddit user points to more specific parallels between Ken and Logan: “They're heavily hinting that Ken is going to become the sole CEO. The parallels between Logan saying, ‘Everything I've done I've done for my children,’ and the opening scene to E7 where Kendall claims everything he’s doing is for his own kids, is too deliberate to be a coincidence. Being the last season, SOMEONE has to succeed Logan.”

Redditor KrispyKingTheProphet agrees, citing as evidence “the fact that he’s actually doing well in this standoff with Mattson, the fact that Mattson has a massive weakness that Ken knows and can exploit. I think he’ll actually eat GoJo instead of vice versa and end up on top. In doing so, he’s going to alienate his family and it won’t be a triumphant thing, but a very bittersweet ending for him.” And user Mundurammadan points to clues in the finale trailer as well as King Lear. “Matsson screams angrily in the final preview trailer, Kendall refers to himself as the king, and Shiv walks with a sense of being fucked over,” they write. “Kendall is going to win. But I have a strong sense that someone important is going to die. But since the show is partly inspired from King Lear which does not pose a clear answer to who the king is after Lear’s death and the choice is between his godson and son-in-law, the choices are between Kendall or Tom.”

The Greg theory

Greg theory believers just want you to hear them out. Naysay all you want, but there is at least one plausible path for Greg to pull off the upset of the century. It relies on Mattson betraying Shiv at the last minute and giving the US CEO job to Greg—with whom he’s lately developed a surprising friend(ish)ship.

Observed one person on Twitter, “This week on #Succession, Mattson said he can make ‘a US CEO work,’ not he can make Shiv the US CEO. My Greg theory is massively in play for the series finale.” Reddit user AgitatedBadger had the same thought, commenting, “I distinctly got the feeling that Mattson was referring to someone other than Shiv when he used those exact words at the end of the episode. The way he said it just sounded so duplicitous.” Also on Twitter, one fan wrote that Mattson could put Greg in charge “as a troll move.”


Selling your soul won’t save you from your dad’s misogyny in the end.

Shiv releases the receipts.

Sure, Shiv’s attempts to outmaneuver her brothers have always led to her own downfall in the past, but there’s no reason this time couldn’t be different! For one thing, she has oodles of dirt on all the other key players that she could conceivably use to her advantage.

“Shiv is in a very favorable position to be CEO,” argues Redditor plo2020. “She has all the inside knowledge about her brothers. She knows about Kendall’s murder and Roman’s behavior with Gerri. She also has all the dirt on Lucas and the best connection with Pierce. But what really will show everyone that she is ruthless and willing to take the role is her decision concerning the upcoming elections.” Plo2020 goes further, predicting that Shiv will pin ATN’s support of Mencken entirely on Tom. On Twitter, a user named Heather Joelle Boneparth lays out a similar path to victory for Shiv: “The President-elect-ish will proceed with her GoJo pact. She and Maatson will use the GoJo networks to leak Kendall killing the waiter and covering it up. Even as a whisper, a rumor, it will be enough to start an investigation and do him in.”

Tom wins by bringing down Shiv.

<cite class="credit">Graeme Hunter</cite>
Graeme Hunter

Oh, Tom Wambsgans. Tom has been a dark horse favorite from the start. He certainly has the requisite “killer instinct” for the job, and he’s proved he’ll stop at nothing to gain ultimate power. He’s already turned on Shiv in exchange for a top job at Waystar before, so there’s no reason to doubt he’d do it again.

Redditor Icy_Ruin3512’s take: “The show ends with the ascendance of a non-family member. Tom will have to choose between CEO and Shiv and his baby and will choose power. She’s betrayed him one too many times.” And user macadamia455 thinks the show has already foreshadowed Tom’s win, writing, “Matsson tells Kendall that he can't respect anybody who sleeps well, and Tom has had a repeated mention of his inability to sleep for the past couple of fact, Tom would have the ‘experience’ that Shiv doesn't, plus the fact that what is repeatedly agreed to is an American CEO, and not Shiv as CEO.”

On Twitter, one fan lays out an entire coup plot they argue will be orchestrated by Tom and Naomi together. “While they’re all gone on the island trying to hash out the family drama, a coup is going to happen and it’s going to be led by Naomi and Tom and it’s going to involve family secrets coming to light as leverage.”

Shiv and Tom get back together.

<h1 class="title">Succession</h1><cite class="credit">David M. Russell</cite>


David M. Russell

There are on-and-off relationships, and then there are these two.

“Shiv and Tom end up together but miserable too,” predicts Emma Vigeland on Twitter. Reddit user Tanksgivingmiracle thinks Tom’s becoming CEO will finally make Shiv love him: “If Tom is named CEO (because he is totally controllable by Mencken of course), that would make her reevaluate Tom, and maybe actually want him.”

Roman loses big time.

Especially after his breakdown at the end of episode nine, fan predictions for Roman include some very dark possibilities. Rome has clearly been driven to his lowest point, which some fans worry could end in his death or even suicide.

Redditor Doldry says, “The guy is absolutely torn to pieces over his father's death. He's (understandably) losing his shit emotionally, and acting erratically. We've seen shots emphasizing pill bottles.” User fannnni writes, “I mean his suicidal involvement with the protest, is he gonna make it out alive? The promo for the next episode was very cryptic and his dying would leave Shiv and Kendall fighting from the two sides which makes a lot of sense.” And Redditor  mundurammadan thinks, “My prediction is Kendall rising to the top, with a possibility of Roman dying ’cause the man clearly has a self-harming abuse streak and with Kendall saying that he fucked up and his most vulnerable moment, a death in the family can be imminent.”

Everybody loses.

<cite class="credit">Graeme Hunter</cite>
Graeme Hunter

By far the most common prediction on the internet is that the series concludes with the ultimate destruction of the entire Roy legacy, if not the company as a whole. The best-case scenario might see the entire Waystar corporation divided between the siblings, or perhaps Mattson seizes control through the GoJo deal and cuts the entire Roy family out. But whatever happens to Waystar, most people don’t see a way back for the Roy siblings to mend their fractured relationships.

“There will likely be ‘an American CEO’ selected in the series finale (probably a more toothless position than many people realize),” writes one Redditor. “But I'm wondering if, like the Sopranos, it even matters all that much anymore. I'm just speculating like everybody else watching, but I increasingly think the ‘Succession’ of the show's title might not actually be about who takes over from the family. It might be more about what succeeds the world Logan built.” Reddit user timthemartian makes a similar comment: “As we approach the final episode I think one major piece of brilliance is that I no longer care who ends up as the successor, the siblings have destroyed relationships, lives, and sold their souls and for what? Regardless of who ends up as CEO or even with a role within the company, they will still be filthy-rich, broken people.”

Other commenters think that Ewan’s eulogy at Logan’s funeral pointed to just such an outcome. “Ewan's eulogy gave us the final way that all three of them will become Logan, and the way all three of them will fulfill the cycle of generational trauma further wrecked by capitalism,” user ohlaughin-orse writes. “Each of them will betray one another in an unforgivable way, and they will lose their bond forever. If any one of them ends up with the CEO position, it will be at the cost of their family. The other two will go their separate ways.”

The Succession series finale premieres on May 28 on HBO Max.

Kathleen Walsh is a contributing writer at Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter @kath_walsh.

Originally Appeared on Glamour