The final season of “Succession” is coming to a close and viewers are still reeling from Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) surprise death, though his funeral has since come and gone. The first episode of season four premiered on March 26, opening with another birthday party for the Roy family patriarch. But despite starting with a celebration of the Waystar Royco founder’s life, things all came crashing down in episode three, which aired on April 9, when the inevitable occurred.
In the few episodes leading up to the shocking moment, “Succession” viewers watched as the Emmy-winning HBO series set the stage for what would ultimately rock the Roy family to their cores. Unlike other parties for Logan (who could ever forget Kendall’s rap tribute to his dad?), almost all his kids were absent from his last birthday gathering. Connor (Alan Ruck) held down the fort while Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Shiv (Sarah Snook) plotted against their father’s business interests.
But with all that scheming going on, viewers couldn’t help but wonder about Logan’s mortality. The title of the show is “Succession,” after all; in a royal context, succession happens when the head honcho dies. And in season four, which takes place three months after the events of the season three finale, Logan was seemingly slower and unsteadier than he’s been in the past on account of his health problems.
As “Succession” prepares to bid us farewell, it’s only fitting that the show finally addressed what creator Jesse Armstrong said “was always going to” happen. So, how did Logan die in “Succession”‘s final season? Read ahead for a full breakdown and see what Cox had to say about his series exit.
How Does Logan Roy Die in “Succession” Season 4?
It all starts on Connor and Willa’s chaotic wedding day. Just moments before their boat departs with guests in tow, Kendall and Roman get a call from Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) telling the pair that their father has collapsed on a plane — which was en route to Sweden so Logan could finally close the Waystar Royco-GoJo deal with Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgard). According to Tom, Logan was found in bad condition in the bathroom. Flight personnel do chest compressions on him for several minutes to no avail, though Logan’s body isn’t clearly shown on screen.
Kendall and Roman fetch their sister, Shiv, to inform her of what’s happening. After much back-and-forth about Logan’s status, it’s eventually said that he’s dead. Before Logan’s offscreen death, Tom holds the phone to the patriarch’s ear so all the Roy siblings can say their final goodbyes. All except Connor, who doesn’t learn about their father’s death until after the fact.
Ahead of the episode, Cox avoided dropping any major clues about Logan’s fate. However, he told Varietyon March 18, “I felt nothing when I played the last scene [on ‘Succession’] . Nothing! It was the last scene,finito. Logan absolutely gets what he needs. That’s the great thing about the show. He gets peace, which is good,” seemingly hinting at his character’s eventual death.
Why Did Logan Roy Die?
Since the start of “Succession,” there’s never been a question of whether or not Logan would eventually die; only a matter of when. Season four’s third episode took viewers by surprise with the moment many didn’t anticipate would happen until the close of the series. More than that, all the confusion, grief, and sadness the Roy family and higher-up Waystar Royco employees experience happens in response to many of them not even witnessing Logan’s death.
In episode three’s behind-the-episode featurette on HBO, Armstrong explains that the monumental death was delivered that early in the season to both surprise audiences and give them time to unpack the loss. “We don’t just want to see people crying and then have a funeral and be done with the show,” he said. “We want to see how a death of someone significant rebounds around a family.”
During an episode HBO’s “Succession” podcast, which was released right after the show’s third episode, Armstrong and fellow executive producer Mark Mylod shared more details about how they crafted the big moment around Logan’s death. “He was always going to die,” said Armstrong, per The Hollywood Reporter. “It felt like that had to happen. That was always coded into it once we decided it was going to be the final season. Occasionally, when I was going crazy about what the end would be I would think, most tragedies end with the death at the end and we go back and look at that as a shape. But it really was this feeling of wanting to see how they would cope afterwards that was the prevailing one.”
In terms of why Logan’s death happens off screen, Mylod explained, “Big events don’t happen in a perfect way, do they? They happen sometimes in a hum-drum way. And this idea of taking away all the television clichés of the kind of perfect TV death I thought was really brilliant.”
As many “Succession” fans already know, Logan has had a few health problems throughout the series. The first season starts with his 80th birthday party. During the events of the day, he has a stroke. Logan then goes into a coma but survives. Though he seems to make a great recovery, he deals with some lingering issues in the episodes following.
There’s also the natural slowness and wear and tear that comes with his old age. That’s obvious in a season three episode when Logan and Kendall visit Josh Aaronson (Adrien Brody) at his compound. Josh takes them on a long walk, and though Logan says he can handle it, he physically can’t. He almost passes out, and Josh and Kendall have to stop to help him.
Perhaps Logan’s most famous illness was when, in a season three episode, he gets a UTI so bad that he goes “piss mad.” The UTI puts him in acute psychosis, but he’s fine once the infection is gone. It’s probably one of his less serious health issues, but it could’ve contributed to his sudden collapse and untimely death.
What Has Brian Cox Said About Logan Roy’s Death?
Per Cox’s May 24 interview with BBC News’ Amol Rajan, the “Succession” actor, like viewers, also seem puzzled at the idea of his character dying so soon into season four. “He [Armstrong] decided to make Logan die, I think ultimately too early,” he said. “I mean, he’d made him die in the third episode and it was a great scene. That’s why I didn’t watch it, because I have no interest in watching. My own death will come soon enough.”
Despite his comments, Cox said he did not try to convince Armstrong not to kill off his character in the first half of season four. “There’s no point going down that road, especially with somebody like Jesse, because he’s already made a plan,” he said.
Of his character’s offscreen death, Cox added, “It was an odd feeling. I looked on it, wrongly, as a form of rejection. I was fine with it ultimately, but I did feel a little bit rejected. I felt a little bit, ‘Oh, all the work I’ve done. And finally, I’m going to end up as a New Yorker on a carpet of a plane.'”
Will Kendall Roy Die in “Succession” Season 4?
Unlike his father, Kendall appeared to be in a fairly stable place mentally at the beginning of season four than he was in season three — where things got so bad, many fans thought he purposely tried to drown himself the night of Shiv’s wedding. Though the third season ends with the siblings being (once again) betrayed by their dad, Kendall finally tells Shiv and Roman about the man who died in Scotland after Shiv and Tom’s ceremony, which seems to lift a weight off his shoulders. However, he and his siblings very much grieve their father’s death throughout the remainder of season four. Even the nonchalant Roman broke down in tears trying to deliver his father’s eulogy at his funeral.
Will anyone else die in the 90-minute series finale of “Succession”? Viewers will just have to wait and see.
“Succession” airs its final episode on May 26.
— Additional reporting by Njera Perkins