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Kendall Roy’s Journey to Freedom and the Rise of Cousin Greg

‘Succession’ star Jeremy Strong explains how his character is working towards liberation. Plus, there may be something special in Season 3 for Cousin Greg.
Succession Season 3
By  · Published on September 27th, 2021

Entering the Discourse is a thrice-weekly column where we dig into who is saying what about new releases and upcoming projects. Today, we look at what Jeremy Strong, Nicholas Braun, and Sanaa Lathan have to say about Succession Season 3.

In just a few short weeks, HBO’s Succession will finally be back, for Season 3. I don’t know about you, but I miss the toxic Roy clan, from the curmudgeonly and cruel patriarch, Logan (Brian Cox), to the awkward Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun). Yes, they’re all atrocious characters in their own way, but somehow we can’t help loving them anyway.

The third season of Succession sees a division in the family as Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) tries to take down his father. The past two seasons have been tumultuous, to say the least, for the eldest Roy child. He’s been grappling with divorce, addiction, and the smothering influence of a controlling and cruel parent.

But Season 2 ended with Kendall sticking up for himself and making a calculated move against Waystar to regain control. Trailers for Season 3 of Succession tease a power struggle that force the remaining siblings — Siobhan (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin), and Connor (Alan Ruck) — to take a side and declare their loyalty.

The Liberation of Kendall Roy in Succession Season 3

During a virtual panel for Succession Season 3 at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Jeremy Strong addressed his character’s growth and how it feels like a moment of liberation. As quoted by TVLine, the actor said:

“There’s a sort of phase transition of, like, moving from one state to another. I felt that, after the press conference, it was as if I’d sat under the Bodhi tree and achieved a moment of clarity, and what feels for Kendall like enlightenment and liberation. So I think we see a sort of airborne Kendall at the beginning of the season, someone who feels like he’s finally wrested himself free from the chains that have been binding him. There’s an airborne quality to it.”

Comparing Kendall to Napoleon

Jeremy Strong also added a piece of insight about Succession Season 3 that he received from series creator Jesse Armstrong. Looking at Kendall’s current standing both in the family and the world:

“[Armstrong] did say to me, ‘It was as if Napoleon was sitting in Moscow, and everyone has left the city.’ So it’s sort of a Pyrrhic victory, which I think is part of what we explore in Season 3. I’ve done the thing, but if I don’t have support in a coalition, what is the value of it?”

After watching Kendall struggle for two seasons, the time for his rebirth is now. He is not without guilt as his abuse of power and privilege do not go unnoticed. But after decades of frustration, and frankly rage, he’s ready to fight back against the head monster.

Cousin Greg is Moving Up in Succession Season 3

There’s even hope for sweet Cousin Greg who has bumbled his way through the show’s world of the wealthy elite through a strangely endearing relationship with Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), Siobhan’s husband. At the same TCA panel, Braun said:

“Everyone’s got a version of the same ambition to get up there, to at least slot up a bit. And so I think Greg makes some nice moves himself this [season].”

Alien vs. Predator: Royquiem

Sanaa Lathan, Adrien Brody, and Alexander Skarsgard join the cast of Succession in Season 3 as players in the Roy rebellion. Lathan plays lawyer Lisa Arthur, who is bent on taking down Logan. In an interview with Yahoo!, she joked that her role in Alien vs. Predator helped her prepare for such a role:

“Slaying that alien f—ing creature definitely gave me some skills to handle some of these characters.”

Brody plays Josh Aaronson, a billionaire activist investor who becomes a main player in the Waystar battle. Skarsgard plays Lukas Matsson, a successful tech founder and CEO. 

It’s been two years since the Season 2 finale of Succession, and new episodes can’t come soon enough. We await the fate of the Roy family with bated breath.

Succession Season 3 premieres on HBO Max on Sunday, October 17th.

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Mary Beth McAndrews thinks found footage is good and will fight you if you say otherwise. When she's not writing, she's searching for Mothman with her two cats. Follow her on Twitter @mbmcandrews. (She/Her)