Brian Cox says the death of the Roy family patriarch during the final season of Succession came too soon.
The Emmy-nominated actor shared his view on the show’s choice to deliver Logan Roy’s long-awaited death during the third episode of season four of the hit HBO show while speaking to BBC News’ Amol Rajan ahead of Succession’s finale.
While Cox acquiesces that Logan’s death happened in “a pretty brilliant way,” he said he saw it “wrongly” as a form of rejection. He also suggested that it would have made more sense to do it later in the season, during either the fifth or sixth episode.
“I was fine with it ultimately, but I did feel a little bit rejected. You know, I felt a little bit, oh, all the work I’ve done and finally I’m going to, you know, end up as an ear on a carpet of a plane,” he told the BBC.
In an interview on the Succession podcast, series creator Jesse Armstrong said he chose an early episode to allow the show to explore the aftermath for the Roy family.
“He was always going to die. It felt like that had to happen,” Armstrong told host Kara Swisher. “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 afterward that was the prevailing one.”
While Armstrong is firm that Logan is dead, Cox suggests that his character’s death could have been a ruse, before clarifying that he was “just saying that could have been a supposition.”
“This could be part of an elaborate ruse to find out. Well, if you think about it, from Logan’s point of view, he has to find out, how are his children going to behave when he dies, what will then happen?” he said. “And the only way to do that is to fake his death and actually, at some distant point he’s observing the chaos that is following.”
At another point in the interview, Cox shares how he helped ensure the plot details around his character’s death didn’t leak before the series-changing episode aired.
He recalls filming his character’s funeral scenes over a year and a half ago and being told that he was no longer required to shoot additional false scenes, which were designed to avoid anyone suspecting it was Logan who had passed. Recognizing that paparazzi may be suspicious if he was not seen on set, Cox says he went “on [his] own volition” so that Logan would be seen alive, at what ended up being his own funeral.
To keep the spoiler from getting out, the scene was also labeled as a service for James Cromwell’s character, Ewan. Taking place during the show’s penultimate episode, the funeral episode was directed by Mark Mylod, who said having Cox on the set “was all good fun.”
“It felt oddly Shakespearean, having this ghost hanging around the church. Brian agreed to come along as part of the misdirect that it was Ewan’s funeral,” he continued. “We asked him to pull up at a very public time outside of the church, so that if there were paparazzi or people looking for those breadcrumbs, they would see him turning up as if he was coming for Ewan’s funeral. So he hung out with us in the church as well, very much as part of the smoke screen to keep the secret.”
Brian Cox Says Logan Roy’s ‘Succession’ Death Was “Ultimately Too Early” in Final Season