Succession Will Officially End With Season 4

As Damon Lindelof once wrote, "A king has his reign, then he dies. It's inevitable." That's been the driving ethos of HBO's black dramedy "Succession," a modern-day "King Lear" about Murdoch-style media baron Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his children vying to take his soon-to-be vacant throne. The series has become one of HBO's most acclaimed shows, both for its humor and insightful social critiques — it's hard to go to any corner of the internet without coming across "Succession" memes. But again, no king reigns forever.

In an interview with the New Yorker, series creator Jesse Armstrong has confirmed that the upcoming fourth season of "Succession" will be the last. Cox himself has previously said he thought "Succession" would be wrapping up within one to two seasons. Cox also warned, "It depends what the writers feel. I know they've got an endgame. They haven't told us what the ending is, but there is an endgame. So it's just how they get up to that endgame, whether it takes one series or two series." Since Armstrong has decided his endgame was within the reach of only one season, one more season is what we're getting.

Why end it here?

If a TV show is successful, the usual instinct is to keep it going as long as possible. It's like the old parable of the golden goose. That's why this news comes as a shock. In his discussion with the New Yorker, Armstrong explained why he chose to give "Succession" what some will doubtlessly call a premature ending.

Armstrong believes the very title of "Succession" holds the "promise" of an ending. He said, "I've never thought this could go on forever. The end has always been kind of present in my mind. From season 2, I've been trying to think: Is it the next one, or the one after that, or is it the one after that?"

As Armstrong recalled, he told his writers' room before they started season 4 that he thought it was time to wrap up, then put the question on the floor:

"We played out various scenarios: We could do a couple of short seasons or two more seasons. Or we could go on for ages and turn the show into something rather different, and be a more rangy, freewheeling kind of fun show, where there would be good weeks and bad weeks. Or we could do something a bit more muscular and complete, and go out sort of strong [...] and the decision to end solidified through the writing and even when we started filming."

Next question — why did Armstrong drop this bombshell now? He admits he considered not revealing it until after season 4 finished airing, but he ultimately felt, "a responsibility to the viewership," because, "we don't hide the ball very much on the show." Plus, he wanted to save his cast and crew the awkwardness of keeping a secret during interviews.

"Succession" season 4 debuts on March 26 on HBO.