Succession Season 4 Will Include A 30 Minute Scene — All Shot In One Take

The camera work on "Succession" has always been a high point of the series. Since the very beginning of the show, the lens has been just as expressive as the dialogue. The camera is almost constantly in motion, from the slight wobble of the handheld framing to frequent zooms, pans, and tracking. This movement mirrors the frenetic energy of the writing and performances and brings the anxiety to an all-time high. The lens is so close to the human eye at times that it feels like the viewer is intruding on private conversations, a shameful act that puts the audience in the immoral shoes of the main characters. According to Jeremy Strong, who was a central part of the hardest scene to shoot in season 3, the final season of the series will culminate in an even more ambitious camera maneuver that rivals some of the longest takes in television history.

When series creator Jesse Armstrong announced that the smash hit HBO series "Succession" would be concluding after only four seasons, fans were sent into an absolute frenzy. How could the series possibly wrap up all of these loose ends and give all of these characters satisfying conclusions to their arcs? However the story ends, it's only right that the series' crowning moment of catharsis would be punctuated with unique and powerful cinematography. Jeremy Strong revealed some details behind the most complicated and lengthy shot of the season to Entertainment Weekly.

"I don't know how much we can talk about this, but there was a scene in one of the episodes that was like a 28-page scene or something that we shot over a few days. And eventually, we shot it all in one take, across multiple characters, multiple stories of a building. We shoot on film, so the camera loaders were tag-team reloading their cameras. One take, I think it was a 32-minute-long take.

The ambitious scene was a culmination of their hard work

Strong didn't reveal where exactly in "Succession" season 4 this 32-minute take lies, but it probably takes place towards the end of the season. Not only does it make sense on a narrative level to put an ambitious shot at a climactic moment in the story (i.e. the ending), but Strong also indicated that the scene was shot towards the end of filming. The actor credited the success of the impressive take to the cast and crew's collaboration over the past few seasons.

"You don't get to do that in movies or television in 2000 and whatever year it is right now," the actor beamed. "Like, it was an incredible, profound experience that we only could have earned and attained after these many years of working together as an ensemble — the level of trust and everybody just being on their absolute A-game together, like, in formation — it was very, very exciting."

The extended take may or may not be in the final episode, but the finale will certainly see the conclusion of lots of complicated character arcs, including Strong's character Kendall. Leaving the show and a life-changing role behind has been bittersweet for the actor, but he would have gladly abandoned it even sooner for the sake of the story.

"I've advocated before now that it should be done for Kendall," he revealed. "I've felt that his arc has been close to if not at the point of running its course. There's only so much catharsis and so much tragedy that a character can undergo before there's nowhere left for them to go. So I do feel a sense of completion in the best possible way."

Why the long take might end up in the penultimate episode

A conventional director would put the longest take in the final episode of the season, but "Succession" has always defied convention — that's part of what makes it so great. Storylines that have promised to be majorly explosive, like the infamous "boar on the floor" scene and Kendall's manslaughter, have faded away quietly without much of a struggle. These things could still come back to bite in a major way, but we may have seen the last of some of these major plot points. The final season might go out with a bang, then a whimper, like many of the other narrative arcs so far. By that logic, perhaps the 32-minute shot will be in the penultimate episode instead.

When asked if fans could expect things to be resolved neatly in the final season, Kieran Culkin scoffed. "It's our show, what do you think?" he challenged ETalk. "Nothing is on the nose, nothing ever gets tied up in a nice little bow. Because that never happens in life, does it?"

His co-star Alan Ruck had a similar answer. "Jesse Armstrong has a theory that people don't really change, and I think with the Roy family that's probably absolutely true," the actor explained. Crowe suggested that it's unlikely the world of the Roys will get turned upside down in the end — even if their circumstances change, their personalities and safety nets of wealth will maintain the status quo.

Whether this meandering half-hour-long shot is emotionally volatile and explosive or detached and meditative, this impressive camera movement promises to be a defining moment in what is already panning out to be an unforgettable season.