Succession Puts A Lot Of Careful Consideration Into The Characters' Phones

When it comes to shows that lodge themselves as firmly in the zeitgeist as "Succession" has, speculating about the most minute details of characters' lives starts to feel like a game. What are their star signs? Which New York deli do they send their assistants to most? What do we think the Roy siblings' favorite podcasts would be?

In most cases, this type of theorizing is delightful and entertaining, but completely extra-textual. While filmmakers often imagine tons of character details that don't make it onto screen, not all of them get weighed down in the details — or if they do, we don't always hear about it. In rare cases, though, the authors behind these major shows and movies deign to drop some intel that's relatively innocuous to most people, but extremely juicy for creative fandom folks. For instance: "Succession" director and executive producer Mark Mylod recently revealed (via Vanity Fair) that Tom Wambsgans definitely isn't "an iPhone kind of guy."

Tom's not an iPhone type

That's right: Tom Wambsgans, the weirdo in-law addition to the Roy family who's often looked down upon as a try-hard, new money Midwesterner, is more of a Samsung user. "Tom's phone: he's not an iPhone kind of guy, he's more of a PC, Samsung, Android kind of guy," Mylod explains in a scene breakdown from this season's pivotal wedding episode.

This declaration both is and isn't surprising for "Succession" fans who have been paying attention to Tom's every move. On the one hand, he's inherently more of an Everyman (albeit a bizarre one) than the rest of the characters, who have been richer than God since birth. iPhones are a major status symbol, while Androids and Samsungs don't seem to carry as much cultural cachet (note: I say this as a Samsung user). On the other hand, Tom seems to be obsessed with nailing the aesthetics of the uber-wealthy, and though he doesn't always get it right — in the show's pilot he gives Logan a Patek Philippe watch the man seems unimpressed by — I'm surprised he wouldn't have made the switch to iPhone for status' sake.

According to Mylod, the process of figuring out which character uses what type of phone is also shaped by the actors themselves. "We basically have a meeting at the beginning of each new season and talk about the personal props for each character, and phones always come into that, obviously," he tells Vanity Fair. He adds: "We actually leave that very much up to the actors as well: what they feel comfortable with, 'Oh, I'm an iPhone person or I'm a Samsung, whatever it may be.'" It's possible, then, that Macfayden made the final call on what type of phone Tom would end up with.

'A lovely lack of intimacy'

The "Succession" writers, actors, and prop-masters aren't just interested in the Android versus iPhone debate; they also incorporate small details related to characters' phones that tend to be telling when it comes to characterization. For example, in one scene in a previous season, a shot reveals that Roman's (Kieran Culkin) lock screen is a picture of him flipping off his sister Shiv (Sarah Snook). And in Logan's death scene, as Mylod points out, Shiv's own phone reveals her tendency towards coldness in a discreet way. "One thing I love in this scene is that she's been married to him I think in the story for at least a year, and he's still 'Tom Wambsgans.'" Mylod says, referring to the way Shiv has Tom saved according to his full name in her phone. He sums it up perfectly: "There's a lovely lack of intimacy to that, isn't there?"

"Succession" is set to come to a close in just a few short days, but the beauty of the show is that its super-committed cast and crew have added in enough details to its props and other elements that each rewatch reveals new treasures. Plus, once one gets into the habit of dissecting characters' tie choices and nicknames, it's not easy to stop. Long after "Succession" crowns its king, and long after Tom's phone inevitably craps out, our collective obsession with this series will live on.

"Succession" airs Sundays at 9pm ET on HBO and Max.