Does Kendall Roy Die at the End of Succession?

HBO’s ‘Succession‘ follows the Roy siblings and their internal conflicts amidst the race to succeed their father, Logan Roy, and take over his business empire, Waystar RoyCo. In this race, Kendall Roy often finds himself as a front-runner only to see his chances scuppered by last-minute betrayals and sometimes his own incompetence. As the fourth season concludes the story of the Roy siblings, viewers must be curious to learn about what happens to Kendall Roy, especially when an ominous scene seemingly hints at his death. SPOILERS AHEAD!

What Happens to Kendall at the End?

Kendall Roy is one of the central characters of ‘Succession’ and the eldest son of Logan Roy. At the show’s start, Kendall is the heir apparent to Logan’s vast business empire. However, Logan distrusts Kendall and believes his son lacks a killer instinct. In the fourth season, Kendall eventually becomes the interim co-CEO of Waystar RoyCo after his father’s death. However, Kendall tries to use the position to block GoJo from acquiring Waystar RoyCo. As a result, Kendall faces off against Lukas Matsson, the Swedish tech billionaire who owns GoJo. In the finale, the board prepares to vote on whether or not the company should be sold to Matsson. Kendall convinces his reluctant siblings, Roman and Shiv Roy, to vote in his favor at the board meeting.

Eventually, the votes are tied 6-6, with Shiv holding the decisive vote. Shiv turns on Kendall and refuses to vote for him when he pushes her too far. Ultimately, Tom Wambsgans, Shiv’s husband, is appointed as the new CEO of Waystar RoyCo after GoJo acquires the company. As a result, Kendall loses the race to succeed his father and sit on the throne of his business empire. In the final scene, Kendall walks through Battery Park with Logan’s bodyguard, Colin, and watches waves of water slapping against the shore. Ultimately, Kendall ends up just like his father, alone and distanced from everyone he loves. However, Kendall does not hold power like Logan, which makes his ending far sadder and underlines the show’s tragedy. Thus, Kendall achieves his goal of emulating his father, but not in the way he hoped.

Does Kendall Die?

In the show’s finale scene, Kendall watches the ocean weaves, which viewers have interpreted as a hint of his dying by suicide. Water has been a recurring motif for Kendall in the show and signifies his internal conflict to rise above his sins while also escaping his father’s control over him. In the third season, Kendall is found semi-submerged in water in what seems to be a failed suicide attempt. The moment comes shortly after Kendall loses his fight to dispel his father from the company. Hence, viewers believe Kendall tries suicide after failing to take over the company in the series finale. The same is hinted at during Kendall and Shiv’s argument, where Kendall exclaims that he will probably die if he does not become the CEO.

While the theory of Kendall dying at the end by suicide holds some water, it is almost certainly not true. During the official Succession podcast, actor Jeremy Strong, who plays Kendall, broke down his character’s final scene in the show. Strong described his character as a wraith, referencing the scene in question. Although wraith means a ghostlike figure seen shortly before or after their death, it is likely intended to have a metaphorical meaning describing Kendall’s internal state as he wanders around Battery Park, unsure of his future.

Moreover, in an Inside the Episode featurette released by HBO, series creator Jesse Armstrong stated that Kendall would likely start his own company but would never achieve the same success as his father. While writing the fourth season, Armstrong reportedly continued to conceive storylines for future seasons before deciding to end the show. Hence, the ending scene is almost certainly not meant to hint at Kendall’s physical death but signifies the demise of his spirit and motivations to succeed his father.

Read More: Do Shiv and Tom Remain Together or Get Divorced at the End of Succession?