The suspenseful show centers on a powerful and dysfunctional family led by mogul Logan Roy, played by actor Brian Cox, and the intrigue, scheming and rivalry within his family and company as people fight to inherit his sprawling media empire.
The show, which ended in May, became a global hit and cultural phenomenon, sparking debate about the “quiet luxury” fashion trend and think pieces about the mental health of the ultrarich. It scooped up multiple awards along the way, including six Emmys and four Golden Globes earlier this month.
Fans have continued to highlight multiple spinoff ideas, even though HBO’s head of drama, Francesca Orsi, said last year the network was not looking into any breakaway shows. Before the final season was aired, Armstrong suggested that he could be open to a follow-up show, telling the New Yorker he had a strong “feeling that there could be something else in an allied world, or allied characters, or some of the same characters.”
Armstrong said he had enjoyed being reunited with the cast members, among them actors Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Matthew Macfadyen, while in Hollywood this month. He added that meeting up with his fellow writers “has been my methadone coming off the drug of ‘Succession.’”
Armstrong said he had not anticipated the widespread audience popularity of the show when writing it.
“I can’t explain its success,” he told the BBC. “Although the things that the characters do and their moral behavior is sometimes reprehensible, and the stuff they do to the world has bad outcomes, I don’t think of them as irredeemable. I guess I think of them as the product of the family, their environment, their culture,” he added.
Armstrong said he had leaned on modern and historical examples for inspiration. “Imperial succession, royal succession, corporate succession have all fed in,” he said. He also admitted that there had been a “clear parallel” with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, as well as “other storylines that we’ve taken from the real world,” among them material that “comes out” from right-leaning news networks such as Breitbart, Newsmax and Fox, he said.
The show’s first script read-through took place on the day Donald Trump was elected president in the United States. “I have reflected on that … with mixed feelings,” he said in the interview.
“I don’t know how it [the show] would have landed in a Clinton presidency, there may have been other issues which made it feel salient but yes I think this kind of imperial, rather gross in some ways, family and their fighting did fit that Trump era.”
Asked what he may turn his writing pen to next, Armstrong said he had “no clue” and “I’m really quite comfortable with that.”
“I’ve got a few ideas,” he added, “but they’re in that delicious stage where I haven’t done any proper work on them and they all seem like they’ll be absolutely perfect when I do turn to them.”
Speaking of “Succession,” he added, he was “happy to have done it.”