Lukas Matsson is trying to seal the deal in final episodes of the Emmy-winning show.
“And the Emmy goes to…?” We’ll know the answer to that on Sept. 18, but this week EW’s The Awardist is kicking off its coverage of the 2023 Emmys with an exclusive look at five returning and new series that will debut over the next two months — shows and actors that hope to be nominees when those are announced on July 12.
At the end of Succession season 3, Alexander Skarsgård’s tech mogul Lukas Matsson looked set to buy Waystar Royco, the media conglomerate ruled by Brian Cox’s old-school business titan Logan Roy. That was bad news for Logan’s brood of scheming children, played by Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, and Alan Ruck, but good news for Skarsgård as it guaranteed the guesting cast member would return for season 4 of the Jesse Armstrong-created series, which premieres March 26 on HBO.
“I was a big, big fan of the show,” Skarsgård tells EW for our Awardist preview, explaining how he initially got involved with Succession. “When they first reached out, I think the plan was for it to be maybe two, three episodes. But then, obviously, with how it all ended, there was an opportunity to bring Matsson back.”
So what can audiences, and the Roy clan, expect from Skarsgård’s mercurial billionaire this year?
“Once he focuses on a task he is almost unstoppable and it’s almost like a fun challenge to him to see if he can do this, if he can pull it off,” says the actor. “He has to figure out a way to work the different members of the family and the different members of the board.”
The Swedish Skarsgård was pleased to welcome cast members to Scandinavia for an episode that involved filming in Norway.
“We shot up in the fjords, up in the mountains — it was spectacularly beautiful,” he says. “It’s a company retreat, basically, an opportunity for relaxation but also hard negotiations about how to move forward. Obviously, my character’s Swedish, but it’s a neighboring country, and it was quite fun to get out of New York and shoot something on kind of Matsson’s turf.”
Skarsgård made his Succession debut on last season’s “Too Much Birthday” episode which found Strong’s Kendall Roy throwing an dementedly expensive and extravagant party in New York.
“I remember the first day, one of my first lines was, Jeremy asks if I want anything and I say ‘Privacy, p—y, pasta,'” says Skarsgård of the episode, which garnered three Primetime Emmy nominations. “I think that’s a terrific line, and that kind of sets the tone, and gives you so much information on who Matsson is. It was very exciting to get thrown into that party, because it was so over the top, but also most of the other actors were there, and it was a great opportunity to get to meet to know everyone.”
“Too Much Birthday” also featured the sight of Matsson taking up Roman Roys’s suggestion that the tech giant urinate on the latter’s phone. Skarsgård confirms that the pair’s frenemy-ship will continue in the new season.
“Kieran’s extraordinarily fun to work with,” says the actor. “He’s a very lovely, sweet guy, and he plays that role phenomenally. He’s like a little terrier. He comes at you with a lot of energy in those scenes, and it makes it very easy, because there’s so much to play off of when you’re working with Kieran.”
In February, Armstrong told The New Yorker that the fourth season of Succession would be the last. Skarsgård is unsurprised that the show’s creator is drawing a close to the show, despite Succession having won the Best Drama Emmy, for the second time, just last year.
“I always felt that Jesse will end this when he feels it’s the right time to end it,” says the actor. “I was never worried that this was going to be a case where they do one or two seasons too many. I don’t think that’s worthy of Succession. I’m so honored to have been a small part of it.”