Succession Season 4’s Most Important Character Might Not Be A Roy

This article contains spoilers for "Succession."

When tech billionaire Lukas Matsson first appeared on "Succession" in season 3, Elon Musk officially became the topical cultural figure of the moment, a caricature too absurd not to satirize. "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" and even less popular films like "Moonshot" have since taken their own stab at Musk, but none of them take his antics quite so seriously as the HBO drama. He might seem like a punchline, but Matsson has revealed himself to be a very major player in a very short amount of time — whether the audience realizes it or not.

Mattson is the Swedish Prince of Silicon Valley played by "Infinity Pool" star Alexander Skarsgård, whose company GoJo is set to purchase Waystar in season 4. The tech titan first appears in the Emmy-nominated season 3 episode "Too Much Birthday," wallowing in the V.I.P. treehouse at Kendall's extravagant 40th bash.

Even before the GoJo deal takes shape, the self-made young billionaire holds a lot of weight with the Roy siblings — just meeting him is a major piece in their 4D chess game of power plays. The Musk-like mogul is definitely not ignorant of his pull in the major media family, even if he plays dumb by leaning into his peculiarity — this much is clear from his very first words.

"I remember the first day, one of my first lines was, Jeremy [Strong] asks if I want anything and I say 'privacy, p***y, pasta,'" Skarsgård recalled in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. "I think that's a terrific line, and that kind of sets the tone and gives you so much information on who Matsson is." He might seem a little odd at first, but power is constantly changing hands in the "Succession" universe, and a lot of it has landed in the Swede's lap as of late.

A Threat To The Empire

Matsson uses his bizarre reputation to push Waystar into a new shape of negotiations through a seemingly cryptic tweet at Caroline's wedding in season 3. The guy is certainly eccentric, but he knows what he wants and how to get it. He's direct and unafraid to speak his mind, but he also recognizes when to hold his tongue. Logan clearly admires this quality in his young adversary because he sees it in himself — even Brian Cox, whose performance as Logan earned him a Primetime Emmy, would agree. 

"He's clear, he's bright, he's creative, and he doesn't let things get in the way," Cox said of Matsson in an interview with Variety. "He just wishes some of his kids had that quality that Lukas has."

The second that Matsson threatened to take over the empire that Logan's children have pined after their whole lives, he jumped head-first into a decades-long sibling rivalry. Logan might be on board with the GoJo sale, but his children definitely take umbrage in the season 3 finale. In the final season, the tech mogul must work to convince them to sign away their dreams. Roman is quick to push the deal along in favor of avoiding further conflict with his father, but Kendall knowingly provokes him — probably because he still hopes to take over Waystar. Appealing to these competing interests only adds to the fun for Matsson.

"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," Skarsgård explained. "He has to figure out a way to work the different members of the family and the different members of the board."

The Roys Are Meeting Matsson On His Turf

Every season of "Succession" has featured an overseas trip, and season 4 is no exception. With Stewie, Sandy, and the kids promising to draw out the GoJo deal a bit longer, it's clear that the Swede's storyline is not over just yet. Matsson made it clear that he will not be happy if the deal doesn't close, so he will probably need a bit more coaxing if Logan wants to draw him back to the table. What better way to woo Matsson — and get to know him better — than meeting him in his homeland of Scandinavia?

"We shot up in the fjords, up in the mountains — it was spectacularly beautiful," Skarsgård revealed to Entertainment Weekly. "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."

Sarah Snook, who plays Logan's only daughter Shiv, is among the cast members shooting in Norway, producer Scott Ferguson revealed to Variety. Does that mean that Shiv is going to switch sides (again) in season 4, or are she and Kendall so intent on putting a stop to the deal that they are willing to travel halfway across the world? Or does she simply need to convince Matsson to pay more for Waystar so that she can successfully purchase Pierce? Either way, it's clear that the GoJo CEO's power is only growing if he's able to get the reluctant Shiv on his home territory.

The Swede Is The Answer To The Succession Question — For Now

Believe it or not, the Musk-like figure was not supposed to be such a major staple of the series at first. "When they first reached out, I think the plan was for it to be maybe two, three episodes," Skarsgård admitted to Entertainment Weekly. "But then, obviously, with how it all ended, there was an opportunity to bring Matsson back."

The Swede turned out to be such a force of nature that the writers changed their minds and wrote him into a more significant portion of the plot. This suggests that series creator Jesse Armstrong and the other writers did not always plan for Logan to sell the company but, much like Logan himself, they were charmed by the idea. As Logan himself puts it, "The world likes it. It makes sense."

With an impulsive character like Matsson in the mix, and so many competing motives at play, there's no telling where season 4 will go — besides Norway — but it's safe to say that the tech giant's role in the Waystar empire will only become more massive as the series draws to a close. Will the tech titan follow through on his threat to pull out of the deal? Or will he still be the one true successor in the end?

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