The Creator Of ‘Succession’ Was ‘Terrified’ When Jeremy Strong Tried To Improv A Much Darker Ending For Kendall While Filming The Finale

The Succession finale aired over a week ago, but fans of the prestige HBO series are still poring over the final moments for clues as to what happened to the characters after the futre of the Roy family empire was decided in a bombshell board meeting. The show purposefully left their fates ambiguous, but Jeremy Strong has already admitted that he tried to engineer a more definitive ending for his character Kendall Roy.

In the Succession finale, a visibly deflated Kendall is seen walking down to Battery Park with his dad’s former bodyguard, Colin (Scott Nicholson) following behind him. As the series ends, Kendall stares out at the Hudson River as the episode fades to black. However, Strong recently revealed that he made a run at the water and actually climbed over the barrier.

“I got up from that bench and went as fast as I could over the barrier and onto the pilings, and the actor playing Colin raced over,” Strong told Vanity Fair. “I didn’t know I was gonna do that, and he didn’t know, but he raced over and stopped me. I don’t know whether in that moment I felt that Kendall just wanted to die—I think he did—or if he wanted to be saved by essentially a proxy of his father.”

According to series creator, Jesse Armstrong, Strong’s improv movement happened very quickly and basically scared the crap out of everyone.

Via NPR:

I was terrified. I was terrified that he might fall in and be injured. … He didn’t look like he was going to jump in. But once he climbed over that barrier — when you film, there are generally a lot of health and safety assessments made, and that was not our plan that day. And normally I know that if we’d even been thinking of that happening, we would have had boats and frogmen and all kinds of safety measures, which we didn’t have. So my first thought was for his physical safety as a human being, not anything about the character. That’s what I felt on the day. Good Lord, above.

Executive producer Frank Rich also revealed that an “alarmed” Nicholson reacted purely on instinct and was “functioning as a person as much as a character in that moment.”

Succession is available for streaming on Max.

(Via NPR)