Movies & TV

How Long is the Time Jump Between the Previous Season in Succession Season 4

Time jump in Succession leading up to Season 4

The final season of Succession has at last arrived on HBO. While the series is heavily in touch with and grounded in reality, it can be a bit difficult to grasp exactly how much time has passed throughout its run. Though the show first premiered five years ago in 2018, far less time has passed within the world of the series. While each season typically picks up immediately after the last one ends, season four began with an unusual time jump. Below we break down what we know about the Succession timeline and how long the time jump was between the previous seasons and season four.

Please note that there will be major spoilers for the show.

Season 1

The pilot episode takes place on Logan’s (Brian Cox) birthday. We can reasonably assume it’s the fall as Shiv (Sarah Snook) is working on a senate campaign for an upcoming election. Further placing season one in the fall, the Roys celebrate Thanksgiving in episode five. The first season concludes with Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and Shiv’s wedding in March, a rare time-orienting detail stated by Shiv herself. Overall, the first season likely spans a mere four to five months. 

Season 2

Season two picks up almost immediately after the events of the first season finale after Kendall (Jeremy Strong) has drunkenly killed a member of the wedding staff. The second season doesn’t have any major time jumps and largely takes place over the course of spring and summer. Kendall provides one of the few definitive markers of time passing in season two when he comments on a senator’s numerous appearances on ATN over the last four months. The season finale sees the Roys partying on a yacht in late summer, probably July. At this point in the show, less than a year has passed.

Season 3

Once again, season three picks up in the immediate aftermath of the previous finale after Kendall’s shocking press conference. Season three seems to move much more slowly. The Roys travel to a Republican conference in episode six to choose the next president and refer to the inauguration as six months away. As a result, it seems as though just a few weeks pass between season two’s finale and the majority of season three. The finale ends with their mother’s wedding in Tuscany, but it’s once again unclear how much time has passed, whether it is a few weeks or a few months. 

Season 4

Unlike the previous seasons, season four does not pick up with the immediate aftermath of the season three finale. Instead, there is a time jump forward to Logan’s birthday, the same event that brought the family together in the premiere of Succession. However, this time, the Roys are even more estranged from their father than usual. As Kendall, Shiv, and Roman (Kieran Culkin) scramble to build their own empire, having worked on finding investors for The Hundred for at least three months, Logan is also preparing to sell Waystar Royco.

Another indication of how much time has passed, Tom and Shiv’s marriage is also on the outs. When we last saw them, Tom had betrayed Shiv in order to gain Logan’s trust. In the season four premiere, we learn they’ve taken a trial separation and are on the brink of divorcing completely. It would likely take some time for their relationship to deteriorate to the point we see in season four.

At the very least, it’s safe to assume a full year has passed within the world of Succession, from the pilot episode to the final season’s premiere episode as Logan celebrates two different birthdays. However, the fact that both seasons are anchored by an impending election is a bit confusing. With Shiv working on a senatorial campaign in the first season, and Connor’s (Alan Ruck) presidential bid drawing near in the fourth season, it would make more sense for two full years to pass.

Of course, the writers have the best perspective on Succession’s timeline. In an interview with The New Yorker, Succession’s creator and showrunner, Jesse Armstrong, said, “…there’s probably been a couple of years elapsed in story time, but, to an audience, and indeed to ourselves as writers, it feels rather longer. The show has to live in a weird TV reality.” Ultimately, there will probably never be a clear answer to how long the time jump is in season four of Succession, but the show’s strange fast-paced hyper-reality is part of what makes it so watchable. 

About the author

Molly Turner
Molly Turner has been writing about television, Star Wars, books, and geek media for over three years. Based in New York, she graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2022. You can find her writing on sites such as The Mary Sue, /Film, and ScreenRant and around the Internet @themollyturner.