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Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox: 'Succession' characters meet Season 3 challenges

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Jeremy Strong, Brian Cox: 'Succession' characters meet Season 3 challenges
Jeremy Strong says Kendall Roy is feeling lighter in Season 3 of "Succession." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Succession stars Jeremy Strong and Brian Cox said the members of the Roy family rise to the occasions presented to them in Season 3, premiering Sunday on HBO.

Cox plays Logan Roy, the CEO of the Waystar Royco media company that has made the Roy family wealthy. Strong plays Logan's son, Kendall, who, for two seasons loyally did his father's bidding, including firing most of the staff at Waystar's news website.

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Season 2 ended with Kendall holding a press conference in which he alleged that Logan is guilty of the crimes for which he recently was acquitted. Former employees of Waystar alleged they were sexually assaulted and harassed while working for Waystar's cruise line, and Kendall promises the media evidence that Logan knew about it.

"We see a sort of airborne Kendall at the beginning of the season," Strong said in a Television Critics Association Zoom panel. "[He's] someone who feels like he's finally wrested himself free from the chains that have been binding him."

Season 3 picks up right after Kendall's press conference. Kendall faces not only Logan's reaction to his son's betrayal, but also those of Kendall's siblings, Shiv (Sarah Snook), Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Connor (Alan Ruck).

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Cox said Logan's children frequently surprise him with their competence in fraught situations. The 75-year-old actor would not spoil how they impress him in Season 3, but cited Roman rejecting a risky deal with Turkish businessmen in Season 2 as one such surprise.

"That's what's exciting about the show," Cox said. "Somebody offers something up that you didn't ever expect."

Culkin said he agreed with Cox that Season 2 showed Roman's progress. Roman often makes sarcastic jokes about the family business, so taking a deal seriously was pivotal for him.

Culkin said Roman continues his progress in Season 3.

"I always love it when I get scripts and I get to see that he's progressing more and more," Culkin said. "Inevitably, I feel like he's going to blow it somehow, and oftentimes he doesn't."

Strong said Season 3 will explore whether Kendall went too far in defying the family.

"Is this person a visionary or a madman?" Strong asked. "Is this clarity or is this delusion? Is this person free or are they lost?"

Cox said Logan remains stunted in some ways, too. The title of the show is Succession and Logan must eventually decide which of the children can take over for him, but he is reluctant to pass the torch.

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"It's very hard to let go of something that you've created," Cox said.

The Roys deal with dramas in Waystar companies, and among each other as they vie to be Logan's successor as CEO. Although wealth and power surrounds the drama, Cox said the Roys' struggles are universal.

"I don't think it's any different from any family," Cox said.

Strong said Succession deals with the relationship between love and power. Strong referred to part of Carl Jung's quote, "where power predominates, there love is lacking."

"Not necessarily in a monetary sense, but there's something that compensates for lack of love that drives us in different directions sometimes," Strong said.

Succession airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.

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