The death of Logan Roy (Brian Cox) hit both viewers and the characters within the show like a ton of bricks, giving everyone little to no preparation or time to process goodbyes. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, series producer and director of the penultimate episode, “Church and State,” Mark Mylod discussed the process of keeping the shocking turn under wraps despite having to shoot Logan’s funeral. Including changing scripts to say Logan’s brother Ewan was the one who died and giving a heart-filled plea to the many extras required to film the funeral scene.
Planning and Secrecy
Mylod, known for directing episodes of Succession and Game of Thrones, explained the extensive measures taken to maintain the surprise element of Logan Roy’s death. At the start of the season, numerous conversations and planning meetings were held to strategize how they could handle such a significant event. HBO played a pivotal role, providing valuable resources and advice based on their experience in trying to keep secrets in the social media universe.
To maintain secrecy, the production team implemented a basic but effective plan. Starting from the third episode, they replaced the word “Logan” with the name “Ewan” in every script, essentially treating Logan’s brother (played by James Cromwell) as the deceased character. This clever move kept the true nature of Logan’s demise hidden from the cast and crew until the appropriate moment.
Logan Roy’s Funeral
One of the most challenging aspects of filming Logan Roy’s funeral scene was the involvement of hundreds of background extras. Mylod acknowledged the high risk of leaks due to the large number of people working on the set over several days. To their amazement, no one spoiled the surprise, which Mylod attributes to the direct communication between the production team and the extras.
In addition to signing nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), Mylod and the HBO team personally spoke with the extras, appealing to their dedication as fans of the show. They requested that the secret be kept to preserve the enjoyment of other viewers, treating it as their collective secret. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with everyone obliging and expressing their commitment to maintaining the surprise.
The Importance of Secrecy
While it might be conceivable to imagine Logan Roy’s brother Ewan passing away instead, doing so would have undermined the emotional weight carried by the penultimate episode and the entire season. Logan’s unexpected death in Episode 3 upended expectations and propelled the narrative in a new direction. The Roy siblings, no longer sheltered by their father’s shadow, had to confront their vulnerabilities and adapt to a life without him.
The commitment to secrecy by both the production team and the extras was crucial in ensuring the impact of Logan Roy’s death was felt by the audience. Mylod expressed his gratitude and admiration for everyone involved, considering it a remarkable feat in a cynical world. Their collective effort helped preserve the surprise and heightened the viewing experience for fans of the show.
The decision to have Logan Roy’s character meet his demise early in the season was a bold choice that reverberated throughout Succession. It shattered the characters’ expectations and forced them to confront their own identities outside of their father’s influence. As the season finale approaches, the anticipation for the next twist intensifies, and viewers eagerly await the culmination of Mylod’s directorial vision.