'Succession' had clues Tom would be the new CEO before that finale twist.

Succession Had So Many Clues About Who Would Win That Fans Are Just Realizing

OK, all these moments hit different now.


Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from the Succession series finale.

Welp, Logan Roy finally has his successor. After four years of brutal business schemes and twisted family drama, Succession crowned its new Waystar Royco CEO at last in its tense series finale, and it wasn’t the person most fans expected to see end up on the throne. However, looking back at some pivotal moments in the show, superfans have begun noticing a lot of clues that pointed to Tom Wambsgans eventually winning the whole Succession game. Here are the moments that take on a whole new meaning now.

Tom was never really at the top of anyone’s prediction list for taking over Waystar, which is what made his sudden ascension so shocking. While most fans were busy placing their bets on Kendall, Shiv, or Roman to become the ultimate successor (or, even Greg was raking in a lot of guesses), Shiv’s bumbling comic relief of an estranged husband was quietly kissing up to all the right people. In the end, it was his complete lack of backbone that got him the CEO position, as new Waystar owner Lukas Matsson needed someone who would blindly follow all his orders.

While Tom’s triumph did come as a surprise to most viewers, there were plenty of moments throughout the show that hinted at him becoming the big winner in the end. In the wake of the finale, these hints make so much more sense now.

1. The Wambsgans Name

In a world of Roys, Tom’s peculiar last name has always stood out, and there’s a strong theory about how it was chosen. Many fans believe the Wambsgans name is a reference to Major League Baseball star Bill Wambsganss, and now it seems clearer than ever why that may be. Bill Wambsganss is best known for pulling off the only unassisted triple play in World Series history, getting three opposing players out with one play during the 1920 World Series. In a similar way, Tom pulled off his own triple play in the Succession finale by blocking Kendall, Shiv, and Roman from the CEO position.

2. The Baseball Game

The Wambsgans/Wambsganss connection was further supported in the pilot, which featured a high-stakes baseball game in which Roman offered a child a million dollars if he could hit a home run. The kid almost made it to home plate, but it was Tom who ultimately tagged him out — just like how he prevented the Roy siblings from claiming their prize when they were so close to it in the finale.

3. The Shot In Episode 2

After Logan’s stroke in the first episode, the Roy siblings were left to debate how to handle the company without their dad. Naturally, this led to their first back and forth about how would make the best successor, and now that scene in the second episode carries a whole new meaning. After Roman tells Kendall that he isn’t a shoo-in to take over the company, he responds incredulously. “Then who the f*ck would it be?” Kendall asks, as the camera tellingly shifts focus to Tom. The shot is still on Tom when Roman responds, “I don’t know, it could be anyone.”

4. The Chicken

Tom’s most memorable exchange with Logan was also an early clue that he would eventually become his successor. In Season 2’s finale, Tom made a bold, chaotic move in his last desperate attempt to not be blamed for Waystar’s cruises scandal. To show his aggressive side to Logan, he grabbed the CEO’s chicken right off his plate and bit into it. The move actually worked in saving Tom from becoming a scapegoat, and forecasting how he would ruthlessly take over Logan’s company in the end.

5. The Betrayal In The Season 3 Finale

In hindsight, it was the final moments of Season 3 that truly telegraphed Tom’s ending. He proved not only his intense loyalty to Logan, but his willingness to backstab his own wife when he went behind Shiv’s back to tell Logan that his kids were planning a coup based on a clause in his divorce settlement. Thanks to the intel, Logan was able to change the clause before his kids could exploit it, and Tom’s future was determined then and there. The scene closely mirrors the finale, in which Tom once again went behind Shiv’s back to make a deal with Matsson to become CEO.


6. The Posters

Before each season of Succession begins, fans have already spent hours poring over the posters in search of clues. Usually, these clues aren’t discovered until afterward, like when that Season 4 Easter egg was spotted in the poster. Looking back at some of the posters now, there are definite hints that Tom ends up on top. One Season 3 poster, for instance, showed Tom and Greg standing with Logan on one side, while the Roy children stood on another. Now, the winning side is obvious.


Fans also pointed out that Tom and Greg are the only characters wearing a tie like Logan in the final season poster, and that Tom is making the same facial expression as Logan.


7. The Phone

Even before the finale, fans were suspicious of Tom for one very specific reason: his phone. After viewers noticed he was one of the only characters without an iPhone, a theory developed that Tom would be the villain of Succession. This was based on the widely known rule that Apple doesn’t allow villainous characters to use iPhones. Fans also noticed that Logan used the same smartphone as Tom, bolstering the theory that Tom would become the new Logan.

8. Skipping The Funeral

Succession hit us with one last nod to Tom’s victory in the episode right before the finale. Rather than mourn Logan at his funeral, Tom pulled the ultimate Logan move by choosing work instead of a sentimental ceremony. It echoed Logan’s final moments of jetting off to finalize the Matsson deal on the day of Connor’s wedding.