Kieran Culkin explained why Roman's wife and kid from the 'Succession' pilot disappeared.

Kieran Culkin Finally Cleared Up That Succession Plot Hole About Roman's Family

Fans had wondered about this inconsistency for years.


Five years after the Succession pilot first aired, Kieran Culkin finally addressed the question that’s been bugging fans the whole run of the show. Yep, I’m talking about Roman’s family. In the first episode, Roman is shown with a wife and kid, and even a wedding ring to prove it. But he became suddenly single and childless in the very next episode. Fans called it a huge plot hole, but Culkin explained why Succession decided to ditch Roman’s wife and kid.

The Succession fandom has long wondered what the deal was with Roman’s family in the HBO drama’s premiere episode. Throughout the episode, he’s shown with a woman and child, and viewers quickly pointed out that Roman was visibly wearing a wedding ring and the woman’s character name is credited as Grace Roy. However, Roman’s marital status was almost immediately retconned in the following episodes. Throughout the rest of the series, Roman is depicted as single, with his restrictive sexual hangups becoming a core element of his character and his failed relationships. Because of how important Roman’s sexuality has become in illustrating his inner turmoil, the discovery that he had a whole family in the first episode is totally jarring.

In an April 24 interview with Variety, Culkin clarified that the character that was his wife in the pilot was rewritten to be simply a girlfriend who had a child of her own when HBO picked up the series. “Not his kid. Not his wife, either. It was in the pilot, and after it was picked up, it was his girlfriend, and she had a child,” he explained. “I’m wearing my real wedding band in the episode. I was excited about the idea of having a kid, and the kid was like 7 or 8. It was a little disappointing, but I think the idea was that it would just give them more freedom to play with the character.”

Culkin went on to say that the decision to get rid of Roman’s wife and kid was so that the show had more freedom to better explore Roman’s sexuality. “They had mentioned to me, even before we shot the pilot, about questioning what Roman’s sexuality is — and we don’t know what it is,” Culkin said. “But it put something in my brain, and I was like, ‘OK, but I’m married and have kids?’ They were toying with the idea that she’s aware that you have sort of hangups sexually when it comes to monogamy, and might be more fluid, but we don’t know what that is yet.”

Roman’s journey is nearly reaching its end, as the final few episodes of Succession air Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.