In Succession, Kieran Culkin and Alexander Skarsgard talk closely to each other
Image Credit: ‘Succession,’ HBO

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for Succession up through Season 4, Episode 5: “Kill List.”

Succession is in its end game, now midway through its fourth and final season, but the HBO drama (or is it a comedy?) has already proven its not just going to coast to the finish line.

And while it remains to be seen who will, indeed, succeed in Succession and end up on top, there’s one other burning question that’s been driving fans wild since the very beginning:

Is Roman Roy gay?

In Succession, Kieran Culkin wears a black shirt while surrounded by purple light
Image Credit: ‘Succession,’ HBO

Played by Kieran Culkin, Roman is the snide middle child from media magnate Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) second marriage, and a real contender to take over the family business now that their father has croaked.

Since the beginning, Roman has shown himself to be a lewd and crude sleazeball, but also something of a prude. Though initially introduced with a since-retconned wife and child (more on that later), he’s been known to come up short with female sexual partners, instead indulging in kinky shame-play with his father’s longtime confidante, Gerri (J. Smith Cameron).

But something happened in the latest episode that once again has fans wondering if Roman’s not just a dude with peculiar proclivities—maybe he’s queer!

In “Kill List,” Roman and the Waystar Royco executive suite travel to Norway to secure the sale of the company to international streaming giant GoJo and its striking, wolf-like CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård).

Matsson’s main business tactic is intimidation, like when he not-so-subtly removes his jacket at the top of a meeting with Roman, exposing his chiseled abs (thank you, HBO!) and ratcheting up the homosocial tension.

Late in the episode, after delivering a withering takedown of the Roy children, Matsson goes to pee on the side of a mountain. Furious, Roman stands right in front of the business rival and delivers a bleary-eyed retort, in full view of Matsson’s goods.

And this isn’t the first time Roman’s had a literal pissing match with another man. Last season, he had a conversation in a private bathroom with conservative political candidate Jeryd Mencken (Justin Kirk), one that was loaded with psychosexual oneupmanship.

Sure, these could all be displays of your standard businessman bravado, put pair that with his strange sexual history with woman and it’s clear Roman is suppressing something. And that’s to say nothing of the intimate relationship he shares with his personal trainer…

Succession fans have been wondering about Roman’s sexuality since the beginning, but this isn’t just another case of viewers picking up on nonexistent subtext. Last year on the podcast Homo Sapiens, series writer Georgia Pritchett admitted that the character does feel “a bit fluid and pan.”

And, in a new interview with Variety, Culkin himself confirms that the show’s creatives have been questioning Roman’s queerness since the very beginning.

As mentioned, the Succession pilot initially included a glimpse of Roman, sporting a wedding ring, with a woman and a small child. Culkin reveals that, once the show was picked up, it changed course so that there could be “more freedom” with his character:

“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 says. “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.”

So there you have it! While we don’t expect Succession to define it one way or another, we at least know now that, behind-the-scenes, the show’s been intentionally trying to make us guess at Roman’s sexuality.

Does that mean Roman will have a happy ending, winding up out, proud, and in Matsson’s big, manly arms? Knowing this show, we wouldn’t count on it. But we can’t wait to see how Roman’s libido fares in the remaining five episodes.

In closing, here’s just a few more hot takes from Succession fans who think they’ve got Roman all figured out:

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