Wait, So Roman Roy Was Originally Supposed To Be Queer?

Kieran Culkin at the season 4 premiere of "Succession"
Nina Westervelt/Variety/Getty Images

Succession fans’ tendency to overlook the show’s numerous hanging plot lines and abandoned characters is a testament to the series’ other positive qualities. But if there’s one mystery that still rumbles around in the back of their heads, it’s, “What exactly was going on with Kieran Culkin’s character Roman Roy’s personal life in season one?” You may recall the very first episode of Succession, shot as the pilot but aired as is, included characters that viewers were led to believe were Roman’s wife and young kid. The show reconnected them as just a girlfriend who happened to have a kid from a previous relationship, and the rest of the first season seemed to hint at the possibility that Roman may be queer and struggling with this sexuality. (Remember that whole thing with his personal trainer?)

In a new interview, Culkin has revealed that, yes, his character was originally married and, yes, at one point, writers were interested in exploring his sexuality in greater depth.

“It was in the pilot, and after it was picked up, it was his girlfriend, and she had a child. I’m wearing my real wedding band in the episode,” Culkin told Variety. “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.”

Indeed, the character originally listed as “Grace Roy” and played by actress Molly Griggs, was featured in three episodes before Roman quietly split from her. Later in the first series, he begins a relationship with Tabitha, played by Caitlin FitzGerald. You might recall she also had a bit of an interesting encounter with Tom as well, but she sticks with Roman throughout the second season. After we see her joyously recording Kendall’s infamous “L to the OG” rap, however, she quietly disappeared to make room, we assume, for Roman’s secret dirty-talk relationship with Gerri that dominates (no pun intended) the third season.

via HBO

Culkin also said producers had prepared him for the possibility that his character’s sexuality may not be 100 percent straight.

“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. 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.”

Although you can still find Succession fan hubs online where viewers debate whether or not those personal training sessions did lead to a “happy ending,” it remains unclear whether the show is interested in giving Roman’s personal life a (more traditional) happy ending.

The fourth season, which some theorize may take place over the course of just a few weeks in the Roy family’s lives, has acknowledged the Gerri situation, but has mostly remained uninterested in Roman’s sexual proclivities. The character is still single and in the midst of a brand new job. Barring some sort of Six Feet Under-style final episode or major plot twist, it seems the details of Roman’s personal life may remain as confusing and mysterious as they have been since the beginning. At least, as mysterious as whatever happened with Marcia’s son Amir, Greg’s mom Marianne, and old Gil Eavis.