Succession: How A Mind-Blowing Fan Theory Solved The Series Finale With One Name

Contains spoilers for the series finale of "Succession" — Season 4, Episode 10's "With Open Eyes"

Since "Succession" began, the question on viewers' minds is who would ultimately carry on the Waystar RoyCo legacy after family patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) inevitably had to step down. Turns out he stepped down sooner than anticipated, as Logan died earlier in Season 4. Since that point, it's been a mad dash to acquire power among the Roy siblings, and the series finale, "With Open Eyes," finally brought things to a close the only way it was possible.

Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Mcfadyen) ultimately receives an offer to become CEO, which the Roy siblings try to circumnavigate. However, at the last second, Tom's wife, Shiv (Sarah Snook), sides with her husband, allowing him to acquire the position. There were various fan theories suggesting Tom would end up victorious over the Roy children. After all, Logan appeared to take a real shine to him throughout the series, including calling him "son" at one point, albeit when he was not in an entirely lucid state. But one theory that came out just before the finale aired suggests the answer was always in front of our eyes the whole time.

Sophie Kihm, the editor-in-chief at Nameberry, posted a TikTok a few days before the finale offering a significant hint why Tom would be the new CEO. Working for Nameberry, she naturally points to how names have meaning, and while "Wambsgans" isn't significant on its own, it does tie Tom to someone who would mirror his own arc — baseball player Bill Wambsganss. It may have an extra "s," but Bill did something Tom would achieve in a different context.

Tom knocked out all three Roy siblings in one fell swoop

Names in prestigious TV shows tend to carry additional meaning. In "Succession," the last name "Roy" literally translates to "King," so it's easy to see the symbolism there. Additionally, Tom's wife goes by the nickname, Shiv, meaning knife, which is appropriate for someone who's not above using underhandedness to get her way. Even in the series finale, one could argue she stabbed her brother in the back so that her husband would become CEO. However, the last name Wambsgans should've told everyone what to expect from the moment he was introduced.

Sophie Kihm explains that Tom shares his last name with a famous baseball player, best known for "completing the only unassisted triple play in World Series history." This is a rare move where one defensive player manages to get all three outs in an inning within one continuous play. It's only been done 15 times throughout the sport's history, and Wambsganss did it during the World Series, which is essentially the series finale of baseball. 

Tom did something similar wherein he knocked all three Roy siblings out of contention for CEO at once. He even bested Kendall's (Jeremy Strong) attempt to subvert his ascension, with the final vote coming down to Shiv realizing Tom would likely be a better CEO than her brother. And Tom's journey to his rise can be charted in the Season 3 finale when he ratted out all three Roy siblings to Logan, making a play that cut all three out of the running. 

As Kihm explains, it's important to make a note of unusual surnames in film and television. "Wambsgans" always stood out, but even though it matches his character arc perfectly, executive producer Frank Rich told Slate, "I hate to spoil the internet's fun, but it's false ... Tom's family name was picked before we had shot a first season." He went on to mention how many writers for the show are British and therefore likely wouldn't be up-to-date with obscure American baseball names. It just so happens to be one of the biggest coincidences in TV history.