What Did HBO Do to Roman Roy?

Look how they’ve massacred my boy

Male Fragility

If you watch Succession, you know that every member of the mega-wealthy Roy family will go to any lengths to get what they want, manipulating and stabbing their relatives in the back to gain more power. But would they undergo cosmetic surgery in order to appear fit to lead the multi-billion dollar Waystar Royco conglomerate? This is the question raised by the latest poster for the show, which was released today to announce that it will be returning for a third season on HBO October 17th.

I’ll quote my esteemed colleague Brandy Jensen, who tweeted, “did they make kieran culkin taller?” In a way, yes they did. But I would argue that this poster reveals that between seasons two and three, they actually made his character, Roman Roy, taller.

A crucial aspect of the Roman character is that he is 5’6,” which adds to his whole sniveling weasel deal and makes for a funny frame when they have him stand next to Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun, 6’7”). However, if there’s one thing Roman aches for throughout the series, it's the respect of other men, most notably his father. What is the one thing that will make one man respect another man immediately? Being over six feet tall.

Kulkin appears to be about 6’1” in the Succession poster. He looks taller than Logan (Brian Cox, 5’9”) and Kendall (Jeremy Strong, 5’10”) while standing behind them. He also appears to be the same height as Tom (Matthew Macfadyen, 6’3”), although I have subtracted two inches because he’s standing a few feet ahead and I know enough people who have been to the Leaning Tower of Pisa to know that you can mess with scale that way.

This version of Roman is tall, but not too tall. He commands attention but not ogling, and statistically most of us will have to look up to make eye contact. A short guy like Roman probably dreams of this height, imagining that it would solve most of his problems. That kind of desire, paired with all the money in the world, could spur someone to take the private jet to a foreign country such as Turkey or Colombia, where they have fewer qualms about performing limb-lengthening surgeries.

There is too much media created by angry short men, and not enough about angry short men who actually do something about their shared fatal flaw (a height-induced bitterness). I commend the Succession team for shining a light on a problem plaguing our society, and assume they will handle the topic sensitively. Will Roman’s newfound height affect his Mommy roleplay with Gerri? No matter how tall he may grow, he’ll always be her rotten little nothing.