There wasn’t a cliffhanger at the end of season three of Boardwalk Empire, but there’s still plenty of unanswered questions as the series moves into 1924. What we do know is that 1924 is the year that Al Capone took on Dean O’Banion in the Northside Wars. Nelson Van Alden will get mixed up with Capone, so we can at least expect that Michael Shannon will become an interesting character again. We also know from interviews with Terrence Winter that Gillian Darmody is still alive, and thanks to the addition of Ron Livingston (Office Space) to the cast last week, we know that Darmody will have a new love interest. Richard Harrow, who stole Jimmy’s kid from Gillian and dropped him on his girlfriend’s doorstep, will probably also have an ongoing conflict with Gillan, and I suspect that Livingston’s new character and Harrow will become enemies as well. Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker) also joined the cast last week, as a prohibition agent with ulterior motives, and I’m guessing that his motives align well with those of Nucky, who is poised to take back control of Atlantic City, with his brother, Eli, as his right hand again.
But what about Chalky White?
We know from this interview that 1924 will be the year of Chalky. He will rise to great prominence, and Michael K. Williams — who has been something of a crucial background player for most of the series — will finally be pushed front and center. Now, I think — based on my own speculation — that Chalky has his own nemesis in season four.
Brilliant character actor Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Angels in America, Everything) has been cast as Valentin Narcisse, Doctor of Divinity, philanthropist, student of culture and the man who runs Harlem.” Sadly, Valentin is not based on a real person, but with Wright running Harlem and Chalky controlling Atlantic City’s black community, my guess is that it will result in some kind of power struggle over territory. Ten bucks says that Chalky’s future son-in-law gets in the middle of that dynamic, pulled between the classy, well respected Narcisse and his gangster father in law. In the end, he’ll find out in the end that Wright’s character is just as much of a gangster as Chalky. (In this totally speculative scenario I just invented, Chalky’s future son-in-law does not survive).
The important thing, however, is that Jeffrey Wright has been cast, and Jeffrey Wright is awesome.