In 2014, after seven seasons we all said goodbye to one of the most gritty and challenging series on television. Having gained popularity for the nature of its harsh and gutsy authenticity, Sons of Anarchy became one of the most watched series on FX that none of us wanted to see come to an end. Brought to life by Kurt Sutter, modern Shakespearean themes were embedded into a storyline about family, brotherhood, and outlaws.
Two years ago in a podcast with Tom Arnold, Sutter revealed that he sees the story of Sons in four chapters. “If Sons was the first chapter, then I see the Mayans as the second chapter. The new show is present day, after the death of Jax Teller.” He goes on to explain that the third chapter would be about the First 9. And the fourth would be a sequel about Jax’s sons, Abel and Thomas, finding out about their father’s life. “That for me is the dream quartet, if you will.” So if Mayans MC is not the next chapter that you were hoping for, you’re in luck. If things go right, perhaps FX will give us all of them.
But for now, let’s focus on why we think you should be very excited for Mayans MC after getting a little taste of their world at Comic Con this last weekend. With a room full of excited fans, the positive energy of the crowd left me hopeful and hyped for this new series.
Full of both veterans and first time actors, my heart is swelling for this whole cast already. While laughing, Sutter was quite proud to say that his cast “has done more jail time than screen time”. This is no surprise really, as he cast numerous actors in Sons of Anarchy that were former MC or gang members that left that life behind. But there is no one better to portray those characters on the silver screen. Sutter said, “A lot of these actors come from the life, and authentic characters are important to me… quite selfishly, the energy of those men and women who know that they probably shouldn’t be there and should probably be some place else much darker, and that they’ve been given the opportunity for a second chance and to reinvent themselves.”
One could hear the gratitude that these new actors like Vincent Vargas, Joseph Lucero, and Frankie Loyal have for Sutter. And as a viewer, you know their work will amplify these characters on screen and be nothing but electric. To have that mixed with the legendary actors like Edward James Olmos became part of that “magic”.
“You have to remember something… before I was Lieutenant Castillo, before I was Admiral Adama… I was Mayan. I am Mayan… I came to the right house.” -Edward James Olmos
Executive Producer Norberto Barba spoke on how this group of veteran and first time actors gelled on camera: “It’s been an incredible thing to watch the evolution of the ensemble… to watch the guys that are new to this bring their own personalities and be born more comfortable in front of the camera, supported wholly and so much by the veterans, it’s touching. They exhibit the brotherhood of that MC.” Needless to say we can expect a whole lot of magic from this wonderful group of actors.
Sutter surrounded himself with a diverse writer’s room and crew
The panel moderator asked if women will ever get to ride. Sworn to authenticity, Sutter admitted that because there are no female members in real life MCs, that he never had any plans to put one in any of the shows. In reaction to that, co-creator Elgrin James leaned forward into the microphone and added, “Women may not be riding on the show, but this man created a writer’s room where it’s a majority of women writing on the show. Shout out to our writers room that’s all people of color and women.”
It’s also a major reason that Kurt Sutter pulled in James in the first place. Diversity. Well versed in MC and gang life, he was ecstatic to work with Sutter on Mayans MC. “For as long as there has been television there has been black and brown characters. And they usually have us as criminals or these one dimensional sketches. A lot of us have been in prison, a lot of us have spent a majority of our life in gangs. But we finally get to tell our own story. We finally get to tell our story from the inside out.”
This won’t be the last we see of SAMCRO
We shouldn’t plan on seeing any of the beloved characters from the Redwood Original right away. Sutter is “very protective of that mythology and the way that it ended and letting fans, whether they enjoyed it or not, to have their own idea of how that club continued.” However, don’t get too sad just yet. After all, in the final episodes of Sons, they and the Mayans were left on good terms.
Sutter did go on to say that “Sons is a big world… there is a relationship there between the Mayans and the Sons. So, we will see those points of intersection happen throughout this season and the series as well… I want to acknowledge that world and find opportunities to circle it again, and yet, I don’t want to abuse it.” And with a laugh he added, “Season 4… everything is up for grabs.” So don’t get all sour puss yet. The Mayans of the Southern California charter may indeed find themselves traveling north through a little town called Charming.
This won’t be a rehash of Sons of Anarchy
Sutter also spoke about how much the Latino culture will be an influence in this series. In Mayans MC, the Latino culture and Catholic religion will have a big role to play and will influence the decisions of characters along the way. “My job in this series is really to handle the transition from the mythology of Sons of Anarchy into this mythology, so that this mythology can become its own thing. But I also knew a white guy from Jersey shouldn’t be doing that by himself. So it’s why this man [Elgrin James] is sitting next to me… We have a primarily Latino creative team. So I’m surrounding myself with people that are from the culture and can tell that story.”
During a time in Hollywood were inclusion is demanded by the viewers, Sutter has always been part of that progression. He’s a storyteller that’s inspired by real people and collaborates with them to bring that true story to screen.
The first time bike riders cheated on their written exam
Not all of the cast rode on bikes prior to getting these roles. Many of them had to go through the classes and get their motorcycle license. JD Pardo told a hilarious story about how they learned to ride bikes through practice. And in true outlaw fashion, cheated on the written exam at the DMV! “There’s like fifteen people in the room that have nothing to do with the show or Mayans. Richie, myself, Clayton, Antonio… The instructor said you have these amount of time to finish the test and he walks out of the room, and leaves the answers on his desk.” As it turns out, Richie and the others couldn’t avoid the temptation and get up to look at the answers, leaving the rest of the room in shock. “Anyway, we all passed.”
But Elgrin James doesn’t let that story end too easily as he adds, “which is why they keep dropping their motorcycles because they cheated.” But then, JD Pardo said he heard a rumor and ratted out Charlie Hunnam that he too dropped his bike on the first day on set. “We’re in good company!” Hmm. Sounds a lot like the cast of Sons when they often got up to no good when they were together. Sutter certainly knows not only where to spot talent, but how to create a real brotherhood.
Don’t miss the premiere!
After getting to see the first 13 minutes of the pilot, I can say there is reason to get excited! Although they are completely new characters, the tone and the world are the same. This story doesn’t leave our beloved SAMCRO behind, but expands on a world that we gave seven years to. The mythology and this saga continues. And I’m sure one day, it will find its way back to Charming. So I urge you to ride out with the Mayans as the new series premieres on FX on September 4th!