It seems like just yesterday we were watching Jax Teller ride into the proverbial sunset in a motorcycle chase that had the outlaw king looking more like the son of Christ than of anarchy, but that was almost three years ago. Since then, influential creator Kurt Sutter hasn’t taken much of a break from his work. He went right from Sons of Anarchy into the failed series The Bastard Executioner. Unfazed by the cancellation, Sutter said casually during his panel at Vulture Festival last Saturday that he doesn’t let the fear of failure hold him back.
Sutter talked a little bit about his work with Elgin James for the spin-off series of Sons, based on the rival-turned-ally club, Mayans MC. Although the creator of the fictional MC, Sutter isn’t keen on getting too involved with the project. He explained that he wanted James to have his own influence on the story of the Mayans. The story is set far away from Charming, which is set in the central/northern part of California. Not wanting the two stories to bleed together, the Mayans have their story set primarily along the California/Mexico border.
Despite the desperation from Sons fans to know what happened to the beloved characters, especially Abel and Thomas, Sutter remains tight-lipped. Emphasizing the importance of the mystery of the characters, he instead talked about the origin of Sons and how he began weaving the story that we know and love. He started with the character of John Teller, a military man who had come back from the war. He and his crew were bad boys who started out as heroes, who one day became outlaws instead. In researching for the characters, he looked at World War II veterans as well as the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.
In addition to creating the story of Sons, he also talked about the casting process for the show. Charlie Hunnam, who plays the leading role of Jax Teller, was someone they found halfway through the casting process, while Kim Coates was the last one. And while Sons has been notable in its creation of colorful and memorable supporting cast of characters, Sutter admits to keeping the original characters two-dimensional and allowing the actors to fill the roles and influence the characters.
Despite some creators waiting years, sometimes decades, before they start new projects, Sutter went straight from Sons to The Bastard Executioner. He talked about his love of creating fictional characters in a fictional community, one that doesn’t hold any of the restraints of the real one. This was evident in both Sons and Bastard, but he realized that his mistake with Bastard was that audiences needed something to lock into. He referenced The Tudors having Henry VII and Game of Thrones having its source material and the fantasy genre. Audiences needed something to be connected to the show, and it wasn’t something that The Bastard Executioner had.
While Sutter didn’t spill too much on Mayans, he seems eager for viewers to see the next chapter of this mythology. While the pilot has been ordered by FX and the show has been casted, not much has been revealed yet. We’re waiting at the edge of our seats for the next installment of this violent and compelling world.