'Sons of Anarchy' 'Mayans' Spinoff Inches Closer to Reality With FX Script Order

Emilio Rivera SOA - H 2015
Prashant Gupta/FX

It's official: FX is getting back into the Sons of Anarchy business.

Some eight months after showrunner Kurt Sutter announced plans to revisit the storied biker drama, FX has officially ordered a script for the spinoff: Mayans MC.

Sons of Anarchy co-creators Kurt Sutter and Elgin James will develop the project, with James writing the script for the drama from Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions.

Mayans MC will have the same spirit as Sons, and is described as a dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1 percent outlaw, this time, reflected through a Latino lens.  

The Mayans played a strong role on Sons, which became FX's highest-rated drama series in the cable network's history during its seven-season run.

Sutter, as part of a cover story on his Sons follow-up series The Bastard Executioner, told THR that the Mayans MC spinoff will be a different show, noting that "tone, pace, storytelling will be unique." On Sons, the Mayans were positioned as a rival California motorcycle club, comprising mostly Mexican-Americans in the heroin distribution business. The Oakland charter, led by president Marcus Alvarez (played by Emilio Rivera), began the series as SAMCRO’s adversary. But as time went on, SAMCRO built up a tenuous working relationship with the Mayans, both as business partners and partners in crime and turf wars. (The spinoff will not be set in Northern California as Sons was.)

"I wanted to find a strong, unique Latino voice. Because I didn't think a white guy from Jersey should be writing about Latin culture and traditions. Elgin is that voice," said Sutter.

Homeless as a teenager, James was a fixture in Boston's punk scene and helped found a multi-ethnic national street gang that targeted neo-Nazi skinheads and drug dealers. After spending a decade and a half in the gang, James moved from Boston to L.A., where he was shepherded by the Sundance Institute Feature Film program. His directorial debut, Little Birds, premiered in competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. A few months later James began serving a prison sentence for a past gang-related charge of federal extortion. Little Birds was released in 2012 by Millennium Entertainment and won a National Board of Review award. On the film side, James is slated to direct A Million Little Pieces for John Wells and Plan B Entertainment, and is developing a film on the troubled life of actress Jean Seberg for Electric City entertainment, adapted from the biography Breathless.

Sutter is repped by WME; James is with WME, Electric City and Gang Tyre.

Should Mayans MC go to pilot and eventually series, it would join a scripted drama roster that includes American Crime Story, American Horror Story, The Americans, Fargo, The Strain and Tyrant. It would also become the latest spinoff of a storied franchise on cable that currently includes Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul at AMC as well as The Walking Dead's Fear the Walking Dead. Spinoffs continue to be big business on both broadcast and cable amid the so-called Peak TV era where with more than 400 scripted originals, it's increasingly challenging to cut through the cluttered landscape.