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The audience at ATX Television Festival’s Friday-night panel for Mayans MC, FX’s upcoming Sons of Anarchy spinoff from Kurt Sutter, was half-filled with TV fans and half-filled with real-life bikers in Austin for the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally.
On stage, 16 members of the show — three executive producers and 13 castmembers, including Sutter, executive producers Elgin James and Norberto Barba, stars J.D. Pardo, SoA vet Emilio Rivera, Danny Pino and more — discussed the new series (following a first-look clip that introduced Pardo’s and Edward James Olmos’ characters).
Sutter spoke about the genesis of the series, where Mayans sits in the Sons of Anarchy universe and why the new show won’t just be the “Latino Sons of Anarchy.”
Mayans lives in a post-Jax Teller world.
The series takes place in the present day in a California border town, but the motorcycle club still feels the aftermath of what happened in the last day of Jax Teller’s (Charlie Hunnam) life (aka the Sons series finale).
“We talk a little bit about the ramifications of that final day for Jax,” Sutter explained. “It sort of changed the fabric of Northern California and trickled down south.”
There’s still a Sons connection.
Mayans features Sons castmember Rivera, who might not necessarily be the only person from the original series to appear.
“My job in this series, if we’re blessed enough to continue, is to transition from the mythology [of Sons] and honor that, because we want to acknowledge where we came from and those fans, and then balance that with having a show that is original and different and doesn’t feel like the Latino version of Sons of Anarchy,” Sutter said.
Politics are involved, but not central to the story.
“It’s not a political show. I do not write political shows. I should not write political shows,” Sutter said. “But the same way Sons was a fictitious club and family in a real world, the real world always impacted that show. The whole storyline with the white supremacist was based on the 45 percent uptick in white supremacy groups when Obama was in office. So, this is not a show that will deal head on with those issues but it is a show that takes place on the border, and it’s a politically charged, emotionally charged part of the world, and that will bleed into the storyline or else it won’t be authentic,” Sutter said.
The cast of Mayans is uniquely qualified for their jobs.
“The thing I love about this cast is they have more jail time than screen time,” Sutter joked. Added Rivera, “He hired actors to play badasses on Sons, but he hired badasses to play bikers [on Mayans].”
That said, Sutter wants the stories they’re telling to be authentic, so “my goal is really just to get the white guy out of the room as quickly as possible.” That means his voice isn’t the most important anymore. “I knew a white guy from Jersey should not be writing solely about Latino culture.”
Mayans could’ve been around sooner.
Sutter first discussed doing a Mayans-focused spinoff during Sons of Anarchy‘s third or fourth season, but that never came together. But when Sons was ending, he knew that if he wanted to keep the world alive, there would have to be a break between the series. “I knew I didn’t just want to jump right into the same thing albeit in a different culture. I was sort of burned out a little bit so I needed to do something else and something different and I thought a medieval drama would be good. That worked out well,” he joked, referring to the one-season drama The Bastard Executioner. “But it definitely cleansed my palate. … We creatively knew we wanted to put a couple years between the potential series so when I came back from Wales or wherever the fuck I was, that’s when the process began.”
Mayans MC premieres on FX later in 2018.
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