An incredibly popular show, Sons of Anarchy was near and dear to a lot of viewers' hearts. It succeeded because it felt like a window into the criminal world and also featured a long list of characters that were easy to get invested in. After all, when they managed to make you feel awful for Juice at various points, even though he kept betraying everyone in his life. That is a great storytelling accomplishment.
Just like every other TV show or movie, if it weren’t for the efforts many people, Sons of Anarchy as we know it would not have come into existence. For instance, not only did the actors, writers, directors, and showrunners have a huge impact on the show, but every crew member has their role-- and that is to say nothing about the executives at the network.
With all that in mind, it should come as no surprise that there were a number of things that could have happened that would have changed the show we know and love in huge ways. For that reason, it is time to look at a list of 20 crazy ways Sons of Anarchy was almost completely different.
In order for something to be considered for this list, it either needs to have been considered by the people behind the SOA or seem like it could have happened. On top of that, it has to seem like it would have made a big difference to the show as we know it.
Here are 20 Crazy Ways Sons Of Anarchy Was Almost Completely Different.
20 The show was almost called "Forever Sam Crow"
If you didn’t know, Sons of Anarchy was announced under the name Forever Sam Crow, which sounds like a children's show about a talking bird and his friends. On the other hand, when you hear the name Sons of Anarchy, you may not know exactly what you are in for, but it is abundantly clear it will not be for the faint of heart. The name really sums up the chaos caused by the criminal activities of the MC.
For those reasons and more, it is easy to imagine Forever Sam Crow failing to find the same sized audience that Sons of Anarchy accumulated.
19 David Hale Was Meant to Stick Around Longer
Quite possibly the most interesting of all Sons of Anarchy law enforcement characters, David Hale and his relationship with the Sons were absolutely fascinating.
After all, it was an opportunity to learn how they managed to enlist previous cops who were on their side, like Wayne Unser and Vic Trammel. On the other hand, he was so dogmatic in his desire to do what was right for Charming that it seems inevitable that he would break free of their sway, which could have led to havoc.
Unfortunately, audiences never got to see any of that play out as the character suddenly met his untimely demise. It took place out of nowhere and seemed to rob the show of an interesting story, it was never planned and only took place became Hale's actor Taylor Sheridan wanted to leave the show.
18 Marilyn Manson Was Only Meant to Supply Music
A late addition to the Sons of Anarchy cast, Marilyn Manson was brought in to play Ron Tully, a prison inmate with serious pull, in season 7. As another notable incidence of a musician giving acting a try, unlike so many others before him, Manson proved to be pretty good.
A racist who played a key role in Jax’s plans wasn’t exactly a character for the faint of heart.
Of course, as one of the most notable shock rockers in the world, Manson was never going to shy away from something because it is too extreme. Still, when he first communicated with the people behind SOA, he “just thought [he] was gonna get a song on the show.”
17 Happy's actor was originally just an advisor
One of several SAMCRO members that seemed like a background player, once Happy began to speak up, it was clear that he stood out. Despite his being willing to commit crimes at a moment’s notice if it helped out his club, there was still something lovable about the character.
David Labrava, a former real-life member of the Hell’s Angels, was first first was hired to work on Sons of Anarchy as an advisor.
However, once he got to know Kurt Sutter, he showed him some of his previous acting work and was given the role of Happy as a result.
16 Lee Toric Was Meant to Stick Around Longer
One of several Sons of Anarchy characters that were created in order to mess with SAMCRO, Lee Toric still managed to stand out. Lee Toric was a ble to have a foothold in law enforcement while also flaunting any kind of decency at every turn. The things he did to poor Otto were hard to stomach.
The only reason that it seemed possible that SAMCRO may overcome the threat he represented was his erratic behavior. Eventually undone by his need to relish in the things he’d done to Otto, Toric left Sons of Anarchy part way through a season. Actor Donal Logue had to leave the show due to his work on Vikings.
15 Opie’s Departure Wasn’t Always the Plan
Opie Winston never was Sons of Anarchy’s main character, but there is no doubt that many of the show’s most devoted fans cared about him the most. As such, when he met his untimely end, albeit, in a selfless manner, it really ripped out the hearts of millions of fans and stomped all over them.
It was an extremely sad moment to watch, especially since he did not go gently.
This was an awfully hard pill to swallow that may have even caused some longtime views to check out on the show. It wasn’t even a long planned moment that was part of some master plan. Instead, Kurt Sutter revealed that it came about organically and he said that he “never anticipated that.”
14 Walton Goggins Pushed to Play Venus
One of a select few actors who seems to make every project he is part of better, Walton Goggins is always a welcome sight on screen. First appearing in a Sons of Anarchy episode in the 5th season, Goggins plays Venus Van Dam, a trans woman that has chemistry with Tig right from the start, even if she denies it at first.
After being brought back several times over the show’s last 3 seasons, by the end, Venus and Tig have built the most loving romantic relationship in Sons of Anarchy history.
When Goggins was approached to guest star in Sons of Anarchy, he was the one that pushed to play a trans woman, resulting in a truly one of a king character.
13 Kim Coates almost didn't get hired to play Tig
Tig is an eccentric man who is liable to do something outrageous at any time so, it took a really deft hand to make sure that he didn’t become so cartoonish that viewers didn’t take him seriously. Kim Coates helped make Tig one of the most interesting SAMCRO members, especially since you could tell how much he cared about the club.
That is why it is amazing that Kurt Sutter revealed during an interview that Coates wasn't actually the first choice for Tig, but wound up getting hired because he already had experience riding a Harley. It's truly hard to imagine Sons of Anarchy without him.
12 Opie Wasn’t Going to Last More than a Season
It is pretty hard to argue against the idea that Opie Winston is the most lovable Sons of Anarchy characters. As the most relatable person on the show, given his complicated relationship with the club and his early desire to leave it behind, it was heartbreaking to watch him spiral out of control.
There is no doubt that the vast majority of the show’s fans took a special interest whenever he appeared on the screen.
For that reason, it would have been a real shame if things for his character played out as originally planned, which was to have Opie taken out before the 1st season came to an end.
11 Half-Sack Was Meant to Stick Around Longer
The go-to character when Sons of Anarchy needed to break the tension early on, Half-Sack seemed like a goofball that somehow managed to stumble into being a motorcycle club prospect. Despite that, whenever something serious went down, he could be trusted to have the back of every SAMCRO member and it was clear he was willing to put everything on the line.
As such, when the show’s 2nd season finale aired and he did not make it out with his life, it was disappointing that viewers never got to see him patched in.
It was later explained by Kurt Sutter that actor Johnny Lewis requested to leave the show.
10 Juice Stuck Around Longer Than Planned
When the cops approached Juice with info he believed would get him kicked out of SAMCRO, he clearly became desperate. As a result, no matter how you feel about his betrayal you could still feel the anguish it made him feel at every turn. For that reason, most viewers ended up investing in his character more than almost any other, whether they rooted for or against him. On top of that, his final moments served as a relief for the audience.
It's an emotional roller coaster that the show nearly went without, as Sutter’s original impulse when it came to Juice was to have him dispatched much earlier on.
9 Marcus Álvarez Could've Been a Sons Member
Some viewers may be surprised how often shows undergo major changes after filming their pilots. If Sons of Anarchy hadn’t switched things up, SAMCRO would have been quite different when the show premiered.
Actor Emilio Rivera, who played Marcus Álvarez, played a fully patched SAMCRO member in the original pilot.
Although we can’t say for sure that his original character would have been at all similar or had the same name, it is interesting to imagine a leader like Marcus Alvarez as part of SAMCRO. On top of that, his status in the club would have undermined the main reason why cops were able to get at Juice.
8 Season 8
When a show stays on the air for too long, audiences can often tell that producers are flying by the seat of their pants. This becomes obvious when characters and storylines that serve little purpose are introduced out of nowhere, like a baby being taken from its parents all the way to Belfast.
When Sons of Anarchy aired its 7th season, fans knew it would be the last. However, during an interview, Kurt Sutter said he would have been open to the idea of going further if the story demanded it. Considering every new season has the potential to change the way people view a show, it was good that he “wouldn’t want to extend it and have it become something that it’s not.”
7 Charlie Hunnam Almost Starred in 50 Shades of Grey
When casting for Fifty Shades of Grey was first announced, Charlie Hunnam was announced as playing Christian Grey. Luckily for fans, he dropped out of the role before production began.
Given the sour critical reception the Fifty Shades movie series has received, despite its box office success, Hunnam likely made the right call.
SOA fans should be happy he did this for two reasons, the first of which is that role may have changed the light they saw him in as an actor. On top of that, the first movie in that series was filmed at a time that would have distracted him while he worked on Sons of Anarchy’s 7th season.
6 Clay Marrow Was Almost Played by Scott Glenn
One of the most impressive things about Sons of Anarchy is that many people still cared about Clay Morrow despite all the awful things he did. In fact, when he ends up in the clutches of the club he led for years, your heart may have sunk along with his-- though he deserves his fate.
Clay's such an effective character in large part due to how marvelous Ron Perlman was at playing him.
In another example of how different the original Sons of Anarchy pilot was, Scott Glenn shot an entire episode’s worth of content as Clay Morrow before being recast.
5 Originally Gemma Was More of a Background Character
For a show that is said to be about a motorcycle club that only permits men to join, the series features some incredible female characters. Easily the most impressive of them all has to be Katey Sagal’s Gemma Teller Morrow. A matriarchal figure for every SAMCRO member, she cared so deeply about the club that she was ready and willing to do just about anything to support it.
Though undoubtedly one of the show’s most important characters, according to Kurt Sutter, initially “Gemma was much more in the background.” Fortunately for everyone involved and the series’ many fans, once the network read a script for the show, they “wanted her pulled out front more.”
4 Herman Kozik Was Meant to Stick Around Longer
You may be thinking that Herman Kozik was a minor part of the show, so his absence was barely felt. While that is certainly true for many short term SAMCRO members and prospects, including Eric Miles, Greg the Peg, and GoGo, Kozik is different since he had a lot of potential.
Introduced near the end of the show’s 2nd season, there was something fascinating about Kozik and his initially unexplained feud with Tig. Eventually he was able to create a truce of sorts with the man who tried to halt his potential SAMCRO membership, but it still would have been great to see them go at it more in the future. That is why actor Kenny Johnson’s request to have his character dispatched is a disappointment.
3 Standards & Practices Limited Language and Storylines
There are a lot of things that could be said about Sons of Anarchy, however, it's doubtful that anyone thought the show did not go far enough in terms of content and language. However, Kurt Sutter told Entertainment Weekly that he sought to take things even closer to the edge, but Standards & Practices prevented him from doing so.
Given some of the heart-stopping and skin-crawling events that were allowed on screen of the course of Sons of Anarchy's seven seasons, it's difficult to fathom what was so far over the line that it was forbidden from being shared on screen.
2 If Kurt Sutter Got Fired
If you have ever seen Kurt Sutter talk or read one of his interviews you’ll know he is far from other polished showrunners. In fact, if he spoke to the press and went without saying something controversial it was more of a surprise than not.
It also came out that Sutter got into passionate on set arguments with the likes of Charlie Hunnam, Tommy Flanagan, and even his real-life wife Katey Sagal. Additionally, his creative choices earned the ire of the Parents Television Council and there are others he butted heads with too.
Considering other showrunners have been fired for less, this all could have led to him losing his job, which would have had a huge effect on the show.
1 The Show Almost Didn’t Happen At All
If you pay any attention to television production, you know that every show beats the odds when it hits the air, but Sons of Anarchy had an out-of-the ordinary hurdle to jump. At the time, Kurt Sutter was best known for his work on an acclaimed show The Shield.
Rather than jumping into production on another show, Sutter was announced to be directing a remake of the classic kung fu film Enter the Dragon.
Had that film gone forward, at the very least it would have delayed Sons’ production and considering how things change, it easily could have put an end to the show before it even began.
Would any of these changes helped Sons of Anarchy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!