Sons of Anarchy ran for seven seasons on FX, breaking ratings records for that network and presenting an intricate, very graphically violent story with unmistakable Shakespearean overtones about an outlaw motorcycle gang in Northern California. Created by Kurt Sutter and starring a large cast led by Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman and Sutter’s wife Katey Sagal, Sons may have differed wildly in quality from season to season and even episode to episode, but it drew a passionate fanbase who even tuned in for supersized episodes in the later seasons.
One spinoff, called Mayans MC, has already been announced with a pilot order, and now Sutter is talking about another. Sutter has spoken over the years about a desire to revisit the days of the “First Nine,” the nine men who founded the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club upon their return from Vietnam; the Nine included several characters seen on the show as well as John Teller, the father of Hunnam’s Jax Teller.
In a recent interview on Tom Arnold’s 100% Honest Pretty Much... podcast, Sutter revealed that he sees Sons of Anarchy in “four chapters” - starting with the original series and then Mayans MC; one of the succeeding ones will look at the First Nine, probably in a one-shot, limited series. According to Sutter:
"We’ll find a way to shine a little light on perhaps John Teller’s manuscript, if we’re lucky enough to continue. And then what I would do is, not directly, but I would use that as a potential launching point to do the prequel. And that to me is a one off, it’s like 10 episodes - it’s not a series. And whether we do that in between seasons on Mayans I’m not sure, but that would sort of happen tangentially to that… It would begin in Vietnam with John Teller and Piney Winston and it would be about them coming back to America. Ideally to do each episode have a new member join… Maybe at that point Gemma’s there but it’s before Jax is born.”
The First Nine was a group of Vietnam veterans who arrived in California after returning from the war and began riding together; the disagreement later arose over whether the club should pursue an Easy Rider style hippie ethos, or to become the gun-running criminal outlaws they were during the Sons series. The story of the First Nine was frequently discussed on the original Sons of Anarchy series, mostly in flashbacks while Jax Teller read the manuscript/manifesto his father had written laying out his vision for the club.
Could this form the basis for a quality limited series? Sure. There are all sorts of storytelling possibilities to consider for adapting Sons into a different time period, while also shedding additional light on characters like Clay, Piney and Lenny “The Pimp” Janowitz. Also, the show has never before given us a full portrayal of John Teller.
The downside? The prequel series could be handicapped by everyone knowing the fate of just about every character, and that the story has mostly already been told.
We’ll keep you updated on Sons of Anarchy, Mayans MC, and additional series as more information becomes available.