14 Last-Minute Changes That Saved Sons Of Anarchy (nd 6 That Hurt It)

Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy told the tale about a motorcycle club in the fictional town of Charming, and the relationships of the members of the Club. The show explored themes of family, violence and morality through the lens of tough-as-nails bikers.

Creator and writer Kurt Sutter helmed the show from beginning to end, and crafted a world where viewers could safely infiltrate the underground world of motorcycle clubs.

Sutter's writing style is gritty and does not shy away from showcasing the darkness of his characters. There are things that took place on Sons of Anarchy which are too intense to discuss, and it all came from Sutter's mind. Sutter is well known for meticulously planning out his storylines far in advance to keep his vision on track. Some of the most well-known show-runners plan things seasons in advance to make sure all stories align.

However, despite all Sutter's preparation, some things still did not go according to plan. When creating a television show, multiple curve-balls can be thrown. The mark of a good showrunner is how they adapt to those changes.

Some a last-minute changes helped Sons of Anarchy, but others did not. When something came along, the cast and crew would just roll with the punches, and sometimes they would be lucky. Other times, some unavoidable circumstances would occur that moved the show in a different direction than initially planned, and it wound up hurting an otherwise great series.

Here are 14 Last-Minute Changes That Saved Sons Of Anarchy (nd 6 That Hurt It).

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20 Saved: The Titled was changed from "Forever SAMCRO"

Sons of Anarchy Jax Teller Motorcycle

Those who are intimate with Sons of Anarchy know all of the ins-and-outs of the show. However, if someone had never seen the show before, there would be a lot to learn.

Sons of Anarchy fans know that the SAMCRO patch on the club member's kuttes stands for" Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original."

If someone from outside of the show's universe were to see "SAMCRO" somewhere, they wouldn't know what to think.

The original plan was to title the show Forever SAMCRO, however this was changed during pre-production to Sons of Anarchy. Making this change prior to any marketing means that the show likely picked up more fans instead of losing them.

19 Saved: Adding Happy to the Show

"Happy" Lowman quickly became a fan favorite on Sons of Anarchy due to his violent, yet hilarious ways. The only Son sadistic enough to get a happy-face tattoo after each life he takes, Happy found a home with the Club permanently in Season Three. His role in the show gradually increased over the seasons, as was only a special guest during the first season.

Why the slow start for Happy? David Labrava was initially hired as an advisor for the show, but slowly transitioned into an on-screen role.

The reason he was not initially included full-time on screen is due to his real life affiliation with the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. The decision to include Happy in a much larger role gave the series one of their most popular club members.

18 Hurt: Lee Toric’s Time was Cut Short

Lee Toric Sons of Anarchy

When Donal Logue joined the cast of Sons of Anarchy in Season Four as ex-U.S. Marshal Lee Toric, fans were initially not sure what to make of him. However, once they saw the evil he was capable of, he became a villain that they wanted to stay.

Toric did not spend much time as a rival of SAMCRO, but he was very memorable.

Unfortunately, what was initially planned as a full story arc only lasted seven episodes.

Logue had also managed to land a main role on the show Vikings which required a large time commitment. This forced Kurt Sutter to write him out of the show. Losing a great villain this early was a big loss to the fans of the show who wanted his story to continue.

17 Saved: Incorporating Chibs' Real Scars

Chibs and Jarry in Sons of Anarchy

There is no doubt that the actors who portray SAMCRO members are tough as nails. However, it appears that some are even tougher than initially thought.

Tommy Flanagan, who portrays Chibs, has very distinctive facial scars on his face, but it is a little-known fact that these scars are real. Flanagan received them when he was attached following a DJ gig at a night club in Scotland.

In a smart move, these scars became a piece of his character and were worked in to his rivalry with Real IRA member Jimmy O'Phelan.

Chib's scars provide a sense of mystery to him, and making the decision to write them in was certainly a smart one.

16 Saved: Tig's Fear of Dolls

Tig Sons of Anarchy

Tig Trager is certainly one of the more eccentric and macabre members of the Sons of Anarchy. While there is a laundry list of inappropriate details that could be discussed about Tig, they have no place in this article.

Instead, there is an aspect of Tigs's personality that was written in at the last moment that added another strange layer to his character. It is revealed in season three that Tig suffers from pediophobia, which is an intense fear of dolls. While some very strange things about Tig have been revealed over the course of the show, this was surprising.

This aspect of his character was written in as a homage to Kurt Sutter, who suffers from this himself. 

While this is a very interesting aspect of his personality, the less learned about how Tig's twisted mind works, the better.

15 Saved: Recasting Clay Morrow

Scott Glenn in Castle Rock

It would be difficult to picture any of the Club members being removed from the show, or being played by a different actor. The casting department for Sons of Anarchy really knocked it out of the park. However, it seems that one of the actors were not the first choice for the role.

During an unaired pilot episode for the show, Ron Perlman was not present for his role as Clay Morrow. The role was initially filled by Scott Glenn, of The Silence of the Lambs and Daredevil fame, as the President of SAMCRO.

Seeing how the whole show turned out, it is very hard to picture anyone else portraying Clay. It seems that the show runners thought the same, as the pilot was reshot with Perlman in the iconic role.

14 Saved: Charlie Hunnam Turning Down Fifty Shades of Grey

Charlie Hunnam as Jax Teller in Sons of Anarchy

When news broke in 2015 that Charlie Hunnam would be joining the cast of Fifty Shades of Grey as Christian Grey, Sons of Anarchy fans were upset that the show would not receive 100% of Jax's attention. While there is no doubt that Hunnam would have succeeded in the role, he ultimately decided to turn it down.

Hunnam's performance is one of the bright spots of the show, and losing him would have been devastating.

A feature film would have likely required him to take some time off of the show. Thankfully, he decided to focus his time and effort into SoA, leaving Jamie Dornan to play Mr. Grey.

Perhaps it was all for best, as Fifty Shades of Grey currently only holds a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

13 Hurt: Removing Kozik from the Show

Kozik and Tig in Sons of Anarchy

There seems to be a common theme here of great actors exiting the show too early.

Kenny Johnson was brought onto the show as Herman Kozik, a biker from another SoA club. For those who saw Johnson on either The Shield or Bates Motel, it is evident that he is a great asset to any show he is on.

Unfortunately, SoA fans only got to see him for twelve episodes before he met his demise.

Kozik's early exit from the show was a result of him receiving an offer to join the show Prime Suspect. Never heard of it? That is because it was canceled after on season.

Unfortunately, by this time his character had already been written off in a rather brutal way, so returning was out of the question.

12 Saved: Venus Van Dam

Venus and Tig in Sons of Anarchy

Venus Van Dam began appearing in Season Five as a trans night-working friend of The Club. As one of the breakout characters of the show, Venus became a recurring guest star on the show, being featured in over thirty episodes. Eventually, Venus would even become Tig's love interest towards the end of the series.

While Venus was a great character, fans of The Shield recognize her from previous role. Walton Goggins is an actor who worked closely with Sutter as Detective Shane Vendrell for most of the show's run.

Upon being asked to appear on the show, Goggins lobbied for his character to be trans.

Since she ended up being one of the more popular guest stars, Goggins' gamble paid off very well.

11 Saved: Hiring Chuck Zito to play Frankie Diamonds

Chuck Zito (another real-life biker) appeared as Frankie Diamonds during the show's fifth season. While he may have not been a memorable adversary, he has a history battling with FX's legal team.

Zito claims that when he went to FX with an idea about a biker drama, they passed on his idea, but ended up producing Sons of Anarchy shortly after. Zito took this as grounds for a lawsuit in 2010, and took FX to court over his intellectual property.

FX ended up prevailing in the lawsuit, but still made the decision to cast him in a role regardless. This likely went a long way toward smoothing things over and turning an enemy into a friend.

10 Hurt: Not Bringing Back Lincoln Potter

Lincoln Potter in Sons of Anarchy

It seems that when Sons of Anarchy delivers an outstanding villain for the series, they are just not able to hold on to them for an extended period of time.

Ray McKinnon's portrayal of Lincoln Potter provided SAMCRO with a worthy fight-- just not a physical one.

Potter arrived in Charming to take down The Club using the R.I.C.O Act set up by Agent Sthal. Unlike some other adversaries of The Club, Potter's intelligence made him someone who showed promise of taking them down.

Despite being one of the best parts of season four, a last minute decision was made not to bring him back on to the show.

McKinnon stated in interviews that he considered his story arc completed, which was certainly a mistake. There was much more to explore with his complex character, and not bringing him back hurt the show.

9 Saved: “In Memory of Opie” Patches

Opie and Lyla in Sons of Anarchy

When Opie brutally passed away in Season Five, it led to one of the saddest moments in SoA history. Opie was very loved by fans of the show due to his deep connection in The Club, particularly his relationship with Jax.

That is why when In Memory of Opie patches appeared on the side of the SAMCRO kuttes, it was a great homage to a beloved character.

Allegedly, Sutter had not initially planned to have these patches. But following fan outcry for their fallen hero, he decided to include a reminder of Opie that would carry on. Opie met his demise in the most brutal way, and his death lingered through the rest of the series.

8 Saved: Otto Smiling After Biting his Tongue Off

Kurt Sutter in Sons of Anarchy

When you are the writer of the show, you can afford to take some dramatic liberties while filming.

In one of the more gruesome moments of the show, Club member Otto Delaney bit his own tongue off during a police interrogation. In an effort to show his loyalty to SAMCRO, Otto would rather cause himself intense pain instead of risking betraying his group.

What made this scene even more disturbing was Kurt Sutter's improvisation.

Instead of just writhing around in pain, he decided to smile gruesomely at the camera.

Anyone who has watched the show knows that Sutter is delightfully twisted, but this was more intense than ever before.

7 Hurt: David Hale Not Returning

Taylor Sheridan as David Hale in Sons of Anarchy

Being showcased on Sons of Anarchy gave actors a great platform to showcase their skills. Unfortunately, this also means that they become a sought after commodity and receive offers to leave the show. While this didn't happen to all of the actors, it did mean we lost some of them too early.

Deputy Chief David Hale was The Club's first adversary in Charming. While initially thought of as a black-and-white police officer, he began to show some empathy towards SAMCRO. There were even points through the series where he worked closely with them.

However, the actor Taylor Sheridan had requested to move on to a different project, and was therefore removed from the show.

Sutter had only scratched surface with Hale, but fans will never know what he was fully capable of.

6 Saved: Half-Sack's Exit

Johnny Lewis as Half Sack in Sons of Anarchy

While the character of Kip "Half-Sack" Epps was beloved on the show, what happened to him afterward made showrunners happy that they cut ties when they did.

Lewis was written off of the show due to "creative differences" with Sutter, despite being an incredibly popular character.

Lewis left the show in 2009, but then started to encounter legal troubles.

According to reports, he was arrested multiple times following his exit from the show, and began to showcase violent tendencies.

This all tragically ended in 2012 when he took the life of his 81-year-old landlady, before taking his own. At the end of the day, if Lewis had still been employed on Sons of Anarchy, it would have spelt doom for the show as well.

5 Saved: Marilyn Manson Played Ron Tully

Ron Tully in Sons of Anarchy

The latter half of the series included multiple guest stars, ranging from actors to musicians. One thing they all have in common is that they were fans of the show.

One of the most outspoken guest stars was Marilyn Manson, who participated in a long story arc in season seven. Manson had initially only intended to provide a song for the show, but was asked to play a character. Manson was given the role of Ron Tully, an inmate in prison who assists Jax.

It was a breath a fresh air for the show's final season. While not necessarily the most likable character on the show, he certainly made an impression and played a big part in the final episodes of the series.

4 Hurt: Series Finale Leaked

When a series like SoA is coming to an end, everything should be done to ensure nothing is spoiled.

Prior to the scheduled showing of the series finale, Kurt Sutter penned a book called Sons of Anarchy: The Official Collector's Edition, which contained a discussion around events in the final episode.

While Sutte's book is a great way to share with fans, the book was sent out too early.

It even reached some fans three days before the episode aired.

Naturally, fans were very upset as they read through the book and became spoiled. Sutter was also very upset about the situation, stating "It pains me that this will be the parting memory of some fans." However, the damage was done. Unfortunately, this was not a good way to end the series, and should have been better thought out.

3 Saved: Not having Michael Chiklis appears as a Shield Character


As already discussed, Sutter had an affinity for including former Shield characters on SoA. By the time the final season was airing, former fans were clamoring for Michael Chiklis to appear.

Chiklis played Vic Mackey and was the main character of The Shield, so having him appear on the show was a big deal.

Thankfully, despite his drawing power, Chiklis did not appear as Mackey during his time on Sons. Instead, he played a truck driver for only two episodes.

While he did ultimately have a big impact on the series as a whole, the decision to not have him appear as his Shield character was a good one. Cameo appearances are always fun, but fans would have much rather focus on Jax during these episodes.

2 Hurt: Charlie Hunnam Calling Out Kurt Sutter

Charlie Hunnam Kurt Sutter

What may have seemed like a good idea at the time likely damaged a strong relationship.

Kurt Sutter has gone on record saying that he often keeps his cast members in the dark about some of the looming plot twists he is planning. While this can make for genuine reactions during shooting, it has upset some of the cast in the past.

According to reports, Hunnam was not pleased that some of the plans for various characters were not shared prior to filming. Hunnam does not agree with this philosophy because "[Actors need to] know all of the answers going in, and you make your choices accordingly." Sutter did not appreciate these comments, and shaded Hunnam on Twitter.

Sutter said "I regret some of my cast feel that the writers are conspiring to 'keep actors in the dark."

Clearly, Sutter did not appreciate his methods being questioned.

Thankfully the two made up, but there was surely some tension on set.

1 Saved: Juice survived until the final season

Juice Prison Sons of Anarchy

Juice's story arc throughout his time on Sons was incredibly tragic. His character experienced so much and became a broken man when all was said and done. Despite all of his shortcomings, fans loved Juice up until his very end.

After everything that Juice had been through, he was ready for the end to come. However, Sutter revealed that he had actually planned on removing Juice from the show much earlier. Instead of following through on this impulse, Sutter decided to keep Juice around and extended his time on the show.

He may not have had the happiest experience on the show, but Juice was still a favorite character. Theo Rossi should be proud of his performances, and keeping him around was a great last-minute decision.


Do you know of any other last-minute changes to Sons of Anarchy? Let us know in the comments!

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