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Sons of Anarchy: 15 Things Only True Fans Know About The Mayans

Mayans MC Kurt Sutter JD Pardo Emilio Rivera

Back on the road later this year, Kurt Sutter is ready to hit the streets as showrunner for his third collaboration with the FX network. Picking up a few years after Sons of Anarchy's bloody finale, Mayans MC will delve further into the biker culture established on Sons, showing life from the perspective of the group's former rivals. The series will relocate to another part of California, just along the Mexico border, while also giving insight into the years-long process that goes into becoming a fully patched member.

Putting everything he had into the series, Kurt Sutter's violent biker drama shared the creator's morbid sense of humor while also keeping the story taut with tense family-based tales of betrayal. With the Mayans spinoff hoping to pull in record network numbers like its predecessor, fans can expect to see Sutter's vision revived on the small screen with a few high-speed bike chases thrown in for good measure.

Mayans MC is a project that's been years in the making with many viewers requesting a more in-depth depiction of the gang as far back as the earliest seasons of Sons. Although viewers are sure to know Oakland Charter President Marcus Alvarez, only the die hard fans know the behind-the-scenes stories and finer details that went into the formation of the fictional MC.

Take a ride along as we explore the 15 Things Only True Fans Know About The Mayans.

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Mayans MC Cast Behind the Scenes
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15 Casting a wide net

Mayans MC Cast Behind the Scenes

For the first season of Sons of Anarchy, Sutter focused on the small town of Charming, the headquarters of SAMCRO, the Sons' founding charter, but as time wore on, a network of other affiliated team leaders and members came out of the woodwork. By the series' end, viewers had become aware of many of the 29 established charters of the MC, including locations in Nevada, Oregon and parts of the UK.

The Mayans is a well spread-out MC that is known to have at least four known charters.

The main headquarters is in Oakland where Alvarez serves as team President, but there are also clubs in Stockton, Carson City and Santo Padre, the last of which will serve as the central charter in the spinoff series. Although four factions have been depicted, a larger collection of MCs are likely to make their way onto the forthcoming show in due time.

14 The Mayan missing from the pilot

Emilio Rivera in Original Sons of Anarchy Pilot

As the President of the Mayans' Oakland charter, Marcus Alvarez is a stern but capable leader, but actor Emilio Rivera wasn't always at the head of the table of the all Hispanic gang. Back in the early stages of the series, the cast had an altogether different look.

In the original pilot, Clay Morrow was played by veteran actor Scott Glenn and Rivera had snagged the role of Eddy "Hawk" Shaw, a character which was later removed possibly due to the creation of Tig.

According to Sutter, the character of Hawk was originally intended to make the cast feel more diverse, but he didn't want to confuse audiences by having a Mexican-American member in the Sons while also making the group's rival gang a cast of primarily Latino actors.

In the end, the decision was made to cut the character, though Rivera harbors no hard feelings about the change.

13 Sources of Income

Marcus Alvarez Jax Teller Clay Morrow Sons of Anarchy

Although Alvarez and the rest of the Mayans have shown a willingness to compromise and align themselves with other gangs if it suits their best interests, they’ve also exhibited ruthless tendencies against their rivals if it gets in the way of profit. Like any one percenter MC, the Mayans’ money has to come from somewhere and for them, the greatest share of cash comes from the selling of illegal substances.

In season one of Sons of Anarchy, the Mayans find themselves at odds with the One-Niners over control of distribution of illegal substances in Southern California, which remains their biggest moneymaker throughout most of the series.

Though the white powder is their main seller, they also branch out into different forms of illegal substances. In addition to that, they are also shown to be involved in night working, though to a much lesser extent.

12 A Very Stable Organization

Emilio Rivera as Marcus Alvarez in Sons of Anarchy spin-off Mayans MC 2

For seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, Jax Teller battled with the ghost of his father and the harmful mistakes of his stepfather while trying to steer the club towards a more legally sound future. In the end, Jax was no different than the other leaders of his rival gangs, becoming yet another victim to bite the dust by series' end.

Unlike the Sons, the Mayans showed much more stability on the show.

Marcus Alvarez is one of the only gang leaders at the start of the series who is still left in charge after the series finale. Other gangs including SAMCRO, the One-Niners, the Lin Triad and the Nordics had their leaders either lose their lives or get removed for one reason or another.

Reportedly, Sutter often joked about ending Alvarez in a blaze of glory, but he kept him alive when the idea of a Mayans spinoff became a possibility.

11 Sons of Anarchy characters could appear in the spinoff

Emilio Rivera and Charlie Hunnam in 'Sons of Anarchy'

As early as 2013, Kurt Sutter teased a Sons of Anarchy spinoff with rumors swirling that there could be a prequel involving the First 9. The official word about Mayans MC didn't hit until 2015, but ever since the announcement, fans have wondered how the show would be connected to SoA.

Sutter has confirmed Mayans MC will be set in a post-Jax Teller world, though he hasn't ruled out bringing back central Sons characters. 

For now, the only confirmed link between the shows will be Alvarez, who Sutter calls his linchpin in fusing the two mythologies together.

Meanwhile, Charlie Hunnam isn't letting the new series pass him by. Although he knows no details about the show, he's willing to make a surprise cameo on the condition that it's done through a flashback or dream sequence, but for now he's perfectly happy just tuning in.

10 Kurt Sutter won't run the show

When Sons of Anarchy premiered in 2008, it was Kurt Sutter’s baby. Starting out as a spec script writer regularly attending AA meetings to overcome addictions, he was rewarded the chance to join the writers’ room on the police drama The Shield. Quickly becoming a friend of showrunner Shawn Ryan, he became a top talent on the FX network and soon was known for his bold personality and lack for filtering his opinions.

After serving as a stand-up producer, director, writer and star of his first series, Sutter is ready to pass on the mythology to capable hands.

For Mayans MC, Sutter recruited the help of producers Elgin James (Little Birds) and Norberto Barba (Grimm) with Barba serving as director for the pilot episode. For now, Sutter is content taking a backseat, serving as a screenwriter while his new crew takes a more hands-on approach.

9 Why they're rivals with the Sons

Mayans Sons of Anarchy Enemies

Underneath the adrenaline-fueled drama of Sons of Anarchy, Sutter’s depiction of outlaw motorcycle gangs put the spotlight on race relations in modern America. Addressing white, black and Latino gangs, Sutter has said it’s an unfortunate reality in today’s society. The distinction separates the rival MCs at the start of the series and is partly responsible for why the Mayans and Sons aren’t on friendly terms at the start of Sons.

Angered by the Sons' stronghold over Charming, the Mayans are in direct conflict with the group in the show’s early seasons.

It isn’t until season four that the two enemy groups put away their differences to become allies, thanks to a shared association to the Galindo Cartel which sets the Mayans up with a lucrative deal. Ultimately, the alliance would establish a working partnership between Jax and Alvarez, though the heated tension between the groups would never fully dissipate.

8 Another reshot pilot

Mayans MC Pilot

Before Sons of Anarchy was the tough-nosed, gritty biker drama that won over millions of fans, Kurt Sutter’s gritty series was just another show trying to prove itself worthy of a time slot. The hard sell of the brutal biker lifestyle was further complicated by a pilot that experienced hard casting decisions early on. After filming the first episode, Sutter would proceed to completely recast the show in order to nail his intended feel for the series.

With Mayans MC in production, Sutter has ran into some familiar territory.

After completing the pilot, news that the episode has been recast and re-shot has some fans worried about the quality of the spinoff.

While no one knows exactly who has been booted from the original script, Sutter insists the changes are all just part of the process. Luckily, he knows firsthand that these decisions can work out for the better.

7 Alvarez's Real Life Gang History

Emilio Rivera Sons of Anarchy

Not one to skip out on authenticity, Kurt Sutter employed the help of real life bikers and former gang members to bring his FX biker series to the small screen. Some of the Sons, including David Labrava who played Happy, are famously affiliated with groups like the Hells Angels, but for actor Emilio Rivera, the show was another way of escaping his past.

Growing up in the neighborhood of Frogtown in Central Los Angeles, Rivera became part of the Frogtown Rifas, an American-Latino street gang.

According to Rivera, his life was put in jeopardy on more than one occasion by rival gangs.

After continuing down a destructive path which led to addictions, the actor sought solace in Hollywood. The gang member turned actor has come a long way since Frogtown. Today, he says each role is a blessing that's helped save his life.

6 The Hardest Scene to Film

Kevin Alejandro as Esai Alvarez in Sons of Anarchy

First credited in a small bit role in the Lorenzo Lamas series Renegade in 1992, Emilio Rivera has been acting for over twenty-five years, working with notable names like Spike Lee and Steven Soderbergh. After hours on sets, the actor still credits his nervousness as a motivation, but even with all his experience, there are still occasional scenes that get to him.

In the early days of Sons of Anarchy, Rivera experienced his toughest day on the set. In the scene, Alvarez teams with Happy to take out his son Esai in the season one episode “Hell Followed”.

Before filming, Rivera admitted to breaking down into tears and calling his own son to check in. With seven seasons under his belt, Rivera has seen his character make a lot of hard decisions, but for him, no sacrifice has been greater than the elimination of his on-screen family member.

5 Authentic Latino Culture

Kurt Sutter Elgin James JD Pardo Mayans MC

Setting records as FX’s highest-viewed series, Sons of Anarchy pulled back the curtain on the everyday gang-on-gang violence between MCs. Overseeing the production from its inception, Kurt Sutter oversaw every minute detail to ensure the series was as true to real life biker culture as possible, providing a diverse cast of characters along the way.

With the premiere of Mayans MC later this year, Sutter will once again revive the ride or die mentality of Sons of Anarchy with a new Latino flair.

Behind the scenes photos of the set teased in Sutter’s Instagram have already confirmed a heavy link between the characters and a Catholic upbringing, including one picture where the series’ leading star J.D. Pardo can be seen standing in front of a Virgin Mary statue. Another photo of the Mayans clubhouse reveals the Mayans logo etched on a stained glass window, fitting with the show's Catholicism theme.

4 The Bikes Behind the Club

Mayans Bike Sons of Anarchy

Apart from all the beefs between rival gangs, Sons of Anarchy is about the motorcycles. A passionate member of biker culture, Kurt Sutter encouraged each cast member to bring their own style to the series with a personalized bike. Although the Mayans' rides were featured less prominently, they were all given their own detailed bikes that popped up from time to time.

An avid rider in his spare time, Emilio Rivera is the proud owner of a Harley-Davidson Softail Deluxe as well as a 1940s style Heritage Softail, but one of his latest acquisitions is a Road King in custom green paint which can be seen on the show.

TheMayan members have similar tastes and can often be seen cruising on Softails.

More specific to the look of the MC are the aftermarket ape hangers spotted on each bike, giving them an extended custom look.

3 The new gang

JD Pardo in Mayans MC

As the Mayans MC premiere closes in, details continue to emerge about the cast of characters that will be introduced in the Sons of Anarchy mythology.

Cast in the leading role, J.D. Pardo will portray a character named Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a prospect of the Mayans who joins the Santo Padre charter as a prospect after being released from prison. As a proud member of a Latino family, the former golden boy is driven into a life of revenge brought on by the violence of the Mexican cartel.

Other confirmed members of the cast include Edward James Olmos who will portray EZ’s father Felipe, the once-strong family patriarch who hopes to keep his son on a more lawful and righteous path. Sarah Bolger will also join the crew as EZ’s past flame Emily who’s moved up in the world, trading in her past ways for a more luxurious lifestyle.

2 The Meaning behind their patches

Mayans Kuttes Sons of Anarchy

From Sons of Anarchy's pilot, the Mayans have established themselves as a formidable opponent of the Sons by stealing guns from their weapons storage and burning down their warehouse. In season two, things became heated when the group aligned themselves with the League of American Nationalists and their leader Ethan Zobelle, putting them in conflict with Clay Morrow and the rest of the club.

Named after the ancient Mesoamerican civilization, the Mayans wear a patch of a Mayan god on their kuttes as a fearful symbol of their strength as a group.

The Spanish phrase “Los Asesinos de Dios” is also worn, which translates as “Assassins of God.” From the beginning, the Mayans showed that they were not people who could easily be pushed around and with the premiere of their own series, Sutter will show why together they are an MC with as much history and muscle as the Sons.

1 Real World Inspirations

Mayans MC Behind the Scenes

There’s little doubt Kurt Sutter did his research before delving into the gritty real world drama of biker gangs. With every club represented in Sons of Anarchy, there’s a real life equivalent with similar characteristics. For the Sons, heavy inspiration came from the Hells Angels, for which many real members served as consultants.

The Mayans have a real world counterpart with a criminal history that dates back to their founding in 1969.

A confirmed organized crime syndicate located in Montebello, CA, the Mongols MC is an outlaw club with international chapters in over ten countries and an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 fully patched members. To date, the club has been connected to the illegal distribution of substances and well as more violent crimes.

Consisting of many Hispanic members like the Mayans, the Mongols share many past experiences, leading to the link between the two.

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