On the popular FX drama series Sons of Anarchy, the events at the end of Season 3 saw much of SAMCRO heading out for a 14-month prison sentence. Now, for Season 4, premiering on September 6th, the guys return to Charming and find it to be very different from the town that they left. With a new mayor and a new sheriff, the town has undergone some development that leaves the club less than happy with the new law enforcement in town.
Prior to their Comic-Con presentation in Hall H, actress Katey Sagal and show creator Kurt Sutter talked about the changes in Charming, the new additions to the cast (which includes Rockmond Dunbar, Ray McKinnon and Danny Trejo), how things have been for Gemma (Sagal) while the guys have been in prison, and the status of the relationship between Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Tara (Maggie Siff) when they’re reunited. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
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Question: Who do you think is going to be the most changed emotionally, after this prison sentence?
KATEY SAGAL: I would say Clay (Ron Perlman).
KURT SUTTER: Maybe, yeah.
What can you say about the new additions to the cast for this season?
SUTTER: New cast members Rockmond Dunbar and Ray McKinnon are two TV guys, but virtually unknown. I don’t mean that they’ve been in obscurity, but in terms of bigger names. They’re going to be playing our two law enforcement characters. Rockmond is literally the new sheriff in town, and we get to play out some racial issues this season, which I’ve always wanted to do. That will be a component with the thing that’s going on with law enforcement. And, Danny Trejo’s role is not as big as Ray and Rockmond’s, but Danny will be playing a badass Mexican.
Where will that leave Unser (Dayton Callie) this season?
SUTTER: It’s interesting, we were all trying to figure out where Unser’s character would be this season. I don’t want to give it away, but I’ll just put it this way, Dayton is such a soulful guy and such a soulful actor, we really get to take Unser on an interesting emotional journey with all the loss that he’s had in the past two years, between cancer and the club going away and losing his job and we made reference to his marriage being on the rocks in Season 3. He’ll actually play this very interesting, pivotal role this season. He gets put between the club and the family, in a very interesting way.
Will there be more between Unser and Gemma?
SAGAL: Yeah, absolutely. He’s great.
Will viewers learn a lot more about all the past secrets?
SUTTER: The letters will come to play out. The letters that were introduced in Episode 12, and then that Tara finds in the finale, will definitely inform an arc this season. Yeah, it will come to play.
There’s been a lot going on, in terms of social media. How has the way you interact with fans over the Internet changed at all? How do you feel about the feedback you get?
SAGAL: The feedback has been amazing. But, I’m not big with social media. [Kurt] is. I’m not a Facebook and Twitter gal, but my husband is.
Have you ever gotten any suggestions that you thought about incorporating into the show?
SUTTER: No, I don’t. I don’t take story input from my fans. All their input is pretty much, “More naked Jax,” which I understand completely.
SAGAL: And you do comply, a little bit.
SUTTER: It’s really odd, I don’t get any, “We’d like some naked Otto.”
SAGAL: He just keeps losing limbs.
SUTTER: Look, obviously the popularity of the show is something we get to see firsthand through social media, and it’s changed a lot, but I think social media has changed so much since the show began. It’s hard to really just look at it in terms of that. If social media was a straight line, you’d probably be able to chart it, but it’s all changing so rapidly, it’s hard to tell.
With 14 months having passed this season, what sort of Charming are these guys coming back to?
SAGAL: What I’ve always loved is that the name Charming implies that it’s a charming little town. There’s some expansion going on that they come to find when they get out of prison, and that’s a conflict for them. They’re not down on that. One of the reasons that Charming has always loved the Sons is that they’ve kept Charming charming, in their own special way. That’s part of the reason that the town has, in a way, supported them. So, you’re going to see some splintering of that, in terms of what that means to have it be expanded on. The whole season is about the inner-workings of the club. It’s a bigger foe when the internal workings start to implode a little bit, and you’ll see some of that.
How has Gemma changed?
SAGAL: Gemma is pretty happy, when things start. It doesn’t last long, but she’s pretty content when the guys are coming home and she’s got her grandchildren. She’s not on house arrest anymore. She gets to go out and get her nails done and do her hair again, and do all the things that she couldn’t do when they were in Ireland. In my opinion, those are important things to her. So, she’s pretty happy until something starts to unwind, just as it does. That gets her just a little bit hot and bothered, and we’ll follow along. But, the scripts are amazing. My husband is doing an amazing job. It’s going to be great.
How much of who you are informs your character, with your husband being behind her?
SAGAL: Gemma’s maternal instinct is really what drives her, in all ways. She’s all about keeping that club together and keeping her grandchildren together. Me, personally, I have a very strong maternal instinct. I have three kids and they are central to my life, so that informs some of what initially started. I’d like to say, though, that she’s not a lot like me and that’s what’s so fun about playing her. There’s instincts that are like me, but sometimes he’ll remind me that it’s Gemma and not me. Gemma is a real survivalist. This is a person that goes on instinct and is just always on guard. They live in that world of, “Who’s watching me now?” I don’t live in that world. I guess there’s a little paparazzi, but it’s definitely not like someone’s coming at me with a gun. But, these are people that live that way, so it’s just a different point of view. She’s very alert. She’s always looking to see what’s going to happen next, and looking over her shoulder.
Where will Jax and Tara be, once the guys get out of prison?
SUTTER: I think that relationship, when Jax comes out, is going to be stronger than it’s ever been before. If anything, prison has given him a better appreciation of what he has at home.
Katey, just out of curiosity, where do you keep your Golden Globe?
SAGAL: I have a little kitchen office at home, where I do all my kids’ stuff and everything, and it’s on the bookshelf above the green couch.