The intense, gripping drama series Sons of Anarchy has become the most-watched series for FX and has developed a devoted fan base rivaled by few other TV shows currently on the air. So, it was no surprise that it was honored at the 29th Annual William S. Paley Television Festival, saluting excellence in programming.
During the March 7th panel, a few hints were given about story direction and character development for Season 5 (the most notable of which was that it will pick up about a month after where Season 4 left off), which starts shooting in May with a September premiere date, and an update was given about a possible prequel series. Hit the jump to see the highlights of what show creator Kurt Sutter (“Otto”), along with cast members Katey Sagal (“Gemma”), Theo Rossi (“Juice”), Tommy Flanagan (“Chibs”), Dayton Callie (“Unser”), David Labrava (“Happy”) and Michael Ornstein (“Chucky”), had to say:
KURT SUTTER: I’ve always wanted to play with this idea – and I didn’t want to leave it to the last season, but I wasn’t quite sure when it was going to happen – of putting Jax at the head of the table and the ripple effect on the guys and the loyalties of it and where people land. For me, the interesting dynamic to play up this season is seeing Jax (Charlie Hunnam) at the head of that table, and the struggle that he has, of being king. Can you be the leader of an organized crime syndicate, and not become Clay (Ron Perlman)? And, if you choose not to become Clay, are you forced to suffer the same fate as John Teller, who was perceived as weak and extractive? For Jax, it’s the struggle between those two father figures, and what kind of leader he will become, and then obviously balancing the certain senses of the world that we create. In terms of story, the only thing I know we will definitely continue to play out from last season is that we introduced, in name, the character of Damon Pope, at the end of the season, and Tig’s (Kim Coates) clusterfuck with accidentally killing his daughter. That will be somebody who is the adrenalin that gets Season 5 started. We’re figuring out where all that goes now.
Would you ever explore the relationship between Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Tig (Kim Coates)?
SUTTER: No. I don’t think Tig and Gemma have ever hooked up. I think there’s always been an attracted, and the circumstance that we created in Season 3 happened, but they both felt somewhat alienated and were pulled together, and it was Tig that went, “Woah, what the fuck am I doing?” Whether or not Gemma would have moved forward with that, I don’t know. Tig has been the third wheel, in that relationship, for a lot of years, and there is that connection between the two of them. I don’t know where that’s going to go.
SUTTER: My sense is that Opie has never really recuperated from the time that he spent in jail. If you look at the arc of the character, he’s a guy that got out and he didn’t quite know how to navigate around his family. His kids didn’t know him, and his wife was desperately afraid of him going back inside. So, he had this life that he understand with the Club, but he had these polar opposites pulling at him. The whole thing with Lyla, I loved the idea that it took him marrying another woman to get to the place where he was able to grieve his wife, as unfortunately sometimes it does. That’s why where he goes to is incredibly sad. I think there’s been a lot of damage. That’s really why, at the end of Season 4, it just felt like it wasn’t true to his character to have him come back in that room and sit at the table. I feel like it takes Opie a long time to wrap his brain around what he’s actually feeling. He’s a soulful, deep-thinking guy. For him to get that information from Jax, and feeling that sense of betrayal, and yet that sense of connection and love, there’s so much going on with him that it just didn’t make sense that he’d be able to rectify that within a couple hours and go sit at that table. So, we’ll really get to play that out with Opie and Jax this season, and see how that relationship has changed. Can he come back from that?
SAGAL: I’d like to see more Gemma. I think that it’s going to be really interesting to see. You saw it set up. She’s estranged from her husband. Her son is in a power position, which she’s really always wanted, but there’s some kind of discourse going on with her daughter-in-law (Maggie Siff). I think it’s a really interesting relationship with the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law that are both in love with the same guy, and how you maneuver that. I’m sure she’s threatened by that position. Her world has definitely unraveled. I think it will be really fun to play that, whatever that looks like. This is a person that really likes to be in charge, likes to have everybody listen to her and likes to call the shots, and that may not be what’s happening right now. What does that mean to somebody like her, who doesn’t take no for an answer? That’s what I envision. I don’t know if that’s where we’re going. I just hope she’s all fucked up! And, it will be interesting to see if Jax will be the kind of leader that her ex-husband was because she ultimately was not very happy with the way he was a leader. Or, is he going to be more the kind of leader that Clay is, which she’s ultimately not so happy with either. So, what does that mean? And, why don’t they just listen to her? I think Gemma should sit at the head of the table.
ROSSI: Since day one of this show, I don’t expect anything. I’m such a huge fan of the show. It’s very strange. I love the show and I have so much admiration for every actor, writer, crew member and everybody on the show. Even when we did the first pilot, as these guys were walking on, I was looking at them and was like, “Oh, my god, I love him in everything he’s done. I love her in everything she’s done.” I have such huge admiration for everybody, and The Shield is and always will be one of my favorite shows ever on television. So, it is one of those things where whatever happens is fantastic. I’ve fed meth to a dog, I’ve been in a diaper, I’ve been in a bad situation in prison, I’ve been hanging from a tree, I’ve shot some guys in the face and I’ve hugged [Tommy Flanagan] in a bathroom. It’s fantastic!
FLANAGAN: I’d like Chibs to speak, maybe. No. I just think Chibs knows what the hell is going on. He’s got a very definite idea of what’s going on, and he knows the Club is falling apart. He’s the Sergeant in Arms, so he’s going to have to step up to that. He’s gotta step up. Jax is gonna need a lot of support. And, he’s torn between his love for Clay and his love for Jax.
CALLIE: I just hope Unser has the opportunity to duck, no matter what comes at him. That’s all I ask.
LABRAVA: I think Happy just wants to kill, kill, kill!
ORNSTEIN: I’m looking forward to losing more limbs.
How would you describe Tara’s (Maggie Siff) mental state now?
SUTTER: The interesting thing for Tara this season is that she’s in conflict, but unlike in previous seasons, where her conflict was “Am I in, or am I out?,” I think she’s clearly in. It really will be about, “Who am I in this world? Can I be Dr. Tara Knowles and still be the supportive queen that I need to be?” We’re going to begin this season about a month after Season 4, so she’ll have had some time to process, but not a lot. I don’t think she’s going to be quite in the heightened state that Gemma is in, but I think she will definitely still be wrapping her brain around what all this means.
What’s coming for Otto?
SUTTER: It’s just fun for me to do, and we will continue to fuck him up. I ultimately have this idea of really potentially taking Otto to the gas chamber. As much as I joke around about it, that’s such a part of what these guys experience. Death is such a part of their life. What impact would that have on the Club? What would that look like? What happens to somebody, in that process? I don’t know. It’s fun to explore. I don’t think there will be much Otto in Season 5. We’ll continue to play out some of the stuff we did in Season 4, but there will be a little bit less Otto in Season 5.
What’s the word on the prequel?
SUTTER: I’ve had this notion of really wanting to explore the First Nine (original SAMCRO members), and I’ve bounced it off of the network, in a couple capacities. It’s definitely out there. They’re definitely aware that I want to do it. I see it as a really different show. It wouldn’t be a continuation or another version of Sons of Anarchy. I see it as more of a political and social historical show, in terms of bouncing off the outlaw component against everything that was going on in the ‘60s during that time. I really have this idea of it being something different. Quite honestly, there’s a lot of complications with licensing and all the stuff that goes on when you have something that becomes “Property of.” But, I definitely have interest in doing it and the network is aware of that. Whether we’ll explore it immediately after this show, or take a break and come back to it, I’m not sure. I’m committed to it. I’d like to explore that idea, in some capacity. Nobody on this stage would be in it.