Mayans M.C.: Everything You Need To Know
When Sons of Anarchy launched on FX back in 2008, it was explosive. Unlike any other series on television, it was gritty, unique, dark, and intriguing and before its seven seasons were even over, there was already talk about a spinoff from creator Kurt Sutter. Four years later, Sutter and FX are finally ready to unveil Mayans M.C. to fans for the fall of 2018, and there is a lot of expectation and anticipation surrounding the new series. Ahead of the new series’ premiere, here is everything you need to know about Mayans M.C.:
12. When It Begins
Although Mayans M.C. is a spinoff from Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter wants to make sure the worlds are completely separated. In case any fans were hoping for some SOA crossovers, especially from Charlie Hunnam’s Jax Teller, Sutter placed Mayans M.C. to begin three years after the end of Sons of Anarchy (and Jax’s death) in a “post-Jax Teller world.” He then purposely released some of the first footage of Mayans M.C. to show a Mayans M.C. motorcycle flattening a dead crow on the road to drive home to audiences that SAMCRO is gone and this new show is all about the Mayans club. “It’s present day — in the magical time we live in. […] It’s a post-Jax Teller world,” he said. “If we’re playing real-time, it’s about three years ago [meaning the year 2015]. We talk a little bit about the ramifications of that final day of Jax. […] It changed Northern California and trickled down.”
Similar to Sons of Anarchy, Mayans M.C. is obviously about the life, loyalties and challenges of a motorcycle club, but also focuses on one specific character (like SOA did with Jax) however this time, that character is a prospect. “The format of a show like this always…centered on the journey of one man and surrounding him with complex and interesting characters that not only reveal his life but also his relationships to everyone and everything around him,” Sutter explained of the series. Of course, the show also focuses on Latino culture in the motorcycle club based on the Mexico/California border.
10. Main Character
Initially, Sons of Anarchy fans were led to believe that Emilio Rivera’s Sons of Anarchy character, Marcus Alvarez would be the main character of the spin-off series, but that isn’t the case. Mayans M.C. focuses on the journey of prospect Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes played by JD Pardo, who has appeared in shows such as Veronica Mars, The O.C., Drive, and The Messengers. The trailer for the show reveals that at one point EZ was striving for the American Dream with a great girl and great future ahead of him only to end up in jail and takes to the outlaw life with the Mayans after his release. Sutter revealed that upon seeing Pardo audition, he knew that he had to be in the cast, “I saw his read with a couple other actors and sort of knew what I was looking for,” Sutter revealed. “It was one of those things where I knew what I wasn’t looking for and then I saw JD read and there was something interesting and commanding in what he was doing.“ Interestingly enough, at the time Pardo was reading for any spot on the show, but not too long after Sutter sat him down to talk to him about not only being in the show but leading it. “We had this honest conversation where he told me what he wanted the character to be,” Pardo said. “I told [Kurt], ‘If you give me this opportunity I will not let you down, I will not let FX down, I will not let the fans down,’” he said.
9. Rest of the Cast
With Pardo starring as EZ, the rest of the cast looks just as promising! Emilio Rivera will reprise his role as Marcus Alvarez, the President of the Mayans MC Oakland charter, while Edward James Olmos, known for his roles in Blade Runner 2049, Dexter, and Battlestar Galactica stars as Felipe Reyes, EZ’s father who owns a butcher shop and does not agree with his either of his son’s involvement with the Mayans. Sarah Bolger, known for her roles in Counterpart, Once Upon a Time, Into the Badlands, Outlaw and The Tudors stars as EZ’s high school love Emily, who is part of a life that no longer coincides with his new one as an outlaw.
8. Minds Behind
As to be expected, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter is also the mind behind Mayans M.C. which he created alongside Elgin James. Additionally, Sutter, James and Norberto Barba are serving as executive producers on the series while Barbra was also brought in to replace Sutter as the director of the pilot episode so that Sutter could focus on writing. Sutter also said he made sure to bring in James because he wanted authenticity when it came to writing and portraying Latino culture. “My goal is really just to get the white guy out of the room as quickly as possible,” he said. “I knew a white guy from Jersey should not be writing solely about Latino culture,” he said about himself and making sure to get an authentic Latino perspective. In addition to James, Sutter made sure that the writing room was diverse and inclusive to all viewpoints and cultures.
With tensions higher than ever in the current political landscape when it comes to border control and minorities living in America, Sutter wants to make it clear, that although Mayans M.C. will touch upon real issues faced by Latino people in America, specifically on the border, and it seems many shows can’t help but incorporate the current political climate, this show is not about politics. “I do not write political shows, I should not write political shows … But, the same way ‘Sons’ was a fictitious club and family in a real world, the real world always impacted that show,” he explained. He continued, “So, this is not a show that will deal head-on those issues, but this is a show that takes place on the border, and it’s a politically-charged, and emotionally-charged, part of the world, [and] that stuff will have to bleed into the storytelling, or it won’t be authentic.”
6. Unique Cast
With Sutter making it abundantly clear that above all he strives for authenticity in his series, it shouldn’t be surprising that he took that extra step when it comes to casting. For Sons of Anarchy, he hired former biker gang members for input and in small roles on the show, but Mayans M.C. has even more one-time real outlaws on its cast. “The thing I love about this cast is they have more jail time than screen time,” Sutter said about hiring real bikers and convicts. Star Emilio Rivera, elaborated further, “[Kurt Sutter] hired actors to play badasses on ‘Sons,’ but he hired badasses to play bikers in ‘M.C.,’” he said. Actress Carla Baratta who plays Adelita in the series, opened up about meeting these men for the first time and revealed while at first they were scary, things quickly changed. “At first, I was a little scared because they’re big guys with big motorcycles,” she said about meeting her largely male cast members. “But the first time I met these guys, it was a big room and I was the only girl there, and they started talking about their puppies.”
5. Getting it to Pilot
With the Mayans spinoff in talks long before Sons of Anarchy even came to an end, for fans it seems it has taken quite a long time to actually get the series to the point of airing, and it hasn’t been without its obstacles. In July, 2017, Kurt Sutter revealed that after the pilot episode was done it had to be “completely reshot,” and some big recasts were done. That was also when Sutter brought in Norberto Barba to take over directing duties of the pilot, and many fans began to lose faith in the show’s production moving forward. Sutter reassured them however, simply tweeting, “This was the process for SOA. Shows Fox/FX’s commitment to series. Allows me and Elgin to improve cast, script, and direction! #MayansMC.”
4. The Bastard Executioner
Between finishing Sons of Anarchy and beginning on Mayans M.C., many Kurt Sutter fans know that he took a chance with the poorly received and quickly canceled medieval-themed series The Bastard Executioner. While many blamed that show for the delay in Sutter bringing Mayans M.C. to fruition, he says it didn’t play a part, but while working on the series was when he realized where his focus should have been. “The first discussion about doing a show based in the world of the Mayans, it was maybe Season 3 or 4 of ‘Sons,” Sutter said. “It came out of a completely different box. The network was potentially getting into business with a Spanish-language station and they were looking for Spanish-language content, and for some reason they came to me.” He continued, “Then as ‘Sons’ was coming to a close and it was doing well — very well — for the network, they were looking at how to keep the I.P. [intellectual property] alive. […] I knew I didn’t want to jump into the same thing. […] I was sort of burnt out a little bit,” Sutter said of the “Sons” universe. “I thought a medieval drama would be a good idea — and that worked out well — but it definitely cleansed my palate. They were like, ‘Maybe you should come back and write about motorcycles.’” He joked, “One day I woke up and thought, ‘What the f–k am I doing in Wales? Why is everyone on horses?’” Although the specific Spanish-language content never happened, it was what made Sutter start thinking about Mayans M.C. in the first place.
3. Premiere Date
After being teased with Mayans M.C. getting greenlit and going into production for over a year, it was finally revealed in early 2018 that the show would officially launch on FX for the fall of 2018. Fans then sat through numerous teaser trailers and tweets before in mid-July, the first official trailer for the series was released along with a premiere date. Mayans M.C. premieres on Tuesday, September 4 on FX at 10 p.m.
2. The Trailer
After an excruciating wait, the official trailer for Mayans M.C. was released on July 19, and a lot was packed into the one minute and fifty-five seconds. The trailer introduced audiences to Pardo’s prospect character Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes who is told by his brother Angel, who is already a member of the Mayans, that he should only get involved with the club if “he really wants it” and for no other reason. It also introduced an onslaught of the show’s main characters from club members to those on the outside of EZ’s outlaw life like his father and his ex-girlfriend. For those lucky enough to attend the ATX Television Festival in early June, the first 13 minutes of the pilot episode was shown before many of the show’s cast and crew took to the panel to discuss the new series. The pilot works on not only introducing EZ but on showing the tension between his old life where he was the town’s “golden boy” on his way to Stanford with his gorgeous girlfriend, to his new life with the Mayans, straight out of a stint in prison.
Kurt Sutter has made it clear that he wants Mayans to exist on its own outside of the story of Jax Teller and Charming’s SAMCRO, but there are still many passionate Sons of Anarchy fans hoping that some other known SOA stars make an appearance as their characters. Sutter is being vague about whether or not others such as Kim Coates’ Tig or Tommy Flanagan’s Chibs would appear in Mayans M.C. “Here’s all I can say: My job in this series, if we’re blessed enough to continue, is to transition from the mythology [of Sons] and honor that, because we want to acknowledge where we came from and those fans, and then balance that with having a show that is original and different and doesn’t feel like the Latino version of Sons of Anarchy. It’s my job to handle that balance so ‘Mayans’ can become whatever it’s meant to become,” he said of being leary of mixing the two shows too closely.