The “Sons of Anarchy” world rolls on, with FX’s announcement they’ve ordered a pilot for “Mayans MC,” a follow up series focusing on a rival motorcycle club from “SoA” creator Kurt Sutter:
“Mayans MC is set in a post Jax Teller world, where EZ Reyes, a prospect in the Mayan MC charter on the Cali/Mexi border, struggles with his desire for vengeance against the cartel, and his need for respect from the women he loves.”
From the sounds of it, this will be a show filled with new characters and stories that don’t really interact with the original “SoA.” After all, the club never even made it to Los Angeles, let alone the border between California and Mexico, so any interaction between this Mayans chapter and what’s left of SAMCRO seems unlikely.
Perhaps that’s a good thing, though. With seven years of “Sons of Anarchy” to reflect on, there are paths “Mayans MC” can and should go down — if also a few it should avoid, if at all possible.
What ‘Mayans MC’ should be…
This is a series that should open viewers up to an entirely new world, stocked with characters they’ve never met before. Putting the focus on a different club, in a new location, makes it easy to tell all-new stories from a unique perspective.
Whereas in “SOA,” the main club was largely white and lived in the country, “Mayans” could have an urban setting, a more racially diverse crew and the ability to jump back and forth between the United States and Mexico, showing the differences in the way the two countries work.
While having occasional appearances by familiar faces from the old show — Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) has to be involved, right? — it would be smart to keep the two shows largely separated, as far as characters go.
Think of it like the Netflix/Marvel shows and their tangential connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Mayans MC” can and should make references to the larger world “SOA” fans know, but not let it drive their stories. This is the tale of the Mayans Motorcycle Club — and more specifically, EZ Reyes. Let them be the stars, rather than relying on the nostalgia of “Sons of Anarchy” to power the show.
What “Mayans MC” shouldn’t be…
If there’s one thing Sutter should avoid in this new project, it’s making the characters so fundamentally evil that it’s impossible to root for them. That’s an issue that plagued the latter season of “Sons of Anarchy.” By the time the show ended, you didn’t feel remorse or sadness for any character’s particular story. Any goodness that might have been in them — From Jax (Charlie Hunnam) on down the line — was utterly destroyed.
“Mayans” needs a hero that the audience can at least have some form of hope for. While “SOA” brought FX record ratings throughout its run, by the end it was hard to watch the series without feeling devastated at every turn.
There’s room for a lot of the evil that comes from the universe the original show created, but “Mayans” will hopefully even it out with a little bit of light. That’s something “SOA” did in its early seasons and it helped to make so much of the darkness feel justified.
That’s the lesson “Mayans MC” needs to take away from its parent series. Play with the darkness but don’t revel in it. By the end of “Sons of Anarchy” it was such a self-indulgent sadness parade that it was hard to feel good about anything but it finally being over. That’s not a road the Mayans should ride down.