For seven years, Sons Of Anarchy dominated cable on Tuesday nights. Kurt Sutter's motorcycle drama was a force to be reckoned with, and fans all over the world connected with the realism of the show's anti-heroes.
SOA amassed an incredible following over time, and it seems like even more people are jumping on the wagon now that the show has ended. In fact, there is still such a large fanbase that the first-ever Fest Of Anarchy is happening this summer - two and a half years after the series ended.
What made Sons Of Anarchy such a powerhouse?
Former SOA star Emilio Rivera took some time to chat with ComicBook.com about the show's spin-off series, Mayans MC. During the discussion, he revealed exactly what made the show such a big hit, and why people are so connected to it.
According to the actor, it all starts with Sutter's commitment to realism.
"He always wants to be as real as possible. Kurt does his research and he's moving along right now and helping out with that which is very cool because Kurt is one of those guys that wants to write and likes to do it. I love him for that because he wants to keep the culture the right way because those are going to be the biggest people that you want to ... I'm not going to say impress, but those are the people that you do want saying, 'You know what? You guys are doing a good job'. A civilian will see the show and they'll say oh that's how it is, but when you have real guys that watch it say no that's not the way it is. We want to do a solid."
Rivera is referring to the way Sutter stayed true to the MC lifestyle. Instead of just writing a show about outlaws, he brought in current and former members of clubs like Hell's Angels, to make sure he got it right.
David Labrava, who played Happy on the show, was originally brought in to be a technical advisor to Sutter. The actor is a member of Hell's Angels, and he was able to verify what was real and what looked fabricated.
Even Sonny Barger - founding member of Hell's Angels in Oakland, CA - approved of the show. The famous MC leader appeared in several episodes of the show, as Lenny The Pimp - one of Sons Of Anarchy's founding members.
Aside from the show's realistic nature, Rivera said that the actors' relationships helped to make it even better. The cast portrayed a brotherhood on-screen, but the men were equally as close when the cameras weren't rolling. They were truly a brotherhood.
After talking about his close friendship with Ron Perlman, Rivera went on to discuss his bond with the other cast members.
"Kenny [Johnson] is another great guy. I love Kenny. We hang out which I like but we're both busy running around doing this and that but when we do it's like we never missed a beat. The one I keep in touch with a lot is also Nathan Kelly. I love Nate. I love his dry sense of humor. He's a great guy. Charlie [Hunnam] when I see which is harder now because Charlie is always gone. You know what's funny? When we do the conventions and we get to see each other it's like we never left. That's brotherhood."
Hopefully, Mayans MC - the first spin-off series from the world of SOA - will match the same level of brotherhood amongst the cast.
The Mayans MC pilot is set to film this March in Los Angeles. Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter is directing the episode, with a script written by showrunner Elgin James. If picked up to series, the show will likely air on FX this fall. The cast for the series includes JD Pardo, Antonio Jaramillo, Clayton Cardenas, John Ortiz, Richard Cabral, and Edward James Olmos.
Set in the aftermath of Jax Teller’s death at the end of SOA’s seven-season run in 2014, Mayans MC will focus on the struggles of Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a prospect in the Mayan MC charter on the California/Mexico border. EZ is the gifted son of a proud Latino family, whose American dream was snuffed out by cartel violence. Now, his need for vengeance drives him toward a life he never intended and can never escape.