Kurt Sutter Casts 'Game of Thrones' Star in New Netflix Western Series

Game of Thrones alum Lena Headey will star in The Abandons, a new Netflix Western series created by Sons of Anarchy mastermind Kurt Sutter. The series is set in 1850s Oregon, where families jockey for wealth, power, and land. Headey is best remembered for playing Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, a role that earned her five Emmy nominations.

Headey will star in The Abandons as Fiona, the matriarch for one of the families in the series, notes Deadline. She was unable to have children of her own, so she adopted four orphans to create her own family. She is driven by a higher purpose, a strong Irish temper, her faith, and her love of family.

The Abandons centers on a group of families pursuing their own Manifest Destiny dreams by moving to Oregon during the 1850s. Once they get there, the families meet corrupt characters who want to crush their ideals and steal their land. They feel abandoned by society, so they create their own community to fight back. Their sense of justice is pushed to the brink, as they feel the law doesn't do what it should to help them survive. The series will also explore the consequences of violence and the danger of keeping family secrets.

Sutter first mentioned The Abandons during a December 2021 interview with Deadline. He dreamed of creating a Western for years, even before he created Sons of Anarchy, but he put the idea on hold after seeing HBO's Deadwood. During the pandemic, he tried to obtain the rights to a Western IP, but when that didn't work out he came up with the original idea for this series instead. Since Sutter was already working with Netflix on his upcoming film The Beast and former FX executive Danielle Woodrow moved to the streamer, he pitched the idea to them. Netflix quickly green-lit the idea. In October 2022, Netflix granted the series a 10-episode Season 1 order.

While the show is set in the West, Sutter told Deadline one of his influences on the show was his research into La Cosa Nostra. "I've always been fascinated with the origins of La Cosa Nostra, how these Sicilian peasant families were being more than marginalized by the land barons and the aristocrats," he explained. "These families banded together to defend themselves from these abusive land barons, and from that taking those matters into their own hands, La Cosa Nostra was born and became the authority and the law and the order of the land."

Sutter will serve as showrunner and executive producer on The Abandons under his Sutterink banner. Stephen Surjik and Otto Bathurst will handle directing episodes and are executive producers. Emmy Grinwis is also an executive producer.

Headey was recently seen on Netflix in Gunpowder Milkshake. Her next project is White House Plumbers, a Watergate limited series in which she plays Dorothy Hunt opposite Woody Harrelson as E. Howard Hunt. She starred in all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. Heady recently broke into directing with her BAFTA-nominated short film The Trap, which will soon be remade into a feature film.