'Sons of Anarchy': Kurt Sutter Answers Fan Asking If John Teller Died by Suicide or Murder

Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has been answering questions from fans throughout the coronavirus pandemic to keep himself busy. However, there was still one thing about the show he wanted to stay ambiguous. One fan asked him to explain how exactly Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club co-founder John "J.T." Teller died. Teller's death before the series' events begin hovered over the show's entire run.

Back on Tuesday, Teller picked a question from one fan, who wondered if Teller was killed by Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and Teller's ex-wife Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Segal) or if Teller took his own life. "You're not supposed to figure it out," Sutter responded. "That was the existential drift (thanks Even) that haunted Jax. And now you."

Sons of Anarchy begins with Teller's son Jax (Charlie Hunnam) finding a manuscript written by his father, in which Teller said the titular motorcycle club had lost its way by engaging in criminal enterprises. Teller was dead, but Jax continued to feel the weight of Teller's impact on the club. Clay was the club's president at the beginning. In the Season 4 episode "Brick," Gemma told Jax Clay tried to kill his father, but fans still speculate the exact circumstances that led to Teller's death.

While Teller was only heard and represented with still photos in the series, Sutter said in one of his previous answers to a fan that Teller was the character he started with when dreaming up SOA. Sutter told a fan he began looking into the Hollister Riots of 1947 and its role in the evolution of motorcycle clubs from groups of hobbyists to criminal enterprises. The first character he came up with was someone who became disillusioned with this transition.


Since he still wanted to set his show in the present day, the character, who became Teller, who have to be deceased. Teller was a "ghost of things past," and that idea snowballed into a full Hamlet archetype. "Jax was the Prince," Sutter wrote. "John Teller, the ghost of Hamlet's father (also named Hamlet). Clay was Hamlet's uncle/step father, the murderous Claudius. And Gemma, Hamlet's mother, the complicit Gertrude."

The show ended with Jax dying as well. In April, Sutter told a fan Jax wanted to see the "mayhem" and his "outlaw" lifestyle come to an end. He did not want to see his sons Abel and Thomas join the club and hoped they could "create a new brand in the Teller family tree." Fans can relive that end, as well as every episode leading up to it, on Hulu, where the entire FX series is streaming.