Whether you think spinoffs of popular television series are blatant cash-grabs or a legitimately creative way to further explore a beloved fictional world, 2013 seems to be the Year of the Show Derivative. AMC announced spinoffs in the works for both Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and now Kurt Sutter says his plans to create a Sons of Anarchy spinoff are moving forward.
It doesn't sound like it would happen right away after SoA's seventh and final season, but Sutter says network discussions are officially happening. The good news for SAMCRO fans is that he's being pretty open about his ideas for how the spinoff could take shape -- and despite my grumpy resistance to networks recycling existing material rather than taking a chance on new pilots, I have to say, this one has potential.
Back in June, Sutter confirmed his interest in creating a prequel that explores the formation of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club. At the time, he said he wasn't sure if he thought it would work best as an ongoing series or not:
I don’t know if it will be a series or a limited series of say 10 to 13 episodes. I don’t want to do it as a movie — tonally, I don’t see it as a movie.
Last Sunday he was speaking at the Sons for Sandy Relief event in New Jersey and he gave fans an update on the potential new show:
I've had discussions with the network about it, and I think they are open to it. I think there is something really interesting about the origins of the club. And to do a period piece set in the '60s, post-Vietnam could be kind of cool. I don't think we would dovetail and start right after the series ended, but it's something I'm potentially excited about it.
I wasn't thrilled about the idea of a Breaking Bad spinoff, despite my love for Saul, and I feel mostly ambivalent about an additional Walking Dead series that features an entirely different cast and storyline but presumably pits everyone against the same flesh-chomping dangers the current show does, but a Sons of Anarchy prequel actually sounds pretty good.
We know that the club was formed in 1967 by Jax's father John Teller, along with Piney, and that they were both Vietnam vets. They called the charter Redwood Originals because they cruised the Northern California coast before settling in Charming (and Teller thought Charming was too cutesy for a club name). The original members (the "first nine") included Wally Grazer, Thomas "Uncle Tom" Whitney, Chico Villenueva, Lenny "The Pimp" Janowitz, Clay Morrow, Keith McGee, and Otto "L'il Killer" Moran.
I'd love to see the backstory on J.T. Teller, how the club came to be, and the dynamics of those original members. Of course we'd all miss our current favorite SoA characters, but with Sutter's writing and some clever casting it seems like this prequel could be a lot of fun. (But who on EARTH would they get to play a young Clay Morrow, assuming he was part of the show? Ron Perlman has such a ... distinctive face.)
It definitely sounds interesting to me, but I'm not counting on any decisions from Sutter just yet. He's been a little wishy-washy on his future plans for SoA, even implying that it's theoretically maybe a tiny bit possible the show will extend past seven seasons:
I came up with the initial awareness that if this show was being done in sort of the same production model that The Shield was in -- and I knew that The Shield had about seven seasons. And I knew that at that point the show ultimately begins to eat itself and becomes more expensive to make. So I thought if we could get a full run I could tell the story I wanted to tell in seven seasons. And I knew by the end of this season I’d have a sense of whether or not I’d be able to do that, and I still think I can.
But look, I think if I got halfway through this season or at some point next season I felt like I couldn’t finish it, I’d probably be able to have a conversation with the network. ... (But) I think after seven seasons I don’t know if we can maintain the rhythm and the pace that we’ve done, and I wouldn’t want to extend it and have it become something that it’s not. So my plan is still to finish it out in seven.
Either way, it sounds like he's determined to tell his story the way he wants, and that's great news for viewers.
What do you think about a Sons of Anarchy prequel?
Image via FX