Sons of Anarchy aired its final episode of the year, J'ai Obtenu Cette, last night to become the series' most-watched finale ever, and the 3rd most-watched episode ever, as well as the #1 show in its time period across all of television, including both broadcast and cable.
Creator Kurt Sutter jumped on the phone this morning to talk about the Sons of Anarchy Season 5 finale and what it means for the future of the show. He confirms that guest star Donal Logue is returning next year. And that he still plans to end the show with Season 7.
"I can definitely tell you that Donal Logue will be back. We've made a deal with Donal for a total of ten episodes so far. I think he was in two or three this year. So I know that we definitely have him locked up for seven or eight next season. Most likely, it will be more than that. We usually make a minimum deal with an actor. And then, if we can, we do more. That character will be a big character next season. He will probably be the most dangerous threat the club has ever had. He is the guy with law enforcement weight. He has connections, and credentials, and yet...Because he is retired, he does not have the legal handcuffs, or morality hurdles that maybe some of the other law enforcement members have had. With a guy like Donal, who is fun to work with, and such a great actor, we have a lot of places we can go with him."
About ending the show with Season 7, Kurt Sutter explained the following.
"Season 7 was always my goal. Because I know how this cable model works. I know that at the end of seven seasons, the above the line costs usually outweigh the value of the show. I always thought, "Can I end this show in seven seasons? Do I have enough story?" So, I have always had that number in my head. Yes, I can do that. I have always had that loose construct of those seven seasons in my head. I still have those. We are still heading in that direction. We are planning for that. Look, if I get halfway through Season 6, and I have a sense that maybe I can't do this, and tell all of the stories I need to tell in seven seasons, than I think I can have that conversation with [FX]. I don't know what the solution would be. Perhaps the solution would be to extend the amount of episodes in the last two seasons. Or, is there enough story for us to do a season 8? Would that be viable. Could we afford to do that? I always thought I would shut the door on season 7. Here's what I don't want to do. I don't want to extend the show for another season, for the sake of doing eight seasons. I don't want to pad and fluff and drag shit out that should be happening in seven seasons, just for the sake of doing more seasons. Even though, I am sure the fans would love another season. I don't want to do that. If I get through half of the storytelling on season 6, I'll have a pretty good sense of whether or not I can tie it all up in seven."
Kurt Sutter also commented on the return of guest star Jimmy Smits.
"Jimmy Smits? I would love to bring him back. I think Jimmy brings such a gravitas to the show. His experience, bringing that new culture into the show. His Latino past, and that energy, mixing it into our show is fascinating for me. I love the relationship that is ongoing between him and Gemma. Really, I would love to bring Jimmy Smits back. We left it sort of open ended, because I wasn't sure of his availability. I think there is enough emotional weight on the table, enough relationship weight on the table, for us to continue that storyline. But I was careful not too pin any major story arc to his character just in case that couldn't happen. I think we are in the process right now of figuring out Jimmy's availability. And trying to make that work."
Kurt Sutter then took a moment out to address where Charlie Hunnam's Jax is heading in terms of the future.
"I really wanted to get to a place with Jax at the end of the season. One of my desires at the beginning of the season...The death of Opie really helped us accelerate Jax's emotional journey in terms of where he was going to be at, and the decisions that he was going to make. I really wanted to get to a place where that, perhaps, Jax realizes that he is better at being an outlaw than he is being a husband and a father. That there is an allure that comes with power and prestige that is perhaps...He wasn't aware of it, or maybe he was aware, and he didn't have to make a decision one way or the other earlier. That he got to the end. As much as he said he was ready to leave, maybe he wasn't able to leave. The intent was to have him have this very successful, yet bloody, and tumultuous, and painful run as president of the club...But ultimately, as all of that stuff came out flawlessly...The execution of Pope, the way he maneuvered that...He pulled that off like a Spec Ops solider. All of that stuff went flawlessly. And he was incredibly smart. While all of that stuff was going on, on the outlaw side, all of this stuff with his family was essentially falling apart. You know what I mean? He couldn't keep any promise to Tara. Everything was a false promise. Everything fell out of everything. At the end of that, he does one incredibly well, and one incredibly bad. Just the idea, maybe...Maybe I'm supposed to be doing this instead of doing that. I'm not saying that is where we are ultimately going to be with the character. But at this moment, and this end, there is a sense of, "I'm completely successful on the one hand. Yet, I ultimately failed at this other thing. Maybe I am only supposed to be doing this one thing." That is what I really wanted to do with it, where I wanted him to land there.
We had a list of things for Jax at the beginning of the Season. What does Jax want? Jax wants to get out of the drug business. Jax wants to get out of the cartel business. Jax has to get rid of Rico. Jax has to have Clay get his payback. His revenge on Clay. We had all of these things that we needed to do. We methodically achieved all those goals this season. But at the end of it, all those tasks were done. The fallout came on the personal side of that. Both families were in shambles. So Jax has a club with no more external pressures. There is no more Rico casing against them. There is no one holding a gun to them anymore. Jax has a relationship now with Eli, so that there is no pressure in town. He is removed. He has gotten out from under the big gun of the drug business. He has new deals going. But the club itself is in complete shambles. His inner circle is reduced to two guys now. Bobby was the last voice of reason. Bobby turning in that VP patch...Its not that Bobby is leaving the club. But he is saying, "I can't do this job, because you won't let me do this job". So, the club itself has all of these wonderful opportunities, its ready to flourish, but part of Jax job next season will really be about, "Now I have removed all of these external things. How will I fix it from the inside?"
I think there is a lot to work out between Bobby and Jax next year. I think a major relationship will be between Chips and Jax, which has really become his Opie now, his main guy, his loyal dude. I think there is a lot to play out with there. Is Chips capable of maintaining this level of loyalty while Jax goes on a darker journey? Will he then be burdened to be the guy with the voice of reason. What does that mean for their relationship? I think the main relationships that will be played out next year will be between Jax and Chips. And then also with Jax and Bobby"
There was also a question about whether Drea de Matteo's Wendy Teller will return anytime soon.
"I'd love to bring back Drea de Matteo. I think she is on another show. She got a pilot, and that will remain to be seen if that gets picked up. That is always a tricky thing. Sometimes a network is open to having their actor step out and do a few episodes of ours. But I think there is more story to be told with that character. I love where we went with it this season. It felt right. It felt organic. I think Drea had a lot of fun, and she had some bones and some meat to chew on with that character. Literally. I would definitely love to bring her back. I have more story I would love to tell there. Its really about her availability, which we will find out going into next season."
One of the most shocking moments of the Sons of Anarchy Season 5 finale came when Otto, played by Kurt Sutter, bit his own tongue off so he wouldn't have to testify. Sutter elaborated on this scene.
"This was my way of writing myself out of having to do dialogue. If Otto comes back it will just be a lot of grunts and me scribbling shit on paper.
My pitch on the first day in the writers' room was that I wanted to find a way for Otto to bite his tongue off, so I don't have to learn any more lines. We were going through the season, and everyone just laughed at me. Then we got to the end here, and it was my way of Otto committing. So, I didn't know if we'd actually get a chance to do it. We joked about it. But then we got to the finale, and there was an opportunity for us to organically play it out. I thought with a guy that was as fucked up as Otto, what better way to say, "I'm not talking." (Laughs) Literally moving the organ that articulates speech.
Look, I think that Otto is such a damaged soul, psychological and emotionally, at this point. I think it was really symbolic. He was telling the club, and the authorities, that you are not going to get a fucking word out of me. I think that is Donal Logue's response to him, when he says, "Way to commit." To me, it was him saying, "I won't be talking." He was sending that message to the club. As I said, what better way to send that message than biting off your own tongue?"
At the end of Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Ron Perlman's Clay headed off to prison. What's in store for him in the future?
"I really wanted to, at the end of this season, give the sense that there is a death knell for Clay. That he is essentially a dead man walking. I wanted to set that up. In other words, that Jax was successful in his death by proxy option that he is choosing for Clay. How that will play out, exactly, I'm not sure. Will Clay make it through season 6? I'm not sure. There's definitely more story to tell in terms of the mythology. But I don't want another almost death of Clay. I think that is very unsatisfying. I'm not sure where Clay's end date will be. But I think it will be within the year, though there is more story to tell."
Sons of Anarchy will return to FX in the Fall of 2013.