It was a night full of F-bombs as the creator and cast of FX's motorcycle club drama Sons of Anarchy roared into Wednesday's PaleyFest event, moderated by Variety's Stuart Levine. While executive producer Kurt Sutter was shy to reveal too much about the upcoming season to the packed crowd, TVGuide.com caught up with him on the red carpet to get the scoop on Season 5. We learned that the show will pick up about a month after the events of the finale, which saw Jax (Charlie Hunnam) take his seat at the head of SAMCRO's table, stripping the presidency away from Clay (Ron Perlman). How will things be different now? Read on to find out what's ahead:
All hail, King Jax: Now that Jax has taken the presidency away from Clay, Sutter said the club will have to make up its mind about its new leader. "Definitely you'll see loyalties and tension between members," Sutter said. "Will [Jax] be able to lead that club without becoming Clay, and if he doesn't, is he forced to become his dad?" One thing you won't see is a complete divide of the club. "We did a lot of that last season, so I don't think we'd repeat that. I don't think it's so much whose camp you're in this season. It's more complicated than that."
Clay, the fallen: After putting a hit out on Jax's old lady, Tara (Maggie Siff), and killing Opie's father, Piney (William Lucking), and nearly beating Gemma (Katey Sagal) to death, Clay was stripped of his title and seemingly sitting outside the SAMCRO circle. Will he come back from that? "He'll start obviously from a fairly debilitated state emotionally and physically," Sutter said. "We're seeing where that leads him and who he is now that he's been stripped of all [his power]."
Gemma's not Queen B: With Jax taking the presidency, Tara has seemingly become the most important woman in Jax's life. What does that mean for Old Lady Supreme (and Jax's mom) Gemma? "It'll be a struggle," Sutter said. Interestingly, Gemma may turn back to Clay. "The interesting thing for me is that as much as Clay and Gemma have been estranged from each other, they're really in very similar boats," Sutter said.
Tara's new position: Just because Tara is filling Gemma's shoes doesn't mean she'll begin to resemble Jax's ruthless mother, Sutter noted. "We've always seen Tara struggle with, 'Am I in or am I out?' and now she's definitely in," Sutter said. "Now, her struggle is: 'Now that I'm in, who am I in this world? How do I be Dr. Tara and be the old lady?' It's not dissimilar from Jax's struggle as well."
Et tu, Opie: Devastated by the death of his father, Jax's best friend Opie (Ryan Hurst) was missing when Jax took his seat at the head of the table. But he won't be gone for long. "Honestly, from a storytelling perspective, having Opie show up at the table just felt too neat and too clean," Sutter said. "I feel like there was too much damage done to that character. We'll really get to play that out and see how that relationship has changed and [whether] he can come back from that."
New threats abound: At the end of Season 4, Tig (Kim Coates) ran down the daughter of the yet-to-be seen Damon Pope, a ruthless Oakland gangster who will appear in the fifth season. "We're figuring out who that character is right now and how that impacts Jax and the club," Sutter said. "We're only three episodes in in terms of breaking story, so it's all new. At least in the beginning, he will definitely have a strong point of view about what they did to his daughter."
Club secrets: Clay is only alive because Jax needs him to make the deal between the Irish and the Galindo Cartel (which we learned in the finale, was actually working with the CIA deal). That tricky situation will immediately put the new president in a difficult position when the show returns. "We're going to be bring back Danny Trejo this season and we'll complicate that," Sutter said, noting that the new season will not deal with the cartel as much as "the pressure of the CIA and RICO thing [that's] really hanging over Jax's head like the Sword of Damocles, forcing him to do what he doesn't want to do."
Do you think Jax will be a good leader for SAMCRO?