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Mayans M.C.: That Sons of Anarchy Cameo, Explained

It didn't take long for a familiar face to pop it

Kaitlin Thomas

From the very minute FX announced it was developing a spin-off of its highest-rated program Sons of Anarchy, fans of the biker drama have wondered which familiar faces might pop up in the new series, which is set a few years after Jax Teller's (Charlie Hunnam) gruesome death on a California highway. It didn't take long to find out; in Tuesday's series premiere of Mayans M.C., fans received their answer in the form of Gemma Teller-Morrow (Katey Sagal).

As any Sons of Anarchy fans knows, Gemma died in the penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy when Jax shot her, so she appears here via flashback, a device creator Kurt Sutter told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in August that he purposefully stayed away from during Sons because he felt it pulled viewers out of reality. However, Mayans M.C. makes use of flashbacks because the show's leading man, EZ Reyes (JD Pardo), has a photographic memory, and flashbacks, Sutter said, feel "like an organic way to tell his story."

Mayans M.C. Might Be Familiar, but It's Not the Second Coming of Jax Teller

In the scene in question, EZ's girlfriend Emily (Sarah Bolger) reveals to an imprisoned EZ that she's pregnant with his child. In the background, you can see a woman with Gemma's signature highlighted hair sitting at another table in the visitation room. When Emily runs out and an upset EZ is dragged away by prison guards, we plainly see Gemma has witnessed the entire thing. She also is heard calling the guards "assholes," because this is Gemma we're talking about.

"I will say that we did a lot of research to make sure that [the cameo] would work," co-creator Elgin James told TV Guide of when the flashback takes place within the timeline of Sons of Anarchy. "We did a lot of research on when this would be."


Sarah Bolger, Mayans M.C.

Prashant Gupta/FX

According to James, Gemma's appearance in the prison might actually be between seasons, and by our math -- we know the events portrayed in the flashback happened eight years ago -- it likely occurs in 2010. And this would make sense, because if it happens between Seasons 3 and 4, Jax and several others club members were in prison at that time.

According to Sutter, the Gemma cameo was "a way of letting us know that [EZ] was in Stockton," which is a place the two worlds of Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. could ultimately collide in a realistic way. However, this doesn't mean we'll only see Sons of Anarchy characters in flashbacks -- Emilio Rivera's Marcus Alvarez, the founder of the Mayans, obviously plays a role within the series -- but it does mean that the chances of seeing more familiar faces just went up, since nearly everyone of importance died before Sons of Anarchy ended.

Mayans M.C. airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.

Additional reporting by Megan Vick