If you haven’t watched Sons of Anarchy yet, you should stop what you’re doing right now, tell your boss you’re not coming in for a week, and grab yourself a bucket (or ten) of popcorn for this epic marathon. Yes, if you have seen the crime drama, you’ll know that it’s one of the most intense, most detailed, and most entertaining shows to ever grace our television screens.
Following the lives of those within the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original (SAMCRO) biker gang, this show is so much more than men and women on motorcycles. However, if you haven’t quite recovered from the emotional ending of the season finale, you can rest easy knowing that you can fill your brain with these facts you probably didn’t know about Sons of Anarchy…
The show is loosely based on Hamlet
There are countless TV shows and movies out there that have been influenced by the legend himself, William Shakespeare. Sons of Anarchy is one of those shows, and it’s even been called “Hamlet on Harleys” in the past! There are various references to this tragedy throughout all seven seasons of this show, and this can be seen within the characters themselves and the intermingling storylines.
For starters, there is the theme of family rebellion and usurping with Jax’s father and Clay. As if that wasn’t enough, the show also hints towards the infamous Oedipal complex between Gemma and Jax. Yes, there’s a reason why their mother-son bond was a little too close sometimes.
Ron Perlman wasn’t the original Clay
There’s no doubt about the fact that Clay is one of the most impressive characters in Sons of Anarchy. His power is unbridled, and he goes through various different stages of likability – although his evil ways normally make it easy to hate him! If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know that it’s impossible to think of this character being played by anyone other than Ron Perlman.
However, Ron was not originally cast as the head of SAMCRO. That honor was given to Scott Glenn, who filmed the first few episodes of season one. Although he is an incredible actor, the network knew that Glenn didn’t quite have the grit they wanted from their leader. They went in search of another actor, and it just so happened that Ron Perlman had space in his diary.
The creator struggled to adhere to the network’s rules
As the story of Sons of Anarchy unfolds, you soon realize that it’s not exactly PG. Filled with crime, cursing, narcotics abuse, and more, it’s not the kind of show that you would watch with your kids. Because of this, Kurt Sutter struggled to adhere to the rules of his network.
He knew that he wanted to make his show as true-to-life and as graphic as possible, but the CEO of FX wasn’t the kind of man to approve cursing or gruesome violence. John Landgraf wanted to “leave more to the imagination,” while Sutter wanted the violence to be as organic as possible. In the end, they came to a compromise, and removed all traces of cursing from the show, and toned down the violence slightly.
Sutter worked upon the irony of it all
Kurt Sutter always knew that he wanted to create a show about motorcycle culture because he has experience of this life himself. As a keen rider himself, he has always been enamored with the way that the world views these clubs and these gangs.
Although many people believe these clubs are all about riding free and doing what you want, the reality of the situation is the complete opposite. There are hierarchies within these clubs, there are rules, there are regulations, and there are loyalties. He wanted to show this within his own creation, and it’s fair to say that he did an impressive job. It’s the rules within this club that cause all of the drama.
Charlie Hunnam struggled to say goodbye to Jax
Sons of Anarchy was on our screens for a whopping eight years, and the characters these actors play become a huge part of their lives. For Charlie Hunnam, Jax stole his heart, and he also pushed him as an actor. He spent eight years creating a lead that would win over fans across the world, and he found it incredibly hard to let go when it all came to an end.
In fact, Charlie would make his way back to the TV set numerous times when filming finished. He was friends with the security guards who looked after the lot, and so they didn’t take much convincing to let him in. After a few weeks, he finally decided to say goodbye to Jax and Sons of Anarchy once and for all, and he didn’t return.
Gemma was created for Katey Sagal
Did you know that the actress who plays Gemma is actually married to the creator of the show, Kurt Sutter? However, he wasn’t playing favorites when he decided to cast his wife as the leading matriarch.
When in the development process of his creation, Kurt used his wife and his family dynamic for inspiration. Before too long, he realized that it made sense to create a character around his wife, her personality, and her quirks and traits. When his character truly came to life, it made his casting decision pretty easy.
Dr. Tara Knowles became the “moral center”
Sons of Anarchy is full of anarchy and crime, and you often find yourself feeling guilty for sympathizing with characters who enact such horrors on a daily basis. That’s why the inclusion of Dr. Tara Knowles is so important within this series.
As the “moral center of the show,” Dr. Tara shows that you can still love these people without becoming like them. She loved Jax and his gang in spite of their vices, and she got to experience the strife and the struggles that came with being associated with these people.
Stephen King once made a cameo
It’s always amazing to think of some of the biggest names in the world sitting down and watching television in their free time, but that’s exactly what Stephen King does.
The legendary writer made no secret of the fact that he was a fan of Sons of Anarchy during its run, and Kurt Sutter eventually decided to reach out to him. He offered Stephen the chance to make a cameo, and he eagerly agreed. If you go back and watch the season three episode “Caregiver,” you’ll be able to see King dressed up as a janitor.
Charlie Hunnam is often given gifts
Charlie Hunnam is the star of Sons of Anarchy, and his character has been loved by millions across the globe. With his bad-boy attitude, but his endearing love for his wife and children (sometimes), fans spend their lives trying to meet this actor in the flesh.
When fans meet their idols, they often like to bestow them with gifts – and Charlie’s fans are no different. However, these fans like to give Charlie a gift that references his impressive character, which is why he has received countless knives over the course of his career!
Chibs didn’t have to sit in the makeup chair
Chibs is one of the most beloved characters in Sons of Anarchy, and his physical appearance is one of the most iconic within the whole show. With scars on his face, this just adds to the rough and ready reputation of the club.
However, it seems as though Tommy Flanagan didn’t have to sit in the makeup chair to make these scars a reality. When he was a teen, Tommy was the victim of a brutal attack that left him with these trademark scars around his face.
Katey Sagal thought fans would hate her
Gemma may be surrounded by men in the SAMCRO gang, but she did have her own stance of power in the clubhouse. In fact, she became the center of controversy when she sent the beloved Tara to the fishes using a carving fork.
When Katey Sagal first discovered that she was going to put an end to a character fans loved so much, she was concerned that it would be the end of her career. After all, nobody could forgive her for such a crime, could they? Thankfully, fans still love her, and they even greet her in the street with forks.
Walton Goggins had a specific request
Before Kurt Sutter wrote Sons of Anarchy, he worked as one of the writers on the crime drama, The Shield. Because he was loved the cast of The Shield so much, he asked many of them to take on new roles or cameos in his project.
He was originally reluctant to cast Walton Goggins in the show because he didn’t want fans to think of him as Shane Vendrell – his old character. However, Walton had an idea. He asked Sutter if he could take on a new and challenging role as a transgender character, and Sutter agreed.
Happy had his own connections
Happy Lowman was a fairly important character within Sons of Anarchy and a hugely important member within SAMCRO. However, it seems as though David Labrava didn’t have to act too hard to create this character.
He is actually a member of the famous motorcycle club, Hell’s Angels M.C – but he wasn’t originally hired as an actor. When he took on a job as the technical advisor on the show, he soon had an urge to showcase his own experiences on the screen. He asked Sutter for a place in front of the camera, and his wish was granted.
Kurt Sutter’s phobia was written into the show
If you’re familiar with the character of Tig, you’ll know that he has a few quirks. Most notably, he has a fear of dolls. While this is not a huge part of the Sons of Anarchy storyline, it is brought up every now and again – and there’s a reason for this.
The fear of dolls is also known as pediophobia, and that’s something that Kurt Sutter suffers from himself. He wanted to write this phobia into the show to put a piece of himself into the concept. Apparently, scenes with dolls were a struggle to film.
There have been some awesome cameos
No show would be complete without a few famous faces, and Sons of Anarchy featured various celebrity cameos over the years. In fact, this show had the pleasure of hosting the likes of Marilyn Manson, Henry Rollins, Courtney Love, and Dave Navarro on set.
While they only appeared in short segments, the inclusion of these faces helped people from across the world tune in. After all, who doesn’t want to see Marilyn Manson on their screens? There’s a reason why so many people applaud the cast of Sons of Anarchy.
Sutter had his own strict rules
While Kurt Sutter had to deal with the rules of the television network, it seems as though he had his own rules on set. As a meticulous writer, he always asked his actors to follow his script to a T.
He did not allow for any form of interpretation or improvisation while they were filming the show, and rarely took on the advice of those around him. If a character wanted to make any changes to their character or their script, they had to sit down and work it out with Kurt personally.
Previously on Sons of Anarchy…
Many television shows give their fans the chance to catch up on the last episode within the ‘Previously On’ segment at the start of the next episode. Sons of Anarchy does just that, but you might have realized that the voices are different every single time.
Kurt wanted this to be the case and got every single member of the cast to record this phrase. Now, if you watch the whole show from start to finish, you’ll realize that every single episode features a different voice. It’s little details like this that put this show above the rest.