Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. creator Kurt Sutter has had time to reflect on his firing from FX earlier this month, and he said in a new interview that friction with Disney, the network’s new corporate parent, was a major factor — including a dark joke he put in the script for the season 2 premiere of Mayans.
“Bottom line, I created the circumstances that led to my being forced out,” Sutter said in an interview with Deadline published Tuesday. “I overestimated my value and underestimated the unf—ability of the mouse. I feel the way they expedited and qualified the move, was unfair, but the truth is, it was not a good fit and I had to go.” (This was not Sutter’s first time acknowledging tension in the relationship: In a letter to Mayans cast members announcing his firing two weeks ago, he referred to himself as an “abrasive dick.”)
A spokesperson for FX did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment about Sutter’s remarks.
As for the Mayans joke, Sutter explained: “Here’s what I did wrong on the studio network side, the reason why I had to go away. It all started with a joke. And not a very good one. There was a line in the season 2 premiere. EZ [JD Pardo] and Coco [Richard Cabral] were getting off the bus at the school where the drugs were being processed. There was supposed to be a really gnarly playground out front. Filled with debris, dangerous looking swings, sharp objects, rusty jungle gym, etc. As they exited, Coco sees EZ’s distracted and says: Lighten up Boy Scout, and gesturing to the playground, says, We’re going to Disneyland. EZ replies: Yeah? Guess this is where Walt [Disney] buried all the Jews he had killed. Coco comments: That’s dark man… And exits.”
Sutter added, “Although the joke came out of character and in any other environment, would have been typical of my brand of dark humor, I’m not an idiot. I knew it would ring some bells. Whether real or imagined, I was already experiencing the tightening of the noose. It was manifesting in production issues, creating more hurdles, etc.”
Disney swallowed up FX earlier this year as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Sutter told Deadline that although he changed the Mayans line about Disney’s founder and ultimately cut it altogether, “my patience grew thinner and thinner. And by the end of the season, I went rogue. Turning in scripts too late to allow notes to be addressed.”
His eventual ouster would leave Elgin James, his fellow Mayans executive producer since season 1, to assume showrunner duties.
As for his own future, Sutter said, “I would say that in the near future, my creative relationship at Fox Disney is done. Look, as time moves on and egos — meaning mine — are soothed, I’m sure whatever animosity is in the air will settle in. Right now… I had a conversation with Elgin where I apologized and said, ‘This is not how I wanted it to go down.’ Elgin said he felt bad, like it was his fault. But he just did what he was supposed to be doing and this thing just took its own course.”
At the moment, things are not looking good for Sutter’s proposed Sons of Anarchy prequel involving Jax Teller’s father, John. “As of now, the possibility of doing that doesn’t look that hopeful,” he said. “It’s their property. They’re not going to let me take it somewhere else. Right now, that relationship is in flux. With time and a shift in attitude, will we be able to do it? I don’t know. Hopefully. Maybe.”
Regarding the series he just left, Sutter said, “I truly believe that Mayans M.C. will be a better show without me. I have a financial stake so obviously I am rooting for it, but I think it can be a hit, because of the cultural elements and where it takes place and what is going on in the world. It has the potential to be a more significant show than Sons ever was, no disrespect to that mythology. But it’s just a different world right now, and I think those stories can be important to tell.”
Mayans M.C. airs Tuesdays on FX.