Three months after Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans M.C. was given the greenlight for a third season and co-creator Elgin James was officially announced as sole showrunner, James is looking to set up shop in some familiar surroundings by signing with Fox 21 Television Studios. The multi-year overall deal includes development, writing, and directing for television and streaming projects.
"I am deeply grateful for the endless support Dana Walden has shown me from the beginning, and the trust Bert Salke, Craig Hunegs, Jane Francis and everyone else at Fox 21 and Disney continue to show. They took a shot on me a few years ago and have tirelessly championed me ever since. I'm honored and excited to be able to call Fox 21 Television studios home and to continue this journey with these incredibly protective and creative partners."
– Elgin James
"We're happy to continue telling the story of Mayans M.C. with our partners at Fox 21 and excited that Elgin James has earned the opportunity to become the series' showrunner. Kurt Sutter identified and chose Elgin as his partner on the show from the outset and Elgin has been instrumental to the success of the series, leveraging his experience and creative vision to make Mayans M.C. with this incredible cast, crew and creative team."
– Nick Grad, President – Original Programming, FX Entertainment
In October 2019, series co-creator Kurt Sutter was fired from his role as series co-showrunner – which caught some by surprise as the move came a little more than a month after Sutter announced he would be stepping down from his role on Mayans M.C. if it was picked up for future seasons (see below).
Reportedly, the decision was made by FX CEO John Landgraf and Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden and was based on "several complaints " made about Sutter's "behavior on the set of the series." Sutter notified the series' cast and crew of his departure via email – it's still not known how this could impact his overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, which included 20th TV, Fox 21, and FX Productions.
Here's a look at the letter Sutter sent to the Mayans team (from exclusive reporting from The Hollywood Reporter):
Dear Team Mayans,
Apparently, Disney HR and Business Affairs has conducted an investigation into the unacceptable conditions that have been created on the set of Mayans in season 2. As you know, I've removed myself quite a bit this season, allowing others to take a bigger role in producing the show. It appears that philosophy has backfired. It's been reported by writers, producers, cast and crew that my absence and subsequent behavior when there, has only created confusion, chaos, hostility and is perceived as abandonment. Or at least that's how Disney has interpreted it. I'm sure it's true.
This morning I was fired by Dana Walden and John Landgraf for all the complaints levied against me. Not the way I wanted to end my 18 year relationship with FX. At least being fired for being an abrasive dick is on brand.
I deeply apologize if I've made people feel less than or unsupported. My intention was literally the opposite. But clearly I've not been paying attention. My arrogance and chronic distraction has created wreckage. Just know, I adore this cast and crew.
I'm not sure what the fate of Mayans MC holds. But if it continues, you'll still be in good hands. As I said at the premier, Elgin is ready to take on the challenge of running the show. I'm sure FX will get him the support he needs to find and follow his vision.
For those of you who wanted me gone, you win! For those of you who didn't, you win too. Although I will no longer be involved, I have no doubt the new team will move things forward with the same quality fans have come to expect.
Thank you for the honor of working with all of you.
I don't need, nor want, replies or condolences. I know where the love is. And for those of you who have it, I'm sure our paths will cross again.
The news comes after Sutter had previously said that he was planning to step down from his role as co-showrunner on the series to allow co-creator and co-showrunner Elgin James sole run of the show.
Sutter made some serious waves at in August at the official season premiere, announcing that he was stepping down from his executive producer role if the series was picked up for a third season. At the Hollywood screening, Sutter emphasized that a series centered on a Mexican motorcycle gang based on the California-Mexico border should be spear-headed by a person of color: "It's time for the white man to leave the building."
While initial reports were met with a sudden social media panic, fans took heart in knowing that the helm would still be run within the Mayans M.C. family: James would assume the role of showrunner for future seasons.
Here's what James had to say about his new role and working with Sutter for the past two seasons:
"Kurt Sutter changed my life. I couldn't get a job in a Walmart or a Costco as a violent ex-felon. He took a shot on me … I don't know what he saw in me … and the last two years I've learned so much from him that it's left me speechless, really. I love everyone on our show so much. We've become a family. I'm so excited about what we get to do."
As for Elgin being ready to take on the responsibility? No worries, fans… looks like Elgin already has the right approach:
"F— yeah. I'm wearing a suit! Yeah, I am. Being the boss, all that means is taking the chains off and letting everybody do what they do. Everyone on our crew, our writers' room and in our cast is brilliant. Our job is easy. Just turn the cameras on and let the chemistry happen."