Sons Of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. co-creator Kurt Sutter is heading to the Old West for his next project, with Deadline Hollywood reporting exclusively that Sutter and Netflix are in development on the potential hour-long drama The Abandons. "I've always wanted to do a western, even before 'Sons,' and then 'Deadwood' came out. There's that great lore of Ian Anderson wanting to be a great rock guitarist, and he saw Clapton play, and he said, fuck, I'm going to become the best rock flutist that ever lived, And he did just that for Jethro Tull. This is how I felt when I saw 'Deadwood.' I said, let me stick to the crime genre, and then used just about every actor that was on that show. But I do love the genre, and over the pandemic, I tried to get a western IP.," Sutter explained in his interview with DH when the project was first announced.
Sutter on What "The Abandons" Is About: "I've always been fascinated with the origins of La Cosa Nostra, how these Sicilian peasant families were being more than marginalized by the land barons and the aristocrats. These families banded together to defend themselves from these abusive land barons, and from that taking those matters into their own hands, La Cosa Nostra was born and became the authority and the law and the order of the land. There are other influences. Over the pandemic, I was watching reruns of 'Bonanza,' and first of all, it completely holds up. I remember watching it as a kid, but I just remember there's an episode where somebody gets killed, and Hoss just wants revenge, and I mean, like, dark fucking revenge. Ultimately, it's a Sunday network TV ending, but I just realized that the Cartwrights were a bullet away from being outlaws, right, and I loved that it all came from that deep sense of loyalty to the family, the land, the town. Those were the origins of this, with the working title 'The Abandons'."
Sutter on "The Abandons" Meaning, Themes, Environment & Timeline: "That was an actual term of the period where it was this kind of catchall phrase that described the outliers, the orphans, the prostitutes, the cripples, the bastards, basically the kind of lost souls living on the fringe of society. That is my favorite neighborhood. We are on the Western Frontier, somewhere between the Dakotas and California, small cattle town, circa 1850. So, it's post-Gold Rush, pre-Civil War, and then, some natural resource is discovered. You have this wealthy family, where the Hearst-like character comes in, and the aristocrats in Italy, and they try to buy out the ranchers. Most sell out, and then the ones that sort of refused are kind of forced out or tragically go away. But there's this one group of families that won't sell. They band together. They stand up to the oppressor. Choices are made. Some of them violent, and then, like the peasants in Sicily, they take matters into their own hands and create their own destiny. You have these humble, God-fearing, hardworking people who are forced to become the line in the sand. And of course, ultimately that line is drawn in blood. Thematically, it's all the shit I love; family, that fine line between survival and law, the consequences of violence, and my favorite and the thing that was so prevalent in Sons: the corrosive power of secrets."
Sutter on His Vision for "The Abandons" Season 1 & Beyond: "That whole first season will be about the evolution of them as, you know, turning into outlaws, in a period before all the iconic outlaws that we know, like Jesse James and Billy the Kid. All those cats didn't happen until after the Civil War, but the Pinkertons were around, so you know there were outlaws. So, it's sort of like the precursor to the James gangs and other sorts of iconic outlaws that we associate with the Wild West. So we might wink at history, say in Season 2 or 3 crossing paths with an 11-year-old Billy the Kid, and yet still be able to play in the fictional world, to me, is cool. And it helps me avoid the gunfights in the street, and experience the Western while I get to lean away from some of the expected tropes."