UPDATE, with clarified quotes: While the initial reports about Kurt Sutter's future with Mayans M.C. didn't fully state much beyond the fact that he was stepping down as co-showrunner, here's a more full version of the quote:
I stood up here last year and shared my intentions about what I wanted for Mayans MC. That it was my job to honor the narrative legacy of S.O.A. and guide the transition into the new mythology of the Mayans. And with the help of an amazing cast and crew, I feel like I’ve been able to do that. . . . So as promised, it’s time for the white guy to leave the building. If we are lucky enough to have a Season 3, I will be stepping back as day to day showrunner and handing the reins to my talented and passionate partner, Elgin James. I’ll still be involved in a producorial capacity, but I’m really clear that for this show to establish its own unique mythology, one that I believe can be more potent and relevant than Sons, it has to be guided by a fresh voice. A voice of color, a voice that is still haunted by the struggle. And that voice belongs to Elgin James.
Below is the rest of the story, as written before the updated quotes (via Deadline.)
Minus the time he spent working on the feature Southpaw and the historical FX drama The Bastard Executioner, Kurt Sutter has spent the majority of the past eleven years fully invested in the world of SAMCRO for the FX dramas Sons of Anarchy and its in-progress spinoff Mayans M.C. The creator's fanbase was hit with a blow this week, however, when Sutter announced he will be stepping down as the Mayans M.C. co-showrunner for Season 3, assuming FX puts in the renewal order.
Kurt Sutter dropped that big reveal during a press screening for Mayans M.C.'s Season 2 premiere, which hits FX during the first week of September. Speaking to the fact that the Sons follow-up drama centers on a Latino biker gang and is set near the Mexi-Cali border, Kurt Sutter offered up this big-picture sentiment:
It’s time for the white man to leave the building.
To be sure, Kurt Sutter will maintain his co-showrunner and co-executive producer duties throughout the remainder of Season 2, which will go further into the questions that EZ and the Reyes family have about the death of the family matriarch. But should the season prove to be even more successful than the first, inspiring FX to start the renewal process for Season 3, that's when Kurt Sutter will pull up stakes and get out of Dodge, leaving fellow co-creator and co-EP Elgin James solely in charge of steering this brutal ship.
From the earliest days of the show's development, Kurt Sutter preached about giving Mayans M.C. the proper creative voice from within the Latino community, and the team he and Elgin James put together is presumably at a point when Sutter feels he can make a graceful exit without worrying about the drama's artistic integrity. Knowing how Sutter reacts to situations that are far less amicable than this, I think it's safe to say everyone would be well aware if there were actual behind-the-scenes problems that inspired him to leave.
To be expected, Elgin James isn't exactly sobbing over the notion that he'll be the big man on campus if FX orders up a third season of Mayans M.C. James championed Kurt Sutter for taking such a big chance on him as a "violent ex-felon," and told EW how excited he was to potentially become the solo showrunner in the future.
Fuck 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.
That chemistry is likely going to get ratcheted up quite a few notches in Season 2, with EZ now going gung ho about his prospect role within the Mayans club, though not in a Jax way. Things are only going to intensify between him and brother Angel, who will presumably find out from EZ about what happened to their mother, and how SAMCRO's Happy was involved. Meanwhile, Lincoln Potter is still slithering around, while Miguel and Emily are stricken by lots of problems, with marital spats an everyday occurrence.
Here's hoping Elgin James enjoys the hell out of dark and uncomfortable storytelling like that, since Mayans M.C. definitely isn't going to lower its guard to become a romance-filled medical drama at any point. Although that would be a most interesting one-off episode.
On the flip side, here's hoping that Kurt Sutter's exit doesn't cause FX execs to rethink any decisions to keep Mayans M.C. on the air for the next foreseeable future. On the contrary, I'm really, really, really hoping that Sutter will take this time to slink off and write up a pilot script for the Sons of Anarchy prequel The First 9, which is an idea that has been bubbling ever since S.O.A. called it quits back in 2014. (For what it's worth, FX Chairman John Landgraf told me earlier this year that the network is still interested in Sutter's prequel idea.)
Feasibly, Kurt Sutter leaving Mayans M.C. shouldn't have any major effects on how often or how majorly the spinoff is able to connect with Sons of Anarchy. And actually, it might be easier to get crossover characters like Jimmy Smits' Nero and more if Sutter isn't around, since he had the biggest issues with bringing in familiar characters just for the sake of fan service. Sutter sees problems in touching upon Sons of Anarchy elements that directly tie back to Jax, since he's wanted Mayans to exist with 98% independence of the flagship series. Will Elgin James keep those principles intact, or are we going to see Jax Teller's grand return before too much longer?
Mayans M.C. is set to kick off Season 2 on FX on (Teller) Tuesday, September 3, at 10:00 p.m. ET.