Spoiler alert: Following Sons of Anarchy‘s Dec. 9 series finale, creator Kurt Sutter and star Charlie Hunnam spoke about Jax’s fate on Anarchy Afterword. Here are the highlights:
KURT SUTTER: We had the conversations, and not to be morbid, but I think the example I used was the idea of someone that’s struggling or in a manic state or depressed or heavy hearted, that when they make that decision to end it in some way that there is a certain amount of peace that falls over them. They’re no longer burdened by whatever it is they’re burdened by. We had talked about that a little bit as being perhaps an influence on some of the choices that Jax was making.
CHARLIE HUNNAM: As you know, that resonated so clearly with me in the penultimate episode, in 712. I loved the freedom that you gave Jax and me playing him in those last two episodes. The emotional crescendo that happens for Jax certainly in this season’s story, but really in his journey, that epiphany moment of really realizing who his mother was and that specifically that she was responsible for Tara’s death—that’s sort of a moment that we were marching toward all season. And I loved that you chose to have that moment in 711, because it created that sense of clarity of vision of what he needed to do, of responsibility, but also I think that it came with that sense of liberation. If you remember, we had talked about there being various potential versions of the end in the beginning of the season, and had a couple of conversations as we went through the season, and when I read that episode, 712, even without us discussing it, I received so clearly from your writing that sense of liberation and peace and calm. And that was the moment that it really dawned on me that you had decided to really go for it, and that we were gonna say goodbye to Jax at the end. That’s when I asked you to have that conversation to talk me through if he knew exactly at that point what his plan was, because if he did know, and I felt like he did, then I needed to know, too.
SUTTER: Yeah, I think so. I had a sense from the beginning of this ride that I liked the notion of Jax being brought to the same place of his father but getting it right. You know what I mean? And the idea that he was going to go out in the same way—whether it’s tribute, whether it’s going out on the road—but I wasn’t sure how much of it I was gonna leave up to the imagination of people. There was discussion that he’s on the road, and we see that truck and we leave it sort of open-ended. Then ultimately, I felt like this has not been a show of what ifs…. This has always been a show about direct, specific choices, and direct, specific consequences, so I realized I needed to be clear in terms of whether it happened or it didn’t. And I just felt that it ultimately was the greatest sacrifice, and that’s how it would have to end.
HUNNAM: The thing that I loved about the way you chose to end the show… for me, it felt like the greatest celebration of who Jax was. I got the sense that being away from the family and being away from the club, there was no real happiness for him. And I felt truly in my heart, as the man who was so close to this character in those final moments, that he had found true peace and happiness, and I walk away from this celebrating his life and feeling as though he did exactly what he set out to do.
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More on Jax’s mindset:
HUNNAM: He’s got himself into a bind. He’s in a corner and decided that the only way to extract himself from this situation and keep everyone in tact was to remove himself completely. And like we discussed, I think there was a great sense of peace and liberation that came with that decision. And then, you know, I think he knew he wanted to be out on the bike, which is where he was always happiest. He’s out there, and decided to have a little fun with the cops as you would in that situation. I know I certainly would with nothing else to lose, why not piss off 500 cops? A little extra bonus. So he’s out there on the road, and I think fate stepped in: that truck presented itself and he just thought, “Perfect. This is the moment. This is right.”….It was the final sign that this is the right course of action. Everything was gonna fine.
SUTTER: It was this sort of beautiful sadness, but like joy as well.
On Michael Chiklis’ truck driver, Milo:
SUTTER: There was an opportunity to have somebody driving that truck at the end, and I just thought I loved the callback or the irony of it being [The Shield‘s Michael] Chiklis who ultimately runs head-on into Jax Teller. And then from that, I thought, well, there’s an opportunity here to perhaps set that up in terms of who this guy is so that when he comes back into our world that it’s organic and yet, it feels a little bit like part of the fate, part of the destiny of all these characters—that he intersects with Gemma, and that perhaps spending the time to take her somewhere created that gap. You know what I mean? So that it all sort of came together. I went over and stopped by Chiky’s house and had a conversation with him about it, and he loved the idea.
On the Homeless Lady:
SUTTER: Jax understood, and that’s all that really matters….I loved the idea that people have varied opinions of who she is and what she represents and why she’s in so many key places throughout the series. In a world that’s so black and white, to have some energy that feels a little bit magical without being goofy or special effects, I think is a tip to some of the Shakespearean qualities as well as allowing people to talk and think about it a little bit.
HUNNAM: I think it worked really well. I always loved the Homeless Lady.