By Rosy Cordero
August 15, 2019 at 09:00 AM EDT
Frank Micelotta/FX Networks/PictureGroup

The worlds of Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C. will continue to collide during the latter’s sophomore season, set to premiere Sept. 4 on FX. Kurt Sutter, who created both series, and Mayans showrunner Elgin James can’t help but smile when asked who they plan to bring back from the Charlie Hunnam-led drama that ended its seven-season run in 2014.

The duo spoke to EW exclusively during the Television Critics Association summer press tour about the connections between the two shows and how they’ll handle bringing the past into the present. The spin-off series, which focuses on the Mexican-American motorcycle club Mayans, an occasional rival of Sons’ SAMCRO, has Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) at its heart.

This season, he’ll be wearing much nicer suits after joining the Galindo Cartel and will be working closely for Miguel Galindo (Danny Pino). Mayans could’ve used Alvarez as the show’s lone connection to the past, but the series premiere went even further as fans were met with a surprising flashback appearance of SAMCRO matriarch Gemma Teller, played by Sutter’s real-life wife, Katey Sagal. In that scene, she visits someone in jail at the same time that series lead and Mayans prospect EZ Reyes (J.D. Pardo) is locked behind bars.

Prashant Gupta/FX

“For me, it was using that device to tell the story of how the worlds intersected,” Sutter tells EW about the meaning behind Gemma’s appearance. “That EZ was inside while Clay [Ron Perlman] was incarcerated. Like there was crossover, to give people a sense of timeline. I don’t know if I’ll use her or that device again, but if I need to, I’ve established it.”

Other cast members from Sons have also made appearances during the present timeline and are part of significant story lines.

Prashant Gupta/FX

OG SAMCRO member Happy (David Labrava), who made his debut on Mayans’ season 1 finale, has information about EZ’s death and his brother Angel Ruiz’s (Clayton Cardenas) mother’s death. The brothers are looking for answers, and all signs point to Happy. Could this lead to the demise of the first crossover character in the current timeline?

“So Happy dies in episode 3,” James jokes when asked whether he plans to kill any remaining SAMCRO members. “Working with D.L. has been amazing, you’re going to see a lot of Happy this season because there’s a lot of stuff to unpack. I can’t say where it ends because we’re still figuring it out, but you can expect to spend a lot of time with the character this season.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) made his big return during the sixth episode of Mayans, and he’s making as much trouble for himself in Santo Padre as he did in Charming. Potter likes to play dirty, but there are consequences when you take things too far with dangerous outlaws. Lest fans forget double-crossing A.T.F. agent June Stahl (Ally Walker), who was murdered by SAMCRO’s Opie (Ryan Hurst) in retaliation for her role in his wife’s death.

Potter is walking a similar line as Stahl, so it’s really about when and how he will die rather than if.

“He’s always going to be an agent of chaos,” James says about Potter. “He’s always going to come with his little whirlwind, and he still has a hold over the boys. He still has a hold over the brothers, and he’s not done with the Ruiz’s.”

He adds, “Lincoln has it coming, right? A lot of people have it coming, and I’ll tell you what, last season was about secrets. This season is about retribution. And as Malcolm X says, ‘The chickens come home to roost.’ But it may be on some people who might surprise you, not the ones you’re rooting to get theirs.”

If fans of the original haven’t revisited the series in some time, it might be beneficial to binge ahead of season 2 of Mayans. Not only will two beloved members of SAMCRO be mentioned in the season 2 premiere, but Sutter says there are dealings from the past that will pop up in the present.

“I find what you’ll ultimately continue to see is, especially towards the end [of Sons of Anarchy], as Jax was sort of laying down the law in terms of what he wanted the club to do, and one of the things was handing off the guns to Alvarez. We’ll continue to see that play out,” Sutter explains. “I’d like to think that there is continuity between worlds. I don’t know if there’s any other [connection] than more towards the end of Sons to what they’re doing [now], but I’m sure there are some that I’m not even aware of.”

As for the mention of the two SAMCRO members in Mayans season 2, Sutter adds, “It’s just playing the reality of that world and who’s in it. Especially if they hand off the guns, there’ll be a reference to that world and stuff like that.”

The one character who survived Charming’s armageddon mostly unscathed in the final season of Sons was retired gangster/pimp Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits). After Jax’s death, Nero rides off into the sunset with Wendy (Drea de Matteo) by his side, and Abel (her son with Jax) and his younger brother Thomas in tow.

Prashant Gupta/FX

Smits has openly shared his desire to return to the series. “Kurt is very into the lore of the show in terms of the Sons and its influence [on Mayans],” he told EW while promoting his new series Bluff City Law at NBC’s Press Tour day. “I would absolutely love to come back into that world. Sure, I can pop in! It’s really up to them, so we’ll see. They’re doing a great job. I was surprised to see as many of the Sons characters making little appearances on Mayans. I’ve been watching the show, I love it.”

While Sutter teased that “you never know” who could make a cameo in the future, James admits there could be issues with the reappearance of Nero in this universe, based on how Sons ended.

“We bring it up a lot in the writers’ room, about bringing Nero back,” he says. “I think the only problem with that is that his appearance will bring up the topic of Jax’s kids. So there’s more to unpack there in the mythology as to where they are now. Every time we go there, Kurt reacts but then he sidesteps.”

He adds, “It’s not off the table, and I’d love to work with [Jimmy.] When we consider bringing someone back, we have to think about the ripple effect it’ll cause and what it all means. I think Kurt wants people to remember that for what it was. Jax for what it was. And in your memory or your imagination, it could be whatever you want it to be.”

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