By the time the "Sons of Anarchy" panel had started, the infamous Hall H had lost about half of the audience inside. (I blame "The Cleveland Show" panel that led into it).
However, a late start has never stopped SAMCRO before. And it has become something of a tradition for "Sons of Anarchy" to close out Comic-Con International on Sunday. Series creator Kurt Sutter was on hand with his wife and series co-star, Katey Sagal as well as cast members Charlie Hunnam, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Ryan Hurst, Tommy Flanagan, Mark Boone Jr., Dayton Callie, Theo Rossi and Comic-Con legend, Ron Perlman.
The panel was kicked off with a preview of the first few minutes of "Sons of Anarchy" season 5. When we catch up with Jax, he is writing in his diary while his mother Gemma is elsewhere with her new lover, Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits). We also get quick glimpse of Clay's new status quo while Jax's lover, Tara is seen taking a bath… with a gun nearby to illustrate her new mindset. Sometime later, we Filthy Phil (Christopher Douglas Reed) driving a truck full of weapons with a SAMCRO escort when they are attacked by men loyal to Harlod Perrineau's Damon Pope. Part of this preview can currently be seen at Entertainment Weekly.
Getting into the heart of the panel, Sutter explained that the new dynamic between Tara and Gemma will alternate between different extremes of love and hate on an episode-to-episode basis. Sometimes they will be very close and at other times they will be at odds because Gemma feels threatened by Tara's new position in the club. Sutter joked that he based the relationship on his daughter's interplay with his wife, but Sagal was quick to say that wasn't really the case.
One of the major themes of season five will be if Jax can avoid becoming like Clay now that he is the President of SAMCRO. Sutter indicated that we will see what kind of leader he will be by the end of the season. Meanwhile, Clay will be living alone and forced to lug around an oxygen tank… essentially mirroring the late Piney. Perlman indicated that Clay only knows how to be on top and that he feels it was mistake for Jax to let him live. He said that Clay will not stop until he is dead.
It wasn't clear if Boone's Bobby will remain in prison, but the actor indicated that he remain the level-headed member of SAMCRO… at least until Sutter changes direction for the character. Rossi said that Juice still harbors a lot of guilt for betraying the club last season while Coates stated that Tig is more of a wild card in the era of Jax. Hurst's Opie "will be in the wind" this season noted Sutter as the club tries to regain his respect and loyalty. But it was also left unsaid if Opie will be Jax's new Vice President.
For Tara's part, Siff said that she was done walking away from Jax. This is the only family she has and she truly loves him.
Sutter also revisited the idea of eventually doing a "Sons of Anarchy" prequel series to develop Jax's father, John Teller and tell the story of the original nine members of SAMCRO. Nothing is definite yet, but the continuing success of the show on FX does make it seem like a strong possibility.
"Sons of Anarchy" season 5 will roll onto FX on Tuesday, September 11.