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Mayans MC: How Kurt Sutter's Absence Impacted Season 3

With Elgin James taking over as sole showrunner, the cast of Mayans MC says Season 3 is like "night and day."

It was late 2019, during the second season of Mayans MC, that it was revealed Sons of Anarchy creator and Mayans co-creator Kurt Sutter had been fired by FX. This came on the heels of Sutter announcing that his co-showrunner Elgin James would take full control in Season 3 of the series. Now, well over a year later, the motorcycle drama is back, and--according to the cast--the creative shakeup has made everything much better.

"It's night and day," Clayton Cardenas, who plays Angel on the series, told GameSpot. "It's like the best thing that could have ever happened for the show. The environment that we get to work [in], it's such a fun--it's a welcoming, comforting environment. You know, everybody's excited to come to work. I personally feel like I'm at an advantage, finally. I feel like I'm put in the position to succeed. I feel like the writing is meant for me. I feel like I'm not having to force dialogue, you know? I feel like the writing just rolls off my tongue now."

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Now Playing: Mayans MC Cast Reacts to Season 2 Finale Deaths, SOA War in Season 3

The actor was also quick to point out how the show's new leadership structure under James allows everyone's work to shine. "Elgin is such an amazing creator and writer and, you know, he creates this familial bond on set," Cardenas continued. "So again, it makes it welcoming. And everybody's proud of what's being done, everybody feels their voice is heard. And what more could you want? You know, what more could you want from a creator and director?"

Series star JD Pardo, who plays Angel's younger brother EZ, also notes the new season is a showcase for James' talent. "Elgin James is a genius," he said. "He's a genius. And he hasn't even peaked yet as far as a storyteller, as far as a director, as far as producer, as far as creator."

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That said, while Sutter is gone, Pardo makes it clear that everyone knows that without his creation in Sons of Anarchy, they wouldn't have this job in the first place.

"Obviously, we're very respectful to the Sons of Anarchy world," he explained. "You know, if it wasn't for that world and for the universe we wouldn't be here. That's the truth. And I think that in discovering a show, you go through the initial phase--some shows take longer than others... We all recognize that Mayans needed to find its own identity and the fans wanted that--we wanted that as actors. And I understand with everything that had happened, and the fan base out there, they're very passionate about the Sons of Anarchy world--and therefore Mayans, as well--a lot of things were said, a lot of things were sort of put out there."

One of those things Pardo mentions is what influence Disney might have on the series. Disney purchased 21st Century Fox--and by extension, FX--in early 2019. At that point, though, production on Season 2 was underway. For some fans, there was a fear that the company's family-friendly image could have impacted how the series played out from Season 3 onward. According to Pardo, though, those fears were unwarranted.

"Disney has supported us, along with FX, all the way through," the actor revealed. "You know, it is interesting at times to kind of read some of the comments and naturally people think that, you know, there might be sort of like a dumbing down of Mayans or there might be a place where we're not as authentic or maybe a little soft. But the truth is that Disney has come along and said, 'Do what you do, do what you need to do.' And they support us fully. And that's what this season has been about for us as actors. I think when you see the performances and you see the episodes, you're going to see heart. You're going to see a cast and a crew that is being fully supported to be creative and to tell a story that is just entertaining, exciting, dramatic, and beautiful."

Naturally, you're also going to see the appropriate amount of violence, vulgarity, and motorcycles. Mayans MC airs Tuesdays on FX.

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Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner is Senior Editor at GameSpot, responsible for the site's entertainment content. Previously, he contributed to a number of outlets including The Hollywood Report, IGN, Mashable, CBS Interactive, Tribune Media, and Nerdist. Chris loves all movies, but especially Jaws and Paddington 2.

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