Sons Of Anarchy Creator Is Making A Western For Netflix

Netflix can't stand to see Kurt Sutter go. In a deal with the streaming powerhouse, the "Sons of Anarchy" creator and one-time "The Shield" director has locked in on his next project, a series titled "The Abandons" that relocates the grit of "Sons" to the Old West. Teased by Deadline as a "potential hourlong" show, the series is the result of a long-running desire on Sutter's part to do a Western. In an interview with Deadline, he gives his pitch:

I've always been fascinated with the origins of La Cosa Nostra, how these Sicilian peasant families were being more than marginalized by the land barons and the aristocrats. These families banded together to defend themselves from these abusive land barons, and from that taking those matters into their own hands, La Cosa Nostra was born and became the authority and the law and the order of the land. There are other influences. Over the pandemic, I was watching reruns of "Bonanza," and first of all, it completely holds up. I remember watching it as a kid, but I just remember there's an episode where somebody gets killed, and Hoss just wants revenge, and I mean, like, dark f***ing revenge. Ultimately, it's a Sunday network TV ending, but I just realized that the Cartwrights were a bullet away from being outlaws, right? And I loved that it all came from that deep sense of loyalty to the family, the land, the town. Those were the origins of this, with the working title "The Abandons."

'I've Always Wanted to Do a Western'

The show, Sutter says, will focus on the families' trajectory into outlaws, "in a period before all the iconic outlaws that we know, like Jesse James and Billy the Kid." It carries all of the themes seen in Sutter's previous work from blood-soaked family feuds to the malleability of the moral code, to include his script for "Southpaw" and his series "The Bastard Executioner." It's been a long-running desire for him to work with the genre, he tells Deadline:

I've always wanted to do a western, even before Sons, and then "Deadwood" came out. There's that great lore of Ian Anderson wanting to be a great rock guitarist, and he saw Clapton play, and he said, 'F***, I'm going to become the best rock flautist that ever lived.' And he did just that for Jethro Tull. This is how I felt when I saw "Deadwood." I said, 'Let me stick to the crime genre" and then used just about every actor that was on that show. But I do love the genre, and over the pandemic, I tried to get a western IP.

Nothing else is known about the upcoming series, but in the meantime we'll wonder what that elusive Western IP was. Perhaps the Great American Novel, Cormac McCarthy's bloody anti-Western "Blood Meridian?" Sutter's stories are ostensibly about loyalty and survival, but his characters are in the business of violence, like McCarthy's. The tale is purportedly un-filmable, having eluded proper adaptations for over 30 years since the novel's 1985 release. Could Kurt Sutter be the latest addition to the movie Wiki's "Attempted adaptations" section? The thought is both exciting and devastating.