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Easter Eggs And References You Missed In Sons Of Anarchy

In 2008, Kurt Sutter introduced the world to his gritty biker drama, "Sons of Anarchy." Running for seven seasons, "SoA" brought a realistic view of the life of a close-knit motorcycle club in the fictional California town of Charming. While "SoA" has its fair share of violence and corruption, at its heart the story is a tale of family, betrayal, and all that good stuff in between.

Sutter builds his world around Jackson "Jax" Teller (Charlie Hunnam), who is coming to terms with the death of his father while developing a close bond with his stepfather and the new president of the motorcycle club SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original). Season 1 sees Jax dealing with his conscience, as he's no longer sure about his path in the club, wondering if his life is meant to be as violent as SAMCRO makes it. Throughout the show, audiences are forced to watch Jax get more involved with the club as he ultimately turns into the man that he never wanted to become.

During its run, "SoA" was nominated for 46 awards, with the series ultimately taking home 11 gongs (via IMDb), and has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 87% and an audience score of 91%. The success led to the 2018 spinoff series, "Mayans M.C.," which is set to premiere its fifth season in 2023. Here are 10 Easter eggs and references from "Sons of Anarchy" we've uncovered — and heads up, this is your official spoiler warning.

Sons of Anarchy is loosely based on Hamlet

"SoA" was inspired by one of Shakespeare's greatest works: Hamlet. Hamlet is a character that's haunted by the death of his father and slowly descends into madness as the weight of being the future King of Denmark consumes him as he watches his power hunger uncle (who also murdered his father) destroy Hamlet's birthright: his kingdom.

Both Jax and Hamlet are meant to be rulers — one of Denmark and one the president of SAMCRO. They've both lost their fathers and are haunted by the weight they held over their lives. Both watches as their birthright is ruined by their father's killer. For Hamlet, it's his uncle who murdered his dad, and for Jax, it's his stepfather Clay (Ron Perlman) who has allegedly done the same. Both also lose their romantic interest in water, with Ophelia drowning and Tara (Maggie Siff) being murdered in a kitchen sink.

By the end, both characters have left a tidal wave of death and pain in their wake. Sutter told Collider in an interview: "[Hamlet] really speaks to tone, the operatic nature and pulpiness of the show, and the epic quality that some of the storylines have. The archetypes, with Clay and Jax, and Gemma and Tara are there." Hamlet and Jax both die alongside their mother, father, and uncle (stepfather in Jax's case) in order to stop the rot from taking hold once more.

Wandy Case and her connection to The Sopranos

Wendy Case (Drea de Matteo) is originally introduced in Season 1 of "SoA" as the mother of Jax's oldest son who suffers from drug addiction. Initially, she is shown to be an incredibly unfit parent as her addiction causes their son, Abel, to be born 10 weeks premature with various complications. However, she eventually gets clean and acts as a good parent to her son, and Jax's other child Thomas, the son of Tara.

In Season 7, Wendy is seen driving with Gemma's (Katey Sagal) new boyfriend Nero (Jimmy Smits). He understands the difficult life Wendy has had, offering her sanctuary at his farm. The two banter back and forth with Nero eventually saying that if she isn't careful he'll put her in the trunk. She responds with a knowing smile saying it wouldn't be the first time.

While many might think this tracks with her chaotic past, Sutter revealed on Twitter that this throwaway line is actually in reference to another de Matteo character (per Cheatsheet). Before portraying Wendy, de Matteo was cast as Adriana La Cerva in "The Sopranos," where her character meets a violent and untimely end due to her snitch status. She's beaten, strangled, and lied to before she's taken off-screen to be murdered — perhaps she's transported in the back of a truck? Fun fact: there are fan theories floating around that Adriana wasn't actually killed, and that she and Wendy are the same person.

Tig's fear of dolls

SAMCRO is made up of a variety of violent characters and none more so than the trigger-happy Tig (Kim Coates). During Clay's presidency, Tig is shown to be incredibly loyal to him and Gemma, resulting in his hands getting dirty in some shady deeds (the death of Opie's wife anyone?). In fact, it's his violent acts that cause Tig and Jax to clash on occasion, as Jax doesn't want violence to consume the club as it seemingly had done to Tig and Clay.

Luckily, Tig is able to grow just from having a depraved love of violence. He does manage to show compassion for animals and children and develops a romantic relationship with a transgender prostitute named Venus (Walton Goggins). However, Tig does like to take a bite of people when he's fighting them, so there's that.

Aside from his rather provocative character traits, there's one that stands above the rest — his fear of dolls, otherwise known as pediophobia. This was included as a nod to creator Kurt Sutter's own issues, who told Complex: "Dolls have always creeped me out." In fact, this was an issue that caused friction in his real-life relationship with Sagal: "She had these weird dolls in the living room of her house. I'd always get up and turn them the other way whenever she left the room because I felt that they were watching us."

Katey Sagal and Kurt Sutter

Sagal's Gemma Teller is the mother of Jax, the widower of Jax's father, and the eventual widower of her next husband and club president, Clay. Sagal also happens to be the wife of "SoA" creator Kurt Sutter. The two met through a mutual friend and got married in 2004 (via The Sun). In fact, when creating "SoA," Sutter wrote the role of Gemma specifically for his wife.

According to Sagal, bike culture can be "a very misogynistic culture" for women, so he wrote Gemma for Sagal to be the matriarchal mother of his Hamlet character. "And so he came to me as he was writing it, and said 'I think I have a part for you,' but he didn't really tell me what it was," Sagal told NPR. "And I didn't really know what it was until I actually read the script. But he did write it with me in mind." 

Sagal revealed that Sutter is a stepfather to one of her own sons, suggesting that, "I was very protective of my children ... [Stutter] hadn't been around that kind of energy quite so much, so I think that's what was the springboard for Gemma. It was not so much the heinous things she does; it was that at her core, her motivation is her children." In fact, Sutter decided to incorporate Sagal's son in his story, naming Jackson after her son of the same name.

Sons of Anarchy's relationship with the Hell's Angels

"SoA" is no stranger to having major guest appearances in the show. From David Hasselhoff to Stephen King, there was always someone new to introduce to the quaint town of Charming. And while most of these stars are included for fun, there are quite a few guest stars that have a distinct purpose.

In order to do justice to the story he was telling, Sutter did a lot of research on the life of a motorcycle club. He worked with Sonny Barger, the founder of the motorcycle club, Hell's Angels, to get the context right. Taking things a step further, Sutter had Barger guest star in the show as one of the founding members of SAMCRO, Lenny Janowitz. Various actors featured in the show were part of the Hell's Angels in real life, with the most prolific being David Labrava, who portrays club member Happy.

Initially, Labrava was brought in as an advisor to help Sutter accurately depict motorcycle club culture. However, Labrava impressed Sutter by explaining that he wanted an opportunity to be cast in the show (via Kurt Sutter's YouTube). Luckily, Sutter obliged and Happy became an interestingly developed character. While his life in the club is a violent one, Happy is more of the strong silent type rather than the deranged hothead like Tig. He is, by all accounts, a happy guy.

Ron Perlman didn't always play Clay Morrow

You may recognize Scott Glenn as Stick from "Daredevil," the man who trains Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) to fight. Glenn has had a long-standing career, appearing in films such as "Training Day," "Silence of The Lambs," and "The Bourne Ultimatum." And he was the original actor to portray Clay Morrow.

According to Sutter, when filming the pilot episode, Glenn portrayed Jax's stepfather. He described the actor as a "powerhouse," saying that he brought a compelling nature to the role. However, they were forced to make some changes to the show, as Sutter found it "too heavy," and believed that it "took itself too seriously." He wanted to stay true to what he'd learned from speaking with real motorcycle club members. "The thing I loved about hanging with MC's was the reverie. These guys laughed and had fun. You have to find a release when you live in such a dangerous world. So I rewrote the script. Added a lot [of] darker humor. With those changes, the character of Clay morphed into someone else. That's when we decided to recast."

Once that was decided, Sutter shared that he and John Landgraf (the FX network CEO) "each put together a list of who we thought was the best actor for this new incarnation ... Ron Perlman was at the top of both of our lists." So, Perlman stepped in with hardly any prep time, but clearly, it was the right choice. 

Sons of Anarchy had its own in-house band

Music plays a big role to help create the world and the characters in "SoA," and that's thanks to its own in-house band, The Forest Rangers. Led by Bob Thiele Jr., the band is responsible for some of the greatest moments in the show, including the iconic opening theme. But what makes this even better is that the band features star Katey Sagal in their songs.

Sagal revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that she recorded song covers with the band for the show, stating that she can be heard singing at least one song per season. And after their successful time working together, Sagal and The Forest Rangers even debuted an album together, called "LAND HO!" which they recorded during the final season of "SoA" as a way to end one chapter of their lives in order to open the door toward another. And, according to Thiele, thanks to the success of "SoA," their band was able to crowd-fund the album rather than being forced to work with a major record label (via Ram Entertainment).

The juxtaposition behind the town name Charming

"SoA" takes place in the fictional town of Charming, located in California. When picking the town's name, Sutter told Pop Culture: "There was a town in northern [California] called Pleasanton. That was the inspiration for the name." The idea was that it was a pleasant town filled with unpleasant acts, such as violence, death, and destruction.

And, in regards to coming up with names, Sutter also shared how "The Andy Griffith Show" was a big inspiration to him, as that show takes place in the fictional town of Mayberry. Sutter explained how he "loved the idea of juxtaposing the outlaw subculture against the iconic American values. That's why I chose Opie, Floyd the barber ... and at least three more Mayberry references in the series." For Sutter, "The Andy Griffith Show" represented that stereotypical package of being "all American." And when he held that up against the motorcycle club of SAMCRO, he knew he was making something special.

Each character carries a weapon tailored to their personality

A massive amount of thought went into every detail when building out the members of SAMCRO and according to the first assistant prop master, Brandon Boyle, that thought trickled all the way down to which gun each member uses. For Sutter, this would add another layer of realism to the characters, because not everyone would want to inflict the same amount of damage.

Boyle shared some of the different types of weapons used by club members with Entertainment Weekly, stating that Jax would use a Springfield Bureau Model .45 caliber while someone like Tig (remember, trigger-happy) would use a Ruger SR9 9mm. Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) has a Beretta 92F 9mm while Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) uses a Smith & Wesson 459 9mm.

When filming, Boyle noted that the actors would fire blanks and sometimes use replicas, as they would sometimes throw their weapons at each other when taking part in fight scenes. Due to that nature, the team would ensure that the replica guns were made of extremely soft rubber to guarantee that no damage would be caused to the actors on set.

Jax Teller's style

Charlie Hunnam did his homework in order to prepare for his immersive role as Jax. To get inside the head of the character, Hunnam spent time with real bikers, and one had a profound effect on him. The biker would wear a pair of white Nike Air Force 1's, prompting Hunnam to incorporate crisp white shoes into his wardrobe (via Racket Rampage). In fact, Jax's pearly white kicks are one of the only things that manage to stay clean throughout the entire series — that is, until the end.

Jax discovers that his mother, Gemma, is responsible for the brutal murder of his wife Tara. Gemma wrongly thinks that Tara had turned on the club and was a snitch and so murders her and blames it on a rival gang. When Jax goes to confront Gemma, he plans to kill her, but can't bring himself to do so, prompting his mother to say "You have to do this. It's who we are." He pulls the trigger and gets her blood on his shoes. This prompts Jax to take the shoes off and change into a pair of black boots instead.

This is a fundamental change for the character as it signifies that he can't go back — the man he once was is forever gone. This is why Jax ultimately decides to take matters into his own hands and end his life in the series finale, taking out all the rot and violence with him.