SAMCRO is as beloved to Sons of Anarchy fans as the Stark clan are to Game of Thrones enthusiasts. They know the lore in and out, which a prequel series is an exciting prospect. First Nine will be a breath of fresh air for a franchise that needs one. Badly. However, some parts of the show might throw fans for a loop. From cultural differences in the club, to the hardware they’re using, here are a few key parts of First Nine that will feel different than what Sons fans are accustomed too.
Firstly, the biker cuts will be different.
Fans noticed in Sons of Anarchy that Piney only ever wore a denim vest. This has an explanation in the canon of the show, but also relates to outlaw biker culture at large. Kurt Sutter is quoted as saying that Piney wears a denim “cut” because he’s “old school.” The first nine couldn’t afford leather when they started out. Because Piney has always been a mistrustful curmudgeon, he never made the jump to leather. Hunter S. Thompson described the original biker cuts for the Hells Angels as denim. As were most other biker cuts at the time. Still, not seeing the usual sharp black leather vests might throw seasoned viewers for a bit of a loop for a while.
The bikes will be vintage.
While Jax spends most of the last season cruising on his old man’s ‘45 knucklehead, the other bikes in the show are modern Harley rides. That won’t be the case with First Nine. Expect to see vintage choppers flying down the highway, along with other period appropriate vehicles. No more souped up cruisers, either. Bikers used to strip their rides down to the bare bones as a way of dodging the law. A lean, bare-bones motorcycle back in the day could outrun an overburdened police bike with little issue.
The drugs will be different. Very different.
Biker culture was part of the same counterculture wave that birthed the hippie movement. I don’t dare conflate the two, however. Bikers made it clear they weren’t about the causes that Berkley elites always wished they’d embraced. That being said, John Teller’s version of the club is wildly different then what it became.
As Jax once said, it was more about being a “commune with motorcycles” than a criminal syndicate. About true embrace of freedom and living by self-guided morality, as opposed to the confines of society. While the Sons most fans know and love will occasionally indulge in crank or pills, First Nine viewers can expect to see acid and pot make some heavy appearances. While heroin and meth weren’t unusual, especially more towards the seventies, John Teller’s original vision of the club indicates that there might be more of a hippie slant in regards to the drug intake.
The club will also be more racist.
SAMCRO was founded in a much different time and place in history. Racism was more abundant, and more socially acceptable, in the era these characters come from. These are facts some fans won’t want to dwell on. But make no mistake, these elements will come into play as the show develops. As fans know from Juice’s storyline, the charter of the club specifically excludes black members.
But the racial politics of the club are more complex than they initially seem. Chico Villanueva, one of the first nine, was hispanic. He helped SAMCRO broker an unstable peace with the Mayans back in the day. Whilst Sons of Anarchy had plenty of “politically incorrect” dialogue, and plenty of racism from other characters, it might shock fans to see the heroes of the story behaving in ways that are socially unacceptable today. While racism is certainly offensive and horrible, it’s important to show the era (and the characters in it) in an authentic way. Young veterans of the time wouldn’t have been likely to be bastions of progressive politics. Nor should Sutter pretend they would be.