Event Recap: “Mayans M.C.” Cast Praise Elgin James at San Diego Comic-Con

Mayans M.C. completed its fourth season this past June, but on Sunday, July 24th, FX formally announced a fifth season is on the way during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. In attendance for the event was Elgin James (co-creator/executive producer/director/writer), JD Pardo (EZ Reyes), Clayton Cardenas (Angel Reyes), Danny Pino (Miguel Galindo), Sarah Bolger (Emily Thomas), Emilio Rivera (Marcus Alvarez), Michael Irby (Obispo “Bishop” Losa), Raoul Max Trujillo (Che “Taza” Romero), Frankie Loyal (Hank “Tranq” Loza), Joseph Lucero (Neron “Creeper” Vargas), Vincent Vargas (Gilberto “Gilly” Lopez), Gino Vento (Nestor Oceteva), and JR Bourne (Isaac Packer).

One of the most surprising aspects of the panel was the reveal that Mayans M.C. was never meant to be a large ensemble story. It was originally conceived as a story about two brothers, but the cast was so phenomenal that Elgin James found it difficult to kill characters off and their stories have only expanded over the seasons. However, there have been a few casualties to show the consequences of this world, each of which Elgin described as “gutting.”

E.J. didn’t go dark in Season 4 but merely became more clear, according to Elgin James. Actor JD Pardo, who also serves as an executive producer, drew inspiration for his performance from Dustin Hoffman in Straight Time, a film about a criminal who tries to follow the law after serving time in prison. The actor shared that people are always surprised to discover that he’s a nerd for the craft of acting. During the panel, he also quoted Anthony Hopkins (“Dare to be a fool”) when discussing some of the more embarrassing scenes to film. Throughout the event, his love for the Mayans M.C. fanbase shone through, playfully confronting a few during a Q&A who were wearing their Sons of Anarchy vests, acknowledging that there would be no Mayans M.C. without them.

Danny Pino made his directorial debut this season with the episode “The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man,” something he said was made easier by the support of Elgin and the cast. Emilio Rivera goes way back with Danny, having played brothers on The Shield prior to Mayans M.C., and he described him as “An actor’s director” (the two refer to each other as Hermano on set). Danny also praised the show’s “incredible crew,” who he said doesn’t allow them to fail.

That family-like atmosphere comes from the top, with the cast praising Elgin for the tone he sets. JR Bourne has been working with him the longest, starting on Elgin’s directorial debut in 2011, Little Birds. He shared that he’s still the same director; he merely has more experience now. Sarah Bolger added that she had auditioned for that film by submitting a tape, but the budget was too small to fly her in from Ireland. However, Elgin kept her audition tape and found a role for her on Mayans M.C. years later. She’s still in shock that he not only remembered her audition but also hung onto it. Emilio Rivera also shared his favorite direction Elgin ever gave him: “Be less boring.”

It was clear that the cast of Mayans M.C. are a tight-knit family and that they all have a lot of respect and admiration for one another and Elgin James. While there wasn’t much of a look ahead at Season 5, the announcement was fun to witness. And with war looming, JD Pardo said ‘I can’t wait to curb stomp these Sons.”

You can catch up on past seasons of Mayans M.C. on Hulu. Click here for more coverage from San Diego Comic-Con.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).