Sons of Anarchy Boss on Season 5 Game Plan, and the Arrival of 'King' Jax and 'Queen' Tara

Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and a handful of cast members hit the stage at PaleyFest 2012 on Wednesday to preview the show’s upcoming fifth season.

For starters, Sutter revealed that the premiere will begin “about a month” after the shocking events of fourth season finale, adding that the time lapse will give Tara time to process what her choice to stand by Jax means. “Tara’s clearly in [the club now],” he noted, “and [Season 5] really will be her trying to figure out, ‘Who am I in this world? Can I still be Dr. Tara Knowles and be this Queen?'”

Jax, too, will be dealing with personal conflict in the coming season. “I’ve always wanted to play this idea… of putting Jax at the head of the table, and the ripples of that and where people land,” the EP shared. “For me, the interesting dynamic to play next season is the struggle that Jax has of being King — how can you be the leader of an organized crime syndicate and not become Clay? And if you choose not to become Clay, are you forced to become [Jax’s late father] John Teller?”

As for the overarching story in Season 5, Sutter’s basic outline includes playing the fallout of “Tig’s clusterf— with accidentally killing [Damon Pope]’s daughter. So, that will be some of the adrenaline that gets the season started.”

Other topics covered during the panel:

• Sutter stood by his decision to not have Opie join Jax at the table in the finale. “I felt that it wasn’t true to [Opie’s] character to have him come in the room and sit at that table,” he said. “He’s a soulful, deep-thinking kind of guy. For him to get all of that information from Jax, it didn’t make sense that he would be able to rectify that within a couple hours and sit at that table. This season we’ll get to see how [their] relationship has changed and [whether or not Opie] can come back from that.”

• “There’s always been an attraction” between Tig and Gemma, acknowledged Sutter, “[But] I don’t know where that’s going to go.”

• Sorry, Otto lovers. Sutter said it’s unlikely we’ll see much of his nearly-blind alter ego next season.

• Sutter, a former Shield exec producer, said that while he is still close with Michael Chiklis, he doesn’t really see a world in which he could appear on Sons. “I just feel like Michael’s character was so iconic on [The Shield], it would be really difficult to bring him on [Sons of Anarchy] and not have him overshadow as Vic Mackey… I love Michael, but that would be a tough one.”