'Sons of Anarchy': Opie Was Originally Supposed to Die in Season 1

Opie’s death in Sons of Anarchy was one of the most heartwrenching scenes in the series. Jax watched his best friend die in prison in a brutal way, which continued to impact him throughout the series. Opie’s death didn’t occur until season 5, but the original plan was for him to be on the show for a much shorter amount of time. In fact, Opie wasn’t supposed to make it past season 1.

Opie’s wife Donna died in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 1

Ryan Hurst’s Sons of Anarchy character Opie is Jax Teller’s best friend. He reluctantly returns to criminal activity for the Club after Jax convinces him to help raid a warehouse. In season 1, Clay becomes suspicious that Opie betrayed SAMCRO.

He orders Tig to kill Opie, but things went awry. Tig accidentally killed Opie’s wife Donna leaving his two children without a mother. To make matters worse, Opie didn’t betray the Club after all.

In season 5, Opie, Tig, Chibs, and Jax are all arrested. Damon Pope forces one of the four men to fight to the death in prison. In a heartbreaking moment, Opie headbutts a guard so that he will be the one to die. He is pushed into a room to fight a group full of men and eventually killed with a lead pipe while the other three Sons watch in horror.

Ryan Hurst was only supposed to be in the series for a year

It might surprise many Sons of Anarchy fans to learn that Opie was actually supposed to die at the end of season 1 instead of Donna. However, Opie and Jax were too great of a duo to lose so early. “The original arc was to have Opie die at the end of season 1,” Kurt Sutter wrote on Twitter. “We only made a one-year deal with Ryan [Hurst].”

“From the jump, the bond between Jax and Opie was very powerful. That was a combination of both Ryan’s and Charlie’s performances. And once we started writing to that dynamic, it became clear to both John Landgraf and myself that there was a deeper arc for these two men.

Instead of Opie getting the ax, his wife Donna met her end at the end of season 1. Sutter wrote, “I knew I would be able to create a similar story catalyst at the end of season 1 by killing Donna. Which was heartbreaking because of course we loved Sprague [Grayden].

Kurt Sutter explains why Opie chose to die

Opie’s death in season 1 of Sons of Anarchy was shocking and horrific. In a 2012 interview with TVLine, Kurt Sutter explained why Opie chose to give up his life. “I do believe that some of it was a sense of, ‘Here’s an opportunity for me to go out doing the right thing, to be of best service to my club’ — and also to his family,” Sutter said,

He added, “Jax wasn’t going to force himself to make that choice [of who dies]. Opie saw that … and had to step in and make that choice.” Sadly, Opie left behind his new wife Lyla, his children, and his friends. Opie’s death is one of the most impactful in Sons of Anarchy history.

All episodes of Sons of Anarchy are currently streaming on Hulu.

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