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Mayans MC had big shoes to fill when it premiered on FX in 2018 — and so did JD Pardo. As the star of the Sons of Anarchy spinoff, Pardo knew his lead character of EZ Reyes would always be compared to Charlie Hunnam’s “legendary” Jax Teller. Which is why he’s always been mindful of not making EZ “a karaoke version of Jax.”

Mayans MC JD Pardo attends the premiere of season 2 at ArcLight Cinerama Dome on August 27, 2019
JD Pardo | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The ‘Mayans MC’ star understands that EZ will always be compared to Jax

Pardo says that it took him a season to find his footing with his character instead of walking in Jax’s shadow. But he knew from the beginning that “nobody is gonna touch Jax” because what Hunnam did with that character was “incredible.”

“At least for me, it’s a legendary television character, and probably one of the best roles that Charlie Hunnam has ever taken. So in my awareness of that, and my respect for that, I didn’t want to touch it,” Pardo told Cinema Blend.

For Pardo, the challenge was to “not make a karaoke version of Jax” because even though karaoke can be fun, “nobody cares for a karaoke version.” Still, Pardo understands why EZ will always be compared to Jax.

“I understand why it’s easy to make those comparisons because we’re both protagonists, but there are so many differences. Jax was the prince; he had it all. EZ is bouncing off rock bottom,” Pardo explained to GQ Australia.

Despite the comparisons, JD Pardo and Charlie Hunnam’s roles are very different

Pardo noted that approaching the role of EZ came from a different place compared to where Hunnam was coming from with Jax. He says that when he compared the two characters, he saw Sons of Anarchy as “like a fantasy television show” where the lead was already the club VP. But on Mayans MC, EZ was supposed to have a completely different life.

“In [Sons of Anarchy] your lead was already the VP, he was already the prince in this kingdom. He got the girls. Almost like no worries to start off, and it was just strictly club business. What I love about EZ is that EZ wasn’t a part of the world. His life was supposed to be something completely different” Pardo explained.

“I think what the audience really relates to is that here’s a character in EZ that wasn’t supposed to be a part of it, but decides he’s gonna be a part of it, and he’s surviving through it.”

The ‘Mayans MC’ star wants to create his own legendary character

Pardo said that for him, what’s most attractive about his character is the potential for change. He hopes that Mayans will get seven seasons like Jax and Sons of Anarchy, with a strong character arc for EZ. And by then, people will say, “Man, you gotta watch season 1 and 2 because he wasn’t like that.”


Charlie Hunnam Played Jax Teller for So Long on ‘Sons of Anarchy’ He Needed Professional Help to Relearn His Natural British Accent

“What I want to do is, I too want to create a legendary television character, but in my own way, from the dirt,” Pardo confessed. “Because that’s where I feel like EZ is from. He’s from the dirt, he’s from the street. He’s surviving using his mind, he’s using everything that he can, his physicality, to become this animal. And just taking the audience on a ride.”

Season 4 of Mayans MC premieres on FX with a two-hour special event on April 19.