Ross Lincoln contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.

The final Hall H panel of Comic Con 2013 was a somber affair, as the creator, director and primary cast of the long-running FX drama Sons of Anarchy gathered to talk about the brutal fifth season, and their mood going into the show’s penultimate sixth season. Moderated by Deadline’s Mike Fleming, the panelists were mum on any details about the new season. But the mood clearly was bittersweet as each of them revealed powerful feelings about the direction the show appears to be headed. When asked why he’s already planning the end to his hit series — Season 5 saw the highest ratings in its network’s history — showrunner Kurt Sutter was clear that he wants to go out on his own terms.” My goal is to be able to tell the story I wanted to,” he said. “I never wanted us to overstay our welcome.” He also hinted at how the series might end. “At a certain point, the shit just has to hit the fan,” he said. “And for it to stay real and believable, it has to find its endgame.” That endgame, according to Sutter, will be “a pool of blood.”

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The actors on hand — Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal (Sutter’s wife), Ron Perlman, Mark Boone Junior, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Tommy Flannagan, Theo Rossi, and Dayton Callie — were circumspect about the plan for Season 6, revealing only that it would focus on the aftermath of the events of Season 5. However, they all appeared to have been extremely affected by the past season, with Perlman admitting that one episode in particular was “a sad day on set” for him.

After the Q&A portion of the panel, Sutter held a trivia contest for fans in the audience, followed by a Q&A. Two covers for the upcoming graphic novels based on the series were also unveiled. Sons of Anarchy returns September.