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Sons of Anarchy's final season has a lot of moving parts as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) sets a street war in motion, believing he's avenging the murder of his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff)—a crime he doesn't yet know his mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), committed. Does Hunnam have a hard time keeping everything straight? ''It's gotten tricky,'' he says. ''I just read the scripts endlessly. I go back and read scripts, and obviously I'm reading the current script all the time. That's the toughest part, to me, about a TV schedule—just being familiar enough with the material to really make smart choices on the day. I always try to approach things more as a storyteller than as an actor. For me, I need to understand everything that's going on.''
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What's going on here in the makeup trailer with Tommy Flanagan and Kim Coates (seated) is probably something makeup artist Michelle Garbin, who's been with the show all seven seasons, has seen before and thoroughly enjoyed.
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One part of the anarchist lifestyle portrayed on the show has always fascinated Sagal: ''Like, you wonder, Do they go to the bank? Probably not, they keep all their money under the mattress,'' she says. ''Don't they have a small radius of comfort zone? They live in this very small town of Charming; it's not like they go to the big city all of the time. You can't even imagine these people, like, walking through New York City. I mean, what would that be like? They have this very kind of cocoon life, so lots of s--- goes down at home.''
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Chibs (Flanagan, pictured with first assistant prop master Brandon Boyle), really would take a bullet for Jax, a.k.a. Jackie Boy. ''Clay [Ron Perlman] took Chibs in when he was like 15. He was on the run from the IRA and came to America,'' Flanagan says. ''That's when he first met Jackie, as a little boy. So he's his baby brother, as far as Chibs is concerned. He has all the love in the world for this kid, and he would die for him. It's the outlaw life, and that's what they do.''
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How does David Labrava (far left), who plays Happy, want the show to be remembered? ''It was good storytelling and it was a great time,'' he says. ''It takes you somewhere you've never been.'' (Originally hired as a technical advisor for the series, he would know.)
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Coates, pictured with Dayton Callie, has one hope for the final shot of the series' Dec. 9 finale. ''My dream would be to give the fans closure,'' he says. ''I don't know what that means. I don't know where we'll be. I don't know what's gonna happen. But to give our fans some closure 'cause they're gonna have, as we will, a f---in' bad time releasing from this show.''
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Jimmy Smits, who got his motorcycle license when the opportunity to join the cast presented itself, has accepted that he'll probably never get to ride on the show. ''I'm not even gonna get into that, because it just brings up all this stuff with me and [creator Kurt] Sutter of like, 'Yeah, sure, I'll do the show.' 'And by the way, even though you did learn how to ride a motorcycle, you'll be in a lowrider.' Let's play into that stereotype,'' Smits says with a laugh.
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Since this shot has a bit of a horror vibe, when does Hunnam find Jax most frightening? ''A lot of the really scary people that I've met, when they snap, it isn't loud. It's really, really quiet,'' he says. ''It's that eerie calm and resolve that he gets sometimes. It's when you know there's no more negotiation to be had.''
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DGA trainee Tristan Ringenoldus has the honor of holding (fake) baby Thomas. When fans pressure Flanagan for spoilers, he likes to tell them that only Jax's boys are left by midseason: ''There will be six episodes, just two babies going around beating up other babies with miniature cuts and bikes. Babies of Anarchy.''
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''Less and less, but there's always a slight feeling of disposableness with TV because there's always another episode next week,'' Hunnam says. ''There are shows that I've gone back and visited like Deadwood, which is relatively recent but still a decade old. I feel like it still has life. Those shows that live on beyond their end date—I suppose that would be my hope for Sons of Anarchy.''
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For more intel on Sons of Anarchy's final ride, pick up a copy of EW on newsstands or buy it online now.