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JUN
15
4 YEARS

'Pretty Little Liars' Creator Teases 10 Things You Should Keep an Eye on in Season 2

Marlene King chats with The Hollywood Reporter about the series' trajectory post-premiere -- and reveals some things you didn't know about last night's premiere and what to look for going forward.

Troian Bellisario, Marlene King
Randy Holmes/Disney Enterprises; Getty Images
Troian Bellisario and Marlene King (inset)

So that happened.

Pretty Little Liars started off its sophomore season with many more twists and turns -- there's a sense that things won't be settling down any time soon in Rosewood. (But you wouldn't have it any other way, right?) We have Noel causing trouble for Aria and Ezra, Caleb and Lucas becoming fast friends acquaintances and "A" continuing to be five steps ahead of everyone -- and everything.

Creator Marlene King chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the series' trajectory post-premiere -- and revealed some things you didn't know about last night's premiere and what to look for going forward in Season 2:

1. The opening scene was not shot right after the finale: "We recreated the entire scene," King revealed to THR. "We had about a two-month hiatus for the cast and crew -- not for the writers, we had about seven days -- but we completely recreated that. But it looks continuous, doesn't it?" The opening shot, set around the town church (seamlessly following the finale), was something King and the writers are big fans of. "We love those 'moments later' premieres," she said. "It's the second time we've done it."

2. Spencer's mom Victoria is the ringleader: Out of all the parents, it seems like Victoria Hastings has the biggest issue with her youngest daughter Spencer, notably with all the parents in the Hastings' living room in the premiere. ("We've never had all the parents together in one scene," King confesses.) "She's the one who has the pregnant daughter in the hospital," King explains. "It affects their family the most. It's interesting because she's sort of the ringleader for this group of parents."

With that being so, does this mean things will end up biting Veronica in the butt later on? "Later in the summer series, that scene comes back to haunt a few of the parents," she teases. "They felt like they got a little railroaded by Veronica Hastings into pushing the girls into therapy. The subject isn't closed; it comes back up later."

"I think it’s sort of a lose-lose situation for the girls in the sense that they called the police, they said there’s a dead body, there’s a missing person but no dead body. Even the most loving, supportive parents are [thinking] something very odd is happening here," King says. "Many people are skeptical of their story and probably think these girls are trying to do what they can do to get more attention, and 'A’s' going to make sure that that storyline runs for a little while."

3. Noel and Mona will cause trouble for the girls: "We have a game we like to play called, 'Whack-a-Noel,' " quips King, harkening back to his untimely appearance at the high school ruining a moment between Ezra and Aria. "He pops up in the most peculiar places at the most peculiar times." And the reveal that he and Hanna's best friend (who hid Caleb's letter from Hanna last season) is, in some ways, a gamechanger. If the girls weren't suspicious enough of him before, this newfound relationship will put them over the edge.

"It felt like Noel is like a brand: Noel Kahn. Mona is sort of the 'It' girl – she’s right there with Hanna – and it felt like a very legitimate couple and they’re a couple that brings so much to the party in terms of the flavor," King says. "Mona’s suspicious because in the books, she’s 'A,' but we’re not necessarily saying that here. Noel Kahn is always suspicious because we know that he knows about Ezra and Aria – and the girls thought he was 'A.' "

Though it looks like King has temporarily kiboshed the "Noel is 'A' " theory, she does leave the door open for both Noel and Mona as possible culprits. "Down the line, I think he’s a very viable suspect for 'A' and Noel and Mona together become an extremely suspicious couple," she says coyly.

4. The therapist may be a little too proactive: Dr. Sullivan, a recurring character for the first few episodes of the season, was someone the Hastings -- both attorneys -- thought would be a short-term fix so the girls wouldn't be studied so closely in the lime light. King says that Dr. Sullivan will continue to push the girls a lot more than they'll expect -- as seen in the premiere: "She’s extremely proactive in motivating the girls to actually deal with Alison’s impact on them when she was alive and her death. Also, she motivates them to start being more proactive in regards to pushing back against 'A.' " But the therapist may have a connection to "A".

5. Noel and Toby weren't meant to stay: "Brant Daugherty (Noel) brought so much to that role in the same way that Keegan [Allen] did [as Toby] that they weren’t roles that we were going to necessarily have in the show for extended periods of time, but they brought so much life to those roles that we really started writing for those characters," King admits.

6. Lucas + Caleb = unlikely bromance: In the premiere we saw Lucas, who had a crush on Hanna last season, and Caleb, Hanna's unofficial boytoy, acting as if they may be somewhat friendly. According to King, that's going to continue. "Lucas is going to be back in a much more significant role this season," she says. "I love to say that that car ride back from wherever they were, a bromance was formed. Those two are going to become buddies and help each other in many ways."

How so? "Caleb is going to help Lucas with his dating woes and Lucas helps Caleb to attempt to win back Hanna -- and he provides stability for Caleb too," King reveals. "They're sort of the Odd Couple, but I love them together." But here's the kicker, Lucas and Caleb aren't just going to be hanging out. They'll be .. living together? "In my mind -- we haven't seen it yet -- they sleep in bunk beds," King jokes, before revealing that "Caleb ends up staying with Lucas and somehow somebody's got to get a scene where Lucas' bedroom because I want to see the two in bunk beds."

7. More hints to who "A" is: Here is what King has to say about who the omnipresent "A" is (who somehow knows everything that goes on in town), the identity of which we most likely won't find out until the end of the series: " 'A' is a peeper, 'A' is always spying on people. 'A' has some money because 'A' stole the stolen money from Ashley and Hanna, so 'A' has access to cash, 'A' has access to a lot of surveillance. Ultimately, when we find out who 'A' is, that all will make sense." King does say Alison's killer will finally be revealed before "A" is, but there may be a connection. "It may or may not be [two different people], but somehow they could be connected," she teases.

In last night's episode, we finally see proof of "A" in Ezra's apartment and placing the diploma in Dr. Sullivan's office. ("That's a big warning," King points out.) "A lot of people left last season wondering why we had 'A' taking the key, which we saw in a closer from one of the previous episodes, so that's paid off in the premiere," King says, adding that "somebody wants to torture these girls for a reason so I think it will be a very satisfying answering when that answer comes out."

8. Ezra and Aria will hit speed bumps: "[Ezra and Aria] both romanticize their relationship because it is such a romantic Romeo and Juliet, against all odds, these two are going to be together," King says. "They are two romantics -- they're writers -- so they have this romantic idea of Ezra going to teach at Hollis College and suddenly their lives being more simple but it's just not turning out to be the case." In fact, things will get even tougher for the two. "He's still her former teacher and some events unfold where they realize their coming-out party is going to have to put on hold," she says. "Now that he's at Hollis, it's going to be even harder for them to see each other."

9. "The mystery of Ian will be solved": King tells THR that as the season progresses, there will be "a lot of mischief and mayhem and murder." She adds: "In the first half of the summer, you'll definitely find out where Ian is, what he's doing; the mystery of Ian will be solved." So he's not dead? "I'm not going to tell you that," King circles. "But his presence is very much felt in the next several next episodes. The better way to say that is yes, the mystery of where Ian is, what he's doing, what he's been doing will be solved. And if 'A' is any way involved with that, you'll find out too."

10. Season 2 is a recharge: "It feels very much like a premiere episode in the sense that it almost feels like a pilot to me," King says of the premiere, who wrote both openers. "It has the same feeling in the sense that we're answering a question and launching a brand new mystery at the same time." And though executive producer Oliver Goldstick didn't believe Pretty Little Liars should go on for 12 seasons, King at least has an idea of how it could be revamped should that happen. "What we try to do with each episode and with every season is recreate the structure that Sara Shepard did with her books. She answers a question and then asks an even more shocking question, so that's the goal we try to achieve all the time here," she says.

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Email: philiana.ng@thr.com