March 16, 2012 4:00pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Pretty Little Liars' Boss Teases Big 'A' Reveal, Relationship Shifts and Season 3
In a few short days, Pretty Little Liars' big reveal -- appropriately dubbed "A" Day -- will be upon us.
In previewing Monday's episode, "unmAsked," the secrecy about the events that transpire is at an all time high. Executive producer Marlene King and cast members remained coy when answering pointed questions about the game-changing reveal of the pot-stirring "A" culprit. But King, who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter prior to the finale, did offer this tease.
"The second we say 'fade in,' the train stops and just when you'll think it’s over, it’s not over and then it’s not over again," she said.
The producer also chatted with THR about the "A" mystery wrapup (or is it?), season 3 and the hints at shifts in three of the four girls' (Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily) romances by finale's end.
The Hollywood Reporter: Can you talk a little bit about why this was the right time to make the big "A" reveal? Why not wait a couple more episodes or another season?
Marlene King: Well it’s right when we were ending the last season or the last half of season 1, we didn’t commit for sure to announcing who "A" was. We committed fully to divulging who “A” was halfway through season 2 and then we made the commitment to do it and it was guns blazing from there.
THR: And obviously you planted seeds in all the episodes prior to [the reveal]?
King: All the episodes. We’ve known who “A” was since the pilot was written, so knowing that, I don’t think there would ever be a way to do this show unless we were committed to this person being “A," because we wanted to make sure “A” always had a motivation, a reason for “A” to do what “A” does. When we reveal “A,” you’ll go back and say, “Oh my god, it all makes sense!”
THR: There seems to be a different culprit every week ..
King: I hope so. I hope everyone is satisfied. I feel like it’s very satisfying for the people who have been invested in the show.
THR: How does the finale gear up for season 3?
King: In addition to revealing who “A” is, we will launch a really big new mystery in the finale and that’s what’s going to fuel a lot of season 3.
THR: Will the “A” games continue on or is that completely done for in the finale?
King: We do reveal who “A” is but the character who plays “A” will be back in season 3 so there’s not really an ending to it in that regard.
THR: The finale takes place at a masquerade ball. What can you tease for viewers?
King: The title of the episode is “unmAsked.” "A" will be unmasked, "A" loves to play games, "A" loves to challenge Spencer, in scavenger hunts and hide and seek, and this is "A’s" ultimate game. What we think is "A’s" reason is really not "A’s" reason at all and you find that out in the finale. A masquerade ball, metaphorically, is the best place to unmask "A." From the beginning [of the episode], it’s a ride that you latch onto. It just doesn’t stop, it’s a train and the train leaves the station. The second we say “fade in,” the train stops and just when you'll think it’s over, it’s not over and then it’s not over again.
THR: Will the girls' romantic lives dramatically shift after the finale?
King: Yes, we did romantic moments in the finale and for several of the couples, [there are] relationship-changing moments. Three out of the four [girls].
THR: Going back to this last episode, was there any controversy regarding the Ezra-Aria scene in the bedroom?
King: I haven’t seen any backlash. There may be, but I have yet to see any. Instead, we got an overwhelmingly positive response to those characters finally doing more than order Chinese takeout.
THR: Is there anything that you’re eyeing to do next season?
King: There’s a lot! We’ve been having fun in season 3, we’ve been putting characters together who have never had scenes together, we’re having people crossing in different ways and bringing a few new characters into the show. We’re having a lot of fun and as much as I am excited for the finale, I’m excited for the summer episodes to start airing because we’ve really reinvented the show. From the title of the premiere, “It Happened That Night,” it becomes the new Jenna thing.
THR: You’ve done this for two seasons now, how many times do you think you’ve talked about this "A" character?
King: Relentlessly. For me, who is “A” has definitely been the driving mystery question of the show. Probably more than who killed Alison.
THR: Will "A" stop being a focal point?
King: You’ll have to wait and see.
Pretty Little Liars finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.