11:19am PT by Alyse Whitney
'Pretty Little Liars' Creator Says Season 7 Is "Beginning of the End"
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season-six finale of Pretty Little Liars.]
Pretty Little Liars has gone through a few cycles of “A” villains in its six seasons, but the latest Big Bad will be its “biggest, baddest, and scariest” yet.
Creator I. Marlene King tells The Hollywood Reporter that season seven will be the “beginning of the end” of the show, with the “Uber A” storyline coming to a “satisfying” conclusion full of huge reveals.
On Tuesday’s season-six finale, the new culprit “AD” was unmasked as Mary Drake, the twin of Alison DiLaurentis' (Sasha Pieterse) mom (played by Andrea Parker, who was just upped to series regular). She was Charles DiLaurentis' (Vanessa Ray) — who later transitioned to Charlotte — mother, and has been working with Ali’s husband, Dr. Elliot Rollins (Huw Collins), to avenge Charlotte’s death.
Although the show’s fate past season seven has not been decided, King hints at a “homecoming” for characters from the past. Read on for more about a potential season eight, the huge twin twist and how long fans will have to wait to see Hanna’s (Ashley Benson) fate.
How long have you had this twin twist coming with Jessica? What made you decide it would be her, rather than one of the girls, like how Ali had a twin in the series?
We definitely didn’t want to do the Ali thing because it was too close to the books. We started talking about Mrs. D having the twin when we originally started talking about the character of Charlotte and how important she was going to be to the show. It all organically came together a few seasons ago. I always told Andrea Parker [who plays Mrs. DiLaurentis and Mary Drake] that she was going to be around for a long time, even after she died. She didn’t know until last year exactly how that was going to happen.
Is this Big Bad going to be "Uber AD” now?
“AD” is "Uber A” and “AD” has crowned “AD”-self as “AD,” but fairly early on in season seven, the PLLs will crown this “AD” as "Uber A," because it tends to be the biggest, baddest, scariest “A” of all.
No one is dead in Rosewood until you see a body, but Hanna looked pretty dead. What can you tease about her fate?
You will find out in the first episode of season seven what her immediate fate is.
What’s an overarching theme of seven seven? Will it be centered around “Uber A’s” storyline ending?
We have the beauty of one season — a relatively short amount of time — to complete this story, which allows us to go gangbusters in terms of pacing. And there is still a lot of story to tell, so it’s going to unfold and unravel more quickly than we’ve ever told a story before. Which as storytellers, we love the ability to speed up the story. The finale really was explosive, and it launches the beginning of the end of PLL as we know it.
We don’t know the fate of PLL past season seven, and some of the cast members have talked about it being the last. Do you have any conceptual ideas past season seven?
We’re thinking right now about going out with a bang and ending this storyline in a way that is satisfying for everyone who works here, everyone who watches. That’s my immediate goal. And that’s all I’m 100 percent focused on right now.
With the storyline coming to a close, is there anyone you reached out to for this final season? Was there anyone on your wish list from the PLL world?
Everyone’s on my wish list! I have called everyone. We have literally called season seven thematically the homecoming, and I hope a lot of actors who are on other shows or under contract at other places can come back. We are working really hard to make sure everyone gets to come and be a part of season seven.
There were big reunions with Ezria and Haleb. They don’t seem like the cheating types — was it all about emotion?
To me, they were both very organic moments for those characters. Hanna’s worried, she thinks she might die. Caleb triggers that flashback about not letting her down and she remembers how she let him down in the biggest way. I think it unfolded beautifully for those characters. And Ezria, they just can’t help themselves, you know? They can’t help it!
The Carissimi Group is still a bit of a mystery, but Ali had to sign over her stake in it to Elliot. Is it going to be a big part of season seven?
The Carissimi Group, we know, was a very well-funded organization that Charlotte used to fund her “A”-ness. In the finale, Elliot says to Alison, “Charlotte would be really thrilled with the work you’re doing,” because Jason and Alison have turned the Carissimi Group into a non-profit to help people. What appears at the end of the episode is Elliot and Mary want control of the Carissimi Group, which is why they drove Alison crazy. She had to sign over all her free will when she went to the mental hospital.
Pretty Little Liars airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.