Pretty Little Liars wrapped filming in late 2016, but the stars reunited at a panel in Los Angeles on Saturday as fans got one last chance to see most of the cast together before the final 10 episodes of the series air. In addition, the lucky Liars in attendance at the show’s PaleyFest 2017 panel also got to see the first minute of season 7’s eleventh episode before it was released online.
Stars Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse, Janel Parrish, Andrea Parker, Ian Harding, and Tyler Blackburn were on the panel with creator I. Marlene King and executive producer Joseph Dougherty. Although Lucy Hale and Troian Bellisario could not be in Los Angeles for the event, the duo sent thank you videos for the fans.
While the final ten episodes of the series are under lock and key until they debut in April on Freeform, here are seven tidbits the cast and producers revealed about the second half of season 7.
When all the titular Pretty Little Liars shared their final scene, everyone agreed it was Alison (Pieterse) who got the most difficult line of dialogue. But you’ll have to wait until the end to find out what line she could barely say.
“I got the hardest line, but I can’t tell you what it is,” Pieterse said. “It took me 15 takes to get it right because I was crying.”
Because of scheduling, they actually filmed this scene earlier in the final week, but King confirmed it was one of the final moments of the series. “It’s the last scene where all the Pretty Little Liars are together,” she said.
Alison and Emily (Mitchell) have been an item throughout the series, and fans who “ship” characters together have dubbed them “Emison.” King suggested that the remaining episodes will focus on Alison coming to terms with her identity.
“Alison really hasn’t dealt with her sexuality,” King said. “These ten episodes are really about Alison trying to figure out what her sexuality is. Emily plays a big part of that.”
Pretty Little Liars began when Spencer (Bellisario), Hanna (Benson), Aria (Hale), and Emily got a threatening note signed from “A.” But finding out the identity of the mysterious “A” wasn’t the end. There was an “A” behind “A,” and now the Liars must root out “A.D.” The character of “A.D.” is the most powerful of all.
“It felt like it had to be Uber A,” King said. “Mona (Parrish)’s original A. Charlotte (Vanessa Ray) is Big A, and A.D. is Uber A.”
Bellisario, whose father is TV titan Donald P. Bellisario (creator of classic TV series Magnum P.I., Quantum Leap, and NCIS), made her TV directorial debut in episode 15 of PLL‘s final season. In it, the star used her friendships with her costars to her advantage.
“Because she knew us so well, she said, ‘How would you feel if [your husband] Hudson [Sheaffer] said this?’” Pieterse said. “It puts you in the right mindset. Really, there’s not many directors that can do that.”
It’s a big Alison episode too, perhaps one that directly addresses her sexuality. “It speaks a lot to Alison verbalizing something she’s never verbalized,” Dougherty said.
Episode 20 is a two-hour show, and King designed it to be more like a film than a simple double episode.
“The finale is a two-hour event,” King said. “It feels like a movie. It was written as if it was a movie. I hope you guys are satisfied with this huge twist.”
King and Dougherty have been calling the final season “a love letter to the fans,” and promise to answer all the questions they might have. That is, if they can remember all the questions they asked throughout the show’s seven years.
“It’s every single question we could remember,” Dougherty said. “And to set the relationships in the place where they’re going to go on after the show ends.”
The final 10 episodes will be the “end game,” as King is promising, but won’t conclude in a way anyone expects — even the characters themselves.
“Nobody’s going to get there super easily,” King said. “There’s going to be some bends on the road we have to live through to live happily ever after.”
Emily could very well ride off into the sunset with her true love by the series finale, but for 10 more episodes, she’s going to have all the romantic drama she can fit into her life.
“Emily definitely has her revolving door of lovely ladies,” Mitchell said. “There’s always a triangle here and here, sometimes a square, sometimes the other one. There will be some fun stuff.”
The first minute of episode 11 shows Spencer (Bellisario) in the ambulance being treated for her gunshot wound, and she’s not doing great. When she arrives at the hospital, the other four see Toby (Keegan Allen) being wheeled through the hall, bandaged up after his automobile accident with Yvonne (Kara Royster) — but Yvonne is nowhere to be found.
Toby’s not conscious either, so the other 43 minutes of episode 11 still have a lot of mysteries to answer!
Pretty Little Liars returns April 18 on Freeform.