The Pretty Little Liars stars greeted excited fans at Saturday’s PaleyFest event, which took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Ashley Benson, Tyler Blackburn, Shay Mitchell, Andrea Parker, Janel Parrish, Sasha Pieterse and Ian Harding, as well as creator and showrunner I. Marlene King and executive producer Joseph Dougherty were in attendance to dish on the last 10 episodes of the hit Freeform series, which comes to its conclusion this summer after its seven-season run. Noticeably absent from the cast were Lucy Hale and Troian Bellisario, who sent video messages to their fans, thanking them for their dedication to the series.
The celebration kicked off by previewing the first minute of the returning Season 7 episode titled “Playtime.”
The clip begins with a badly injured Spencer (Bellisario) in the back of an ambulance saying “Mom?” – the word was in reference to the summer finale when Mary Drake (Parker) revealed that she was her mother after Spencer was shot. As she’s taken into the hospital, the liars gather around asking if Noel (Brant Daugherty) was A.D. the whole time. While they ponder what’s happening, the scene cuts to Toby (Keegan Allen) being wheeled into the ER in a neck brace. “If Toby’s here, where’s Yvonne?” Hanna asks, as the scene comes to an end.
After the clip, moderator Jarett Weiselman from Buzzfeed asked King what was her intention for the last episodes, “We really wanted these last 10 episodes to be a love letter to the fans,” she said. When asked if the final episodes will answer all the questions that fans have, Dougherty replied, “It’s every single question we could remember and to set the relationships in their place where they will go on. It’s a huge thank you for seven years. None of us expected this to be this thing. Our gratitude is huge.”
King also described the series finale as: “All the end games will be the end games, but nobody is going to get there super easy.”
Dougherty added that things will get tough for the characters but, “Without hurdles, the prize is not worthy… You have to earn your happy endings.”
The cast also teased the fates of certain relationships. Remembering the moment where Caleb (Blackburn) told Hanna (Benson) that they’re meant to spend the rest of their lives together, Blackburn stated, “I feel like Haleb is meant to be. Spaleb was fun to dabble with, but Haleb is where it’s at. I was excited to do that.”
As for Emily’s (Mitchell) kiss with Alison (Pieterse), the actresses said that they “were excited” about the Emison kiss and are looking forward to what’s to come. Alison is currently pregnant but according to Pieterse, “We don’t know who the father is, really.” That means fans will have to look forward to the “you are the father reveal” at the end of the series.
Harding also teased that his character Ezra and Aria (Hale) “can overcome anything” but that he’s in a tough situation. “It’s a difficult decision to make – the woman I thought was dead isn’t dead,” he said, adding, “Ezra is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It can be a bit brutal.”
As to where we will find Mona in the last episodes, Parrish said, “She’s still Mona, that’s what makes her character interesting, you never know what side she’s on… She’s sort of dabbling with, ‘Do I want to be on the good side or seduced by the dark side.'” The actress also added that Mona’s friendship with Hanna keeps her coming back to the good side, and that as the first “A,” she takes pride in being “the first one to wear that hoodie.”
Talking about the two-hour series finale that “was written like a movie,” King left the audience gasping when she stated, “I hope you guys are satisfied with this huge twist we give you.” Unfortunately she didn’t elaborate on what that would be.
Pretty Little Liars returns on Tuesday, April 18 on Freeform.