Nostalgia and anticipation filled the air at the Dolby Theatre Saturday afternoon at the “Pretty Little Liars” panel for PaleyFest LA. In front of a rowdy crowd, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Tyler Blackburn, and almost all of the show’s stars sat down for a discussion about the Freeform drama’s seven-year history, while also looking forward at the series’ final 10 episodes, which begin airing next month.
The event started with a sneak peek at the first minute of the final season and then proceeded with a moderated conversation with the cast and two producers. The conversation, peppered with impromptu scene-readings by cast members, focused mainly on the long journey they had all taken with the show. The actors, who reunited after finishing shooting in October, shared stories about when they were cast and the friendships that developed on set.
Benson, who sat near the middle in between Mitchell and Blackburn, revealed stories about the sense of camaraderie that the cast developed. “You can actually see that these girls, and everybody in the cast, actually care about each other on screen as well as off screen,” Benson said. “You can just see it. I think that it’s so cool to be able to feel that and know that it is real and genuine and that’s why it comes across.”
Benson also added funny anecdotes that happened during filming. “Every time I look at Tyler’s face, I start laughing,” said Benson, while stifling laughter. “And then Shay too. We are actually the hardest people to work with to get through a scene because once you start it’s really hard to stop. Especially with us three in one scene.”
While the conversation focused mainly on the past, the sense of excitement for the final 10 episodes was obvious. While the cast took great pains not to spoil any details about the season, which executive producer I. Marlene King described as a “love letter to the fans,” they did share their excitement to bring the show to a satisfying close.
Mitchell talked about her anticipation for the upcoming season. “I’m very excited for the show to air and to see the fans’ reactions. I won’t have to hold in any secrets anymore,” Mitchell said. “The fans can expect to be completely shocked, but happy that all their questions will be answered.”
King shared a similar excitement to see fans react to the final episodes. “I think that when shows end there’s always a group of people who aren’t happy about it, but I think the majority of people will be happy with the ending,” said King. “We all worked so hard on it with the goal of satisfying fans with a proper ending to a show which has meant so much to so many people.”
After the panel discussion, the event was opened up to audience questions. After the panel, much of the cast lingered behind to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.