‘Pretty Little Liars’ Q&A: Cast and Producers Look Back on Seven Seasons

After seven seasons, nearly 160 episodes, endless cliffhangers and many non-spoilers, “Pretty Little Liars” is coming to an end. The Freeform mega-hit is closing its final chapter for good on Tuesday night with the two-hour series finale — which means that “A” will finally be revealed. Yes, really. This time, for good.

In anticipation of the big “Uber A” reveal, Variety spoke with the cast and producers of “Pretty Little Liars” one last time.

Read ahead to find out the “PLL” stars’ all-time favorite couples, favorite death scenes, favorite “A” pranks, what they’ll miss most about the show, plus, what’s next…

IF YOU COULD HAVE PLAYED ANOTHER CHARACTER, WHO WOULD IT BE?

Lucy Hale (Aria): Probably Mona. There were so many different sides to her, but Janel played her so beautifully.

Troian Bellisario (Spencer): Aria. The more that I think about it, the relationship between Aria and Ezra got to explore some really fun things.

Shay Mitchell (Emily): I would have probably wanted to play Hanna or Aria for the wardrobe alone. Heels and dresses are more my vibe than Emily’s tracksuits and sneakers!

Janel Parrish (Mona): I actually originally auditioned for Spencer, and I think she would have been a really fun role to play. I love how Spencer is always the team leader and the detective of the group.

Ian Harding (Ezra): Spencer. Because who doesn’t want to be the brains of the outfit?

Andrea Parker (Jessica/Mary Drake): Luckily for me, I was already given the gift of a second character to play with Mary Drake, so I’m satisfied. Though I did once ask Marlene about Aunt Carol…

Oliver Goldstick (executive producer): Are you kidding? When you’re the writer, you play them all. Behind a closed door, that is — otherwise, family and friends assume you need to be medicated.

Joseph Dougherty (executive producer): Mona. Because she knows everything.

Charlie Craig (executive producer): Mona. She was always somehow involved in everything that was going on.

Marlene King (creator): Jessica and Mary Drake, because playing two people in the same scene is amazing fun.

WHAT COUPLE DO YOU SHIP THE MOST?

Lucy Hale: Ezria — possibly because I am a little biased. 

Shay Mitchell: I’m going to have to say Emison on this one.

Janel Parrish: Haleb! Always have, always will. Their chemistry is smokin’.

Ian Harding: My own. Duh. Actually I really love the ol’ Alison and Emily storyline.

Keegan Allen: Spencer and Tobias…duh.

Andrea Parker: I ship all the original couples, but I am captain of the Emison ship!

Oliver Goldstick: I ship all the couples, but I probably lean the most toward Haleb.

Joseph Dougherty: Emily and Paige — there, I’ve said it and I’m not going to take it back.

Charlie Craig: Haleb — I mean, who doesn’t?

Marlene King: I can’t answer that. Mother cannot pick her favorite children.

WHICH KILLED-OFF CHARACTER DO YOU MISS THE MOST?

Lucy Hale: Charlotte.

Troian Bellisario: Jessica DiLaurentis.

Shay Mitchell: That’s a hard one — is anyone really ever dead in Rosewood?

Janel Parrish: Detective Wilden. He was always so intriguing and creepy.

Ian Harding: Me! Wait…

Keegan Allen: Characters have been killed off?! Don’t they always come back in a flashback?

Andrea Parker: Mrs. D, of course!

Oliver Goldstick: Does anyone ever really die in Rosewood? That’s a tough one, but I’d probably go with Alison’s mother, Mrs. D — Tippi the talking parrot would be a close second.

Joseph Dougherty: Tippi the bird. No, wait, Tippi’s still alive and squawking somewhere out there. I suppose just to make things more complicated for Emily, Maya.

Charlie Craig: Noel Kahn. The sneer that launched a thousand ships.

Marlene King: That’s hard. I miss Jessica. Which may be, in part, why we created Mary.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “A” PRANK OF ALL-TIME?

Lucy Hale: The pig in the trunk was pretty awful. 

Troian Bellisario: The dollhouse.

Shay Mitchell: One that always stands out for me was early on in the series when Emily sat down for a meal at school and all of the alphabet cereal was made of “A’s” — I always loved that one.

Janel Parrish: Soooo many to choose from — I think keeping the girls in the dollhouse. What can top that? It was the sickest thing “A” has done.

Ian Harding: I loved when “A” some how managed to get the alphabet cereal box to contain only “A” letter cereal, then somehow, magically gets it to Emily. Hilarious and super cold.

Keegan Allen: Season 1. “A” was a savage in every way.

Andrea Parker: You’ll have to watch the finale!

Oliver Goldstick: That’s tough. There are so many faves. Doping Emily’s sore-muscle-ointment, locking Spencer in a tiny dressing room with a poisonous snake, giving Emily a massage and leaving the initial “A” on her frosty water cup, hiring a dead-eyed little boy named Seth in a doll shop to play a spooky clairvoyant. There are many, many more, but I’ll shut up now.

Joseph Dougherty: Putting the body bag in the ice-filled coffin in “This is a Dark Ride.”

Charlie Craig: I still love the Alphabet cereal with all “A”s. But that was my idea, so I’m biased.

Marlene King: It was brutal to watch, but very memorable when “A” forced Hanna to eat all the donuts.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

Lucy Hale: I’m currently filming the Blumhouse thriller “Truth or Dare.” Then I start production on my new CW series “Life Sentence” in August. It premieres in 2018!

Troian Bellisario: I’m looking forward to the release of the first film that I wrote and starred in, titled “Feed.” And I hope to do more film and hopefully get back on stage.

Shay Mitchell: I filmed a thriller movie called “Cadaver” that will come out next year, and of course, I will always love traveling and documenting it for my Youtube channel.

Janel Parrish: I have some fun projects coming up that I can’t announce yet!

Tyler Blackburn: I have a film called “Hello Again” showing in film festivals at the moment, which I’m really proud of. I was able to play an extremely different character than Caleb Rivers, and I pushed myself as an actor and artist. The film is a musical and has a lot of passion behind every scene.

Ian Harding: Hopefully employment? In all honesty, I have a few irons in the fire in the TV world, but mostly, I’m working on having the most amazing life I can possibly have, and hopefully my career will come along for the ride.

Keegan Allen: Working on a bunch of projects, meeting fans for my first book “life.love.beauty” and working on my second photography book.

Andrea Parker: After these past years of intense drama, I’m looking for a comedy.

Oliver Goldstick: I’m writing and executive producing a new series with the lovely Lucy Hale called “Life Sentence.” She is amazing in the central role. I feel a little like a proud papa because I’ve watched this gifted young actor continue to evolve and stretch and mature — and this time, we didn’t even have to lock her in a casket with a corpse.

Joseph Dougherty: Writing!

WHAT WILL YOU MISS MOST ABOUT THE SHOW?

Lucy Hale: It sounds cliche, but I’ll miss the comfortable, fun, relaxing environment we created on set.

Troian Bellisario: The feeling of comfort on that set with that crew. And the feeling of family.

Shay Mitchell: I’ll miss being able to work with my castmates and crew that have become family to me. I have spent more time with them in the last seven years than I have my actual family!

Janel Parrish: The cast and crew. What a family we created.

Tyler Blackburn: I’m going to miss the relationships with the cast and crew that developed over seven seasons. We had an especially wonderful crew. There was so much support and camaraderie among us. It felt safe and happy.

Ian Harding: The cast and crew. It was joy everyday to work on that show. Even in the worst moments, I would still rather be there then any other set.

Keegan Allen: The connection between our characters that took years to build upon and how that translated to such ease on set.

Andrea Parker: That’s easy. I’ll miss the incredible interaction I’ve had with the show’s fans and their passion for the world Sara, Marlene and the rest of this extraordinary “PLL” family helped to create.

Oliver Goldstick: Possibly most of all the camaraderie and family-type atmosphere fostered by producing a series that was stage-bound and shot on Warner Brother’s wonderful backlot. I will also miss the passion of our devoted viewers — strangers in other countries palpitating when they heard I worked on “PLL.” I had one officer at U.K.’s Passport Control who threatened not to let me into England if I didn’t tell her who “A” was.

Joseph Dougherty: The creative village of people who came together to tell these stories.

Charlie Craig: The camaraderie of the cast and crew. I’ve never been on a show where everyone involved was really considered family. It’s the best experience I’ve had in my career.

Marlene King: I’ll miss my “PLL” family.

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