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‘Pretty Little Liars’ Season 7: Marlene King Talks Returning Characters, Potential Deaths and a Marriage Proposal

Pretty Little Liars” kicks off its seventh — and possibly final — season on Tuesday night, and one big question is on the Liars’ minds: is Hanna alive?

“The premiere episode starts with an extremely fast-ticking clock. The clock is ticking and we find out by the end of Act 1 if Hanna is dead or alive, and what her condition is — and it is very disturbing,” “Pretty Little Liars” creator Marlene King tells Variety of Ashley Benson’s character, who was kidnapped and seen unconscious in the final moments of Season 6 this spring.

Whether on not Hanna makes it out alive, King promises that the body count is higher than ever before this season.

“The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been in Rosewood, regarding the Liars and A.D./Uber A,” she says. “Because of that, there are a lot of consequences and fatalities.”

Though Freeform has not commented on the end of the series, rumors have been long swirling that Season 7 will be the last with cast members weighing in on the buzz. Last week, King said: “The show is coming to a closure of sorts, and that’s all we can say for now. Everyone loves their characters and the world so we hope it continues in some way shape or form.”

Asked by Variety in this interview if there’s a possibility for new wave of “Pretty Little Liars,” perhaps with a new cast, King offered: “It could be one of many things and we really don’t know what that might be. We don’t mean to be ambivalent — we just don’t really know. That’s why we really don’t have an answer.”

When asked if this upcoming season will be the last with the current cast, she said, “We still officially don’t know.”

With that said, here, King talks to Variety about Season 7, including the upcoming Uber A reveal, the return of Paige, Emison, Ezria and Spencer’s big scene.

You confirmed that we will find out who Uber A is in Season 7. Could there be more than one person?

One person is the master, but that master may have some puppets.

At what point in the season will we find out who Uber A is?

I’m not going to tell you! I’d like that to be a surprise. But, you will find out.

There will be a proposal in the summer season and a wedding in the back half, correct?

Correct.

Is that couple currently together?

I think for fans of the original ships, it’s going to be a very magical and rewarding proposal. I cried and a lot of people cried at the table read for that episode, and I really cried when I saw it. You don’t have to wait for the finale to see it. I think it’s going to make a lot of people happy!

You said that Spencer will break up with someone. What more can you tease?

It’s more of a goodbye scene than a breakup scene — like a goodbye forever scene. I can’t say much more or else it will ruin the surprise along the way, but it was a scene that reminded Troian as an actress that this will eventually all come to an end, and it was very heartbreaking for her.

Ezria left off on a steamy note. What can you tease about their relationship going forward?

We really pick up moments later in the premiere. They’re right where we left them. They’re coming off of their very sexy, sexy time. In the episode, I think Aria even says, “Are we even a we again?” so that is the question that launches their storyline for the summer season.

Paige is coming back. How will her return affect Emily’s storyline?

It affects it in a very complex and dynamic way. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch it play out. As all of these great cast members return to Season 7, we’re having a lot of fun — why are they back? Are they honest? Are they suspicious? Is it mystery-related? Is it romance-related? We don’t want to give away those stories, and we just want to let them play out for fans, as we go.

What can you tease for both the Paily and the Emison fans?

I just want to say enjoy the ride. We only have a certain amount of time left, and just enjoy the ride. Just try to have fun with it. Don’t panic.

If Hanna is alive, what will happen with Haleb?

If Hanna were to be alive, there are a lot of decisions to be made. The flashback that we saw in the finale — which is one of my favorite scenes of all time — was so poetic and so beautiful and definitely brought up feelings for both of those characters.

What was Ashley Benson’s reaction to not being included in the Season 7 promo poster?

Ashley Benson was in my office when the network came over with the artwork to show us and we all just loved it because we thought it was just a stunning image and really fun to go full steam ahead of how far will the go to save Hanna?

How was it for Ashley during the entire hiatus with fans not knowing if she’s dead or alive?

I think she’s having fun. As Andrea Parker will attest, no one ever dies in Rosewood. I always remind people that Alison was a series regular and dead on our show for three seasons, so if someone is here working, you don’t know if they’re dead or alive.

Should we be worried that any of the main Liars could be killed off in Season 7?

I think we should always be worried.

You said there is going to be a huge reveal at the end of the season. Is that the summer season or the back-half of the season?

The summer season. There is something that is revealed that is very shocking.

When will Ali find out that her mom had a twin? I’m assuming that she can’t believe she’s hallucinating forever…

Yes — this is true! We pick up the show moments later with all of the Liars getting ready to go into the police station and here in walks Mary Drake, so that story starts to unfold rather quickly in our show, and Ali is in the mental hospital right now. In addition to saving Hanna, Ali is a huge focal point of our premiere.

You said that there’s a big Alison twist. Can you tease anything regarding that?

It will be this summer.

When we spoke at the end of last season, you told me that you were hoping to bring back Vanessa Ray for some flashbacks. Will that happen?

Yes. We will see her this season.

So we will get answers on the backstory of Elliot and Charlotte?

Yes.

What is the theme of Season 7?

I’ll use Ian Harding’s quote: it’s the most romantic and deadly season of all.

Compared to other seasons, how does this one compare?

We give more reveals throughout the season than we ever have. We are constantly giving information to the fans. Our fans love to put pieces of the puzzle together and we’re giving the pieces really quickly this season. The entire season grabs you from the get-go and it doesn’t let go.

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