How will Pretty Little Liars end? Well, no one knows — largely because (as EW’s recent cover story pointed out) the series is at the top of its game right now and will likely run for another couple seasons. The “A” team is here to stay!
But the end is still worth thinking about. Should the show — which will end its third season on March 19 — keep telling stories at the same pace, the end of season 5 would see the girls graduate from high school, likely in the spring of 2015. (PLL has been renewed through a 24-episode fourth season so far, which will keep it on the air through at least next March.) Commencement seems like a perfect point to wrap things up, right?
Executive producer Marlene King is toying with the five-seasons-and-out idea, but for now she remains coy: “Knowing the endgame allows us to have something to work toward.” How does the entire Pretty Little Liars creative team see these girls going out? King, her fellow executive producer Oliver Goldstick, and the actresses think the four characters — Aria (Lucy Hale), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Emily (Shay Mitchell) — should have a happy ending, but they’ve all got some rather interesting suggestions for how it should all wrap up ultimately, which you can read below.
King: “It is possible for the Little Liars to move on from this experience. That’s going to be their happy ending, finally finding a way to move on.”
Goldstick: “When we started three years ago, we had a clear timeline and a chronology of what we thought was going to be the end game, what would be revealed. We’re sort of at the place now where we go, ‘Okay, we’ve got an endgame.’ Hopefully we’re going to get the studio [Warner Bros.] and network [ABC Family] on board with this because it’s clear to us what we want. We can get there sooner rather than later, and I think it would be pretty damn satisfying, too. Yes, there’s going to be a happy ending, and it’ll be that much richer because they have been through so much together.”
Hale: “The girls have gone past the point of no return, so I think that their only happy ending, at this point, is finding these answers and then making a move forward. I don’t know how they’ve come through it so far, but they’ve done a pretty damn good job.”
Benson: “I don’t know where the producers are going to go with wrapping up the show. I hope there’s some sort of happy ending. They’ve been through so much through the last three years, so I hope that that’s the goal with the writers — to kind of make it obviously as scary and crazy and trippy as possible, but have the outcome be, ‘Wow! Okay!’ Or have the outcome be, ‘What the hell just happened?’ And end it on, like, a crazy shocking note. Then they can do a spin-off with [Sasha Pieterse’s character] Alison [DiLaurentis] from when she was alive. That’s what I always say they should do. Because she’s so young. Everyone loves the show so much, and I’m like, ‘You guys should do a spin-off and she could get her own show.'”
Bellisario: “In my version of things, I would want the girls to find out what actually happened the night Alison died and then, in that moment, there’s a freedom with which they can kind of come forth and, in strength, take down whoever ‘A’ is and put Alison to rest, finally. I don’t want it to be like the ending of Mean Girls, where they’re about to graduate and you see the four new girls walking up. You could so easily take Pretty Little Liars and make ‘A’ torture four new girls for seasons. To me, ‘A’ would not have significance beyond that mystery because that was the event that birthed it.”
Mitchell: “Oh my gosh, I’d like to believe that everybody can have a happy ending, and I don’t think it’s over until it’s over. I think at the end of it, these girls are going to come out on top. Then they can just do a year off and vacation, far, far away, with no technology at their side.”
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky