Pretty Little Liars‘ seventh season is officially underway, and after its first episode, Hanna’s fate is still unknown, Mary Drake has officially made her return to Rosewood, and the Liars believe that Alison was responsible for Charlotte’s death. But how much of that is true, and what can fans expect from the rest of the season?
EW spoke with executive producer Charlie Craig about the premiere and what comes next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is the mystery of who killed Charlotte still alive?
CHARLIE CRAIG: The mystery of who killed Charlotte is actually going to play a big part in season 7 of this show and will be solved. We will get the definitive answer — whether it’s Alison or somebody else — by the end of the season, but it’s going to be a big engine powering what A.D. is trying to accomplish during the course of this season.
I’m curious about the decision to have Spencer be the one who visited Hanna in her dream.
I think if you look at the four girls, the core PLLs, Spencer was the right person to visit in that sequence and to give Hanna hope. Spencer’s the logical one — the concept that if there’s a way in, there’s a way out. Spencer made the most sense as the most calm under fire, and probably the person somebody who’s being put through what Hanna’s being put through would conjure to give her comfort. I thought that was a really cool scene.
How is this experience going to affect Hanna moving forward? It’s one of the darkest things the show’s done.
You’re right. That was one of the darker episodes we’ve seen, and this season is going to be a darker season because it is a season in which the stakes are the highest and A.D. has the most to win or lose. It’s going to be a deadlier season. I mean look, the season began with three girls digging a grave. [Laughs.] They’re not doing that to roast a pig for the luau. I love what we get to do with Hanna, especially in the first half of the season, because what happened to her was traumatic. It’s not like that happened but in the next episode she’s going to be fine. What she went through is going to be a huge engine to motivate some really surprising and scary and really strong and powerful actions that Hanna takes during the first half of our season. That was dark and grim because it needed to be for us to be able to take Hanna where she’s going to go. That’s something to look forward to.
Is there a connection between Mary Drake and A.D.?
We know that Mary and Elliott were up to no good at the end of the last season. It’s very clear that she’s not somebody who you can take at her word or trust. And that was intentional. I think we should be concerned that Mary Drake is the one who “rescued” [Hanna], but Mary Drake is going to be a pivotal figure in this upcoming season.
As soon as she mentioned Spencer’s family, I wanted to know everything.
Yeah! She’s so much fun. She’s clearly really smart but also really scary and kind of crazy. That is not somebody you would turn your back on if you were in a room with her.
The episode started with a flashforward. Is this entire season taking place during the four days?
No, we will catch up by the end of the third or fourth episode. And then we’ll be back in real time moving forward. But despite the fact that Hanna escaped, she got out of the clutches seemingly of A.D. — who knows they still could be digging that grave for her. We don’t know what’s happening between now and then. That was our biggest exciting tease of this first part of this first half of season 7 is who is that hole for, and why are the girls so terrified and frightened, and why isn’t Hanna helping them dig it?
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.