After seven seasons of friendship, romance, and really twisted reveals, Pretty Little Liars is about to air its two-hour series finale. The episode promises to answer questions — Who is A.D.? Who is the father of Alison’s baby? — and provide moments fans will never forget: Who’s ready for a(nother) wedding? But before the show says one last goodbye, EW spoke with showrunner I. Marlene King about what fans can expect.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Since arriving, A.D. has been all about revealing Charlotte’s killer. Now that the killer has been revealed, how might that change things for A.D. going into the finale?
I. MARLENE KING: We definitely wanted the PLLs, the characters, and the fans to have a sense of closure with the penultimate episode and for it to feel like a finale on its own. It’s sort of like you get two finales, which I think is awesome. It set up the framework where the finale could feel like a movie — literally that if you waited a year and the PLL movie came out, this is what it would be. So it’s definitely going to feel like a big event.
How did having two hours change things for you all?
It’s helpful in telling the story. Like we finally get to reveal so much more than we would. Usually, a finale leads to the next premiere and this is sort of like a finale and a premiere all in one.
We need to talk about the latest promo. People are slapping people; there’s a gun! So much is happening! Do you feel like it accurately represents what fans can expect from the finale?
There’s a lot happening [in the finale]. It’s big in every way. It’s big in terms of drama, big in terms of romance, relationships, and of course mystery and thrills and reveals. I feel like that promo is so fun because it’s a little taste of everything you’re going to get without giving anything away.
Because there are so many returns in that promo, is there one you’re most excited about?
We haven’t seen Melissa in so long, I’m really glad we got to bring her back for this closure. All the people who were in the pilot that are coming back, it’s really fun to have them just because it felt so full circle and like having the family all together again.
Should fans expect a lot of pilot callbacks in the finale?
I think as a storyteller I’ve tried to do that a lot in our premieres and finales. We all have always loved doing that on the show. I definitely watched the pilot several times before I wrote the finale and wanted to make it feel as full circle as possible, even down to the music and working with our composer on the score.
What are the types of series finales that you enjoy and that you set out to make?
I always like to be surprised but not left hanging and trying to figure out what it all means in the end. You just want some sense of closure and I feel like emotional closure is just as important as story closure, that feeling of, “Wow this felt like the right time and way to end this show. I’m going to miss it but I’m okay with how it ended.” That was my goal and that’s what I like about other shows that have, for me, succeeded in their series finales.
The Pretty Little Liars series finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.