Pretty Little Liars is currently filming its fifth season with no signs of stopping. Showrunner Marlene King has said that they will continue making it as long as the network and the fans want it, but what does that mean for the central mystery? Will adding more seasons than the five Marlene originally intended for the teen murder mystery drama affect the coherence and continuity of the story? Marlene and producer Oliver Goldstick talked to The Writers’ Room on the subject.
"There's always an end game. We knew from the beginning that Mona was original 'A', we know now who uber-'A' is,” Marlene said. “We really work from the back forward, even with each season. We know what the ending is and then we work backwards and fill in the blanks. Mystery comes first and then comes all the great character stuff."
Oliver added that there are “tentpoles” for each season that guide the writing process: “The tent-poles are there and you basically have to do set-ups, you're writing to those set-ups, you're building up ramps to suspicion of a certain character. The idea is to make surprises happen. You certainly want twists, but it has to be legitimate. There has to be motivation, why would this person want to hurt Alison?"
As for the potential for more seasons — six or even beyond — Marlene seemed unconcerned about both having enough material and maintaining the suspense of the mystery. She said that the writers have always known how the story is going to end, and that ending can be done whenever the writers choose: "From the beginning, I always thought five seasons, but then when we started looking at what the end of season 4 was going to be, we got so excited that in my mind, automatically a Season 6 came in there,” said Marlene. “We can end it whenever we want because we know the ending. As long as the fans are still loving it."
Do you think PLL could sustain another few seasons? What ending do you think Marlene has in mind? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on June 10, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.