Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) was sadly absent from the Pretty Little Liars winter premiere. But where has the not-dead girl run off to? Showrunner Marlene King addressed the burning question with The Huffington Post.

“I won’t give any hints about that, but she will make several appearances throughout the rest of the season,” teased Marlene. “Eventually, before the season’s over, fans will find out what happened to Alison the night she went missing and why she left Rosewood.”

So, it sounds like we won’t be getting any big answers any time soon. In fact, it seems that Ali will be absent for the first few episodes of Season 4B. When she does return, the Liars won’t have necessarily worked through their anger with their formed bestie. (Would you be able to?) According to Marlene, “They want her home, but it’s not easy to know that Alison’s alive and out there. The dynamic she has on the group, it’s like the same sentiment as in the pilot: Popular in life and death. She’s not here but she’s everywhere. That sort of sense of Ali really comes back into the group.”

As for the epic season finale we’re eventually in store for, according to Marlene, it will not only reveal many of the answers we’ve long been waiting for surrounding the circumstances of Ali’s faked death, but also launch the series in an entirely new direction: “I think the finale really changes the whole course of the show. It’s such a surprise and such a fascinating turn of events,” said Marlene. No need to convince us, Marlene. We’ll be there!

Where do you think Alison is hiding? And why do you think she left in the first place? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!