Tuesday’s Pretty Little Liars finale made good on its promise of answers — including the true identity of “Charles” DiLaurentis — but as expected, it also left us with a slew of new head-scratchers.
TVLine got PLL mastermind Marlene King on the line to answer some of our biggest questions, including: Did Charles fully transition into a female? Who is the “He” that’s coming for Alison after the time jump? And how can she possibly top the “A” mystery moving forward?
TVLINE | First of all, I’m very concerned about the moms. How did they get out of the basement? Did they get out of the basement?
[Laughs] I think they got out of the basement after the end of last week’s episode; the police found out they were down there. That was really just about having a lack of time to follow up on that storyline. Someone let them out right away.
TVLINE | OK, good. I just wanted to make sure they weren’t still down there five years later.
Maybe they just found the wine locker down there and they’re really having fun.
TVLINE | Alison has a new name in the flashforward. Is she married, or did she just change her name for safety purposes?
She is married.
TVLINE | “Rollins” was, I believe, the last name of a doctor at Radley. Is that who she’s married to?
She’s married to a doctor, and that’s all I’ll say. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Are any of the other girls with someone they weren’t with before the jump?
I’m not going to say, because I think it’ll be fun for fans to wait and find out. All the people who are in the show now are still in our world when we come back.
TVLINE | What can you tell me about this “He” the girls seem so afraid of?
“He” is not Charlotte or CeCe or anyone related to that particular name. It’s a different person the girls are coming to warn Alison about.
TVLINE | Could “He” be the new “A,” in terms of being the show’s Big Bad?
I can’t confirm or deny if there’s a new “A,” but yes, “He” is prospected to be the show’s new baddie.
TVLINE | You spent five years building up this big mystery. Do you think you can top it?
Yes. There are two final twists, and we’ve got 30 episodes to deliver them.
TVLINE | Will one of those twists be who killed Mrs. DiLaurentis?
TVLINE | You say you have 30 episodes left. Is that the definitive end point, or are you waiting to see how it plays out?
We have enough story to take us to the end of Season 7, and we’re going to let the fans tell us if they’re ready to say goodbye to this world and these characters.
TVLINE | Charlotte’s lair, with the hologram, felt very sci-fi. What was the inspiration for that?
You know, sometimes I just wake up with these crazy ideas, Andy. This was like that. I knew Charlotte wouldn’t want to tell her story directly to the girls; it felt like she’d engineer this scenario where she could hear this story. Her intention was to tell it, then take her family out with her.
TVLINE | Will Charlotte remain a part of the show, or is that story over?
We will see Charlotte five years later. Alison stays behind to take care of her, and we’ll see how far she’s come when we make that time jump.
TVLINE | I know you knew CeCe was going to be the mastermind for years, but how long did you have the transgender aspect nailed down?
We started talking about that three-and-a-half years ago, back in Season 3. We knew a character was going to steal the game from Mona. But Vanessa Ray didn’t know until the week before [we filmed]. We kept her in the dark, as we did with Janel Parrish when she was “A.”
TVLINE | Did Charlotte actually transition, or does she merely identify herself as a female?
Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that question. We deliberately decided not to answer it because it’s such a gray area and sensitive issue for people.
TVLINE | Were you concerned people would react negatively to it?
Because it’s so sensitive and such an important issue, and one that I’ve been conscious of on social media — I’m supportive of the whole transgender community — yes, of course. But it was an integral part of the story, and once the transgender movement really started happening a couple of years ago, we had to be even more sensitive. It’s such an important time for that community.
TVLINE | How’s Jason handling all of this?
I think he’s accepting. Both Jason and Alison understand the damage that was done to Charlotte by the lifetime of neglect she got from her family.
TVLINE | Lastly, how did Charlotte get all the money to fund five years of torture? That couldn’t have been cheap.
We know from hints that were dropped that Mrs. D was sending money to the Carissimi Group. Charlotte is the real Wolf of Wall Street; she took that money and built an empire out of it, which is another thing we’ll explore after the time jump.
PLL fans, let’s talk: Who do you think the girls are dating (or married to!) after the jump? Who killed Mrs. D? And would you like to see the series continue beyond Season 7? Drop a comment with all of your thoughts below.