An era of terror has come to a close in Rosewood: With Tuesday night's conclusion of the "Summer of Answers," we've all finally closed the major Big A storyline within Pretty Little Liars' universe — meaning that, moving forward, there'll be an entirely different mystery to look forward to during second half of Season 6, as well as the already confirmed Season 7. While most fans have believed that Season 7 would be the final chapter of this show, recently creator I. Marlene King teased that Pretty Little Liars could extend into Season 8, saying, according to Variety, that it's "very possible." While this might be exciting for fans, it does raise a lot of questions: Like, for instance, will all of the cast members stick around if the show goes on another season past its original end date? In the past, Aria herself, Lucy Hale, has suggested that she'll be done with PLL after Season 7. Would Hale stick around for another season of the show, if needed?
Talk of Hale being done with Pretty Little Liars after Season 7 of the show first came up when Hale was interviewed for V Magazine . Here's what she said:
I'll be done next October with [Pretty Little Liars] forever, which is exciting, but also scary at the same time because it's the next chapter of my life... I'm really looking forward to exploring different and darker roles.
It's obviously the "forever" part that is causing some panic — but honestly, I'm not so sure we should freak out just yet. While I can't comment on exactly what Hale was talking about in this interview, she could be using this October timeline because that is the time she's contractually obligated to film Pretty Little Liars through. The show has already gotten the greenlight for Season 7 (ABC Family renewed the series for Season 6 and Season 7 simultaneously) so Hale and the other girls have likely been working with this timeline for quite some time now. Season 8 has not been announced (and it could very well not even happen) so it's plausible that this is what Hale was referring to.
Additionally, I can't see the show moving forward without any of the four core girls. But, let's just consider the possibility that, if the show does go on into Season 8, Hale backs out of a final season while the show continues on without her. If that's the case, then Aria's disappearance would have to become an integral part of the mystery: there's simply no way to write off a character as huge as one of the liars. However, considering nothing is confirmed, there's really no reason to even wonder how an Aria-less PLL would work.
Ultimately I can't see Hale leaving PLL until the show is officially in the grave — like all of us, I have a feeling she'll want to see this one through.
For more Pretty Little Liars, check out the latest episode of Bustle's podcast, Taking This One To The Grave: