Is there actually such thing as happily ever after in the twisted town of Rosewood, PA? Apparently, there is. After seven seasons of straight chaos, Season 7B of Pretty Little Liars may be, dare I say, the happiest. (A.D. reveal and inevitable deaths aside, of course). At LA's PaleyFest over the weekend, I speak with PLL creator I. Marlene King and her crew about what's to come for fan-favorite 'ships in the last season. Not only do they hint that the last 10 episodes will be the sexiest, but they encourage fans to hold onto hope of their favorite couples winding up together. Interesting...
"It’s the most romantic season. It really is true, you’re gonna get a lot of steamy," Janel Parris (Mona) tells me on the carpet. And Ezria, Spoby, and Haleb lovers, rejoice. "A lot of original characters’ 'ships might possibly come back together, which is good." I won't lie, I had my doubts.
Aria and Ezra (Lucy Hale and Ian Harding) are basically walking down the aisle, but will that actually go through without no drama whatsoever? Like the return of Nicole, perhaps? Also, Spencer and Toby (Troian Bellisario and Keegan Allen) grew apart in the time jump and although Hanna and Caleb (Ashley Benson and Tyler Blackburn) had that "spend the rest of our lives together" moment, I just can't see it all going off without a hitch.
While there may be unexpected turns along the way (hello, it's PLL), these couples may prove me wrong because their endgame is looking strong. "Personally, I ship all of the original couples," says Andrea Parker, who plays Mary Drake/Jessica DiLaurentis. "All of them." Lucky for shippers, King is also in their corner.
"I can’t pick one against the next, they’re all my babies. But I will say, all the couples I ship live happily ever after," the creator tells me. So, will her "babies" AKA original 'ships ride off into the sunset? Possibly, well, as close as it can get to a sunset for Rosewood, anyway. "It’s not gonna be wrapped up in a bow but it’s gonna be wrapped up and presented in a real nice way," Parker tells me.
Executive producer Joseph Dougherty says that although "shipping issues have gotten really complicated," he and the team hope to make loyal fans happy in some way. "I hope that everyone will be satisfied in the way the ships resolve. I’m hoping people will be satisfied with the adventure," he says.
So if they encourage fans to ship the original couples, does that mean there will be trouble in paradise for Emily and Alison AKA Emison (Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse)?
Potentially. But regardless, Mitchell and Pieterse tell fans during the cast panel that they love shooting together and are totally game for a more invested on-screen relationship (and possibly spin-off). Benson and Blackburn have the same feelings about Haleb. Blackburn says the intense scene with the line, "We're meant to spend the rest of our lives together," in the first half of Season 7 was "magical." He's pulling for them too. "Spaleb was fun to dabble with for me, [but] Haleb is where it's at," he tells the crowd.
All in all, King is confident with where the series finale is ultimately headed. "We really wanted these last few episodes to be a love letter to the fans," she says during the panel. "We hope these ten episodes are a gift." Well, my day is certainly made.