Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin bosses talk 'A' reveal, Riverdale link, and potential season 2

·8 min read

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the season 1 finale of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.

The Liars got their answers. In the season 1 finale of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, Imogen (Bailee Madison), Minnie (Malia Pyles), Noa (Maia Reficco), Tabby (Chandler Kinney), and Faran (Zaria) found out what really happened with their mothers and who exactly had been torturing them all season. The answer? Principal Clanton! Turns out, he was Angela's father, so he teamed up with his son, Archie Waters (A.K.A. the masked creep), to get back at the women who caused Angela's death.

Additionally, Tabby and Imogen confronted Chip (Carson Rowland) about sexually assaulting them and he confessed.

In the end, Imogen, Sheriff Beasley (Eric Johnson), and Archie all ended up in the hospital. (Imogen stabbed Archie shortly before giving birth. Beasley was stabbed by his own wife, which he deserved.) As for Clanton, he was arrested.

But that's not where the season ended: Imogen set a meeting with a couple named Aria and Ezra to potentially adopt her baby! And Archie? He didn't stay down for long. He killed Beasley on his way out of the hospital ... and then he made his way to Chip's doorstep.

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

HBO Max Robert Stanton on 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin'

EW spoke with co-showrunners Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Bring about the many twists and turns of those final episodes.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let's start with "A." You all didn't go with a complete stranger, but you also didn't go with someone we'd seen a ton of — you kind of ended up right in the middle. What did you like about having "A" be Principal Clanton and, of course, Archie?

ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA: Those are exactly the questions we had in the writers' room: Is it a cheat to just bring in someone completely random? Lindsay and I are obviously huge horror movie fans, and we love the tradition of having two killers, the preeminent example being Scream. More than that, we love how in old horror movies there's usually a character that delivers a crazy aria that describes why the killer is doing what they're doing. In Friday the 13th, it's very famously Pamela Voorhees. So we knew that we wanted an aria about why this was happening. The two things that we talked about, one is: So much of this is happening at school. How does "A" know about this? Okay, well maybe it's someone at school. And then honestly, we love the actor who plays Principal Clanton, Robert [Stanton]. And we thought Robert could pull off a monologue. Subconsciously we had maybe written some lines for Principal Clanton that made us think, oh, he could be behind the slasher villain. He could be the puppet master. So yeah, it was nice because it was someone who was in the world, but it wasn't one of the boyfriends.

Now I just I want to know what Archie's face looks like!

LINDSAY CALHOON BRING: He's got a face only a mother could love.

AGUIRRE-SACASA: Horribly disfigured.

BRING: It's funny, we did actually put up a fight for that line. We loved that line. We'd gotten the note to cut that.

AGUIRRE-SACASA: Twice, on two different passes.

BRING: We'd gotten a note more than once to cut that line, but we thought we had to speak for the fact that we're not seeing this person behind the mask. And, as Roberto said, [we love] these amazing villain monologues. And so we loved that line.

Obviously you end on this amazing cliffhanger of Archie gone wild, but with Clanton caught. If we get a season 2, are we still seeing Archie? Or do you feel like that story is closed and it would focus on a new mystery?

AGUIRRE-SACASA: We've talked a little bit about it. When we started all the mysteries running at the beginning of the season, we both wanted to answer the mysteries so that there weren't huge cliffhangers with people feeling cheated. Without spoiling anything, when we have been talking a lot about season 2, we feel like we could introduce another threat. But it's nice that Archie is out there just running around, doing whatever Archie wants to be doing. It's always good to have that.

BRING: And just like Archie is out there, the brain behind the operation is out there too. He's in jail, but he's with us. So they're both out there.

That's true, the number of times people have controlled things from jail ...

AGUIRRE-SACASA: Or people have escaped from jail. That's also a classic horror thing. There's never been a sequel that hasn't begun with someone escaping from an insane asylum. [Laughs]

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

HBO Max Maia Reficco, Malia Pyles, Chandler Kinney, Bailee Madison, and Zaria on 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin'

I do have to mention, you guys threw in that line about the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and Riverdale being in this world. Was that just a fun nod or is that something you would actually like to explore if you got the chance?

AGUIRRE-SACASA: It was definitely just a fun nod, and then it's kind of taken on a lot life of its own with people very passionately expressing their opinions. [Laughs] No, I mean, I think it's just a fun thing. It started because when we were doing the road trip [to Rosewood]. At one point, the road trip was slightly more elaborate, and we had one scene where the girls were driving and they passed by a sign that said Rosewood, 20 miles. And then we had Ravenswood, 30 miles. And then it was, "Can we throw other things on there?" And we were, "Yeah, let's throw Riverdale on there. And let's throw Greendale." It was all these imaginary towns. Isn't that where it started, Lindsay?

BRING: 100 percent. I think we were literally looking to fill a sign that ultimately didn't get shot. But we always think nods are fun and Easter eggs are fun and wanted to give nods to the PLL universe and also the Riverdale universe. I actually pushed that more than Roberto because I'm such a fan. So whenever I can find ways to slip that in, I think Roberto relents to me. It's so funny you brought up Archie, we were just talking about this: Archie was not actually originally scripted. Originally, Andrew Waters was going to be the name of "A." And Andrew Waters existed in the script for months. And then I think days, if not hours before we were set to shoot a scene where we name "A," clearances got back to us and said that name didn't clear. So we sort of scrambled and sent dozens of options. We were having a text chain with Lisa Soper, our finale director, and she was the production designer on Sabrina and she has now directed on Riverdale, and she'd made the joke to us: Is it going to end up being Archie Waters? And I loved it!

AGUIRRE-SACASA: It was fate. It was fate.

You all chose to address a very serious topic with your "A" mystery, having Angela Waters — along with Tabby and Imogen — experience sexual assault. What made you want to tell that specific story?

AGUIRRE-SACASA: I give the props to Lindsay. One fundamental difference between Pretty Little Liars and something like Riverdale, though there are some similarities, but Pretty Little Liars is about how a group of young women move through the world. And how when young women leave their house, sometimes not even their houses are safe spaces, sadly. They go out and there are threats everywhere. And when boys leave their houses, they just don't necessarily move through the world the same way that young women do. So it, I think for me, that was that realization: Oh, this is so specific to these young women's journeys and what they're facing.

BRING: It's a tricky story to tell. It's an ambitious story to tell in a heightened horror slasher show. And I'm really proud of that story. I hope that it's a conversation starter for people. Early on when we were developing the pitch, which we were doing during the shutdown, there was one moment that I will always remember. Roberto had asked me a question: "Hey, for our pitch, we need to know what is the show about." And I really took that to heart and thought about it. I landed on this idea that this is a coming-of-rage story. It was flowing out of me, all the things that make me so f---ing mad as a woman, so mad as a person. Sexual assault affects everyone, not just women, but we were telling a female story specifically. So I allowed myself to just be pissed and think about all the things that enrage me and write them down. And I'm so proud of it, but also I think we both felt the responsibility. It is a platform and it does reach young people, and can we say something meaningful and important with the show? I think being able to tell a grounded horror story set against a heightened slasher story is just the most gratifying storytelling I've ever done.

The last thing I want to say is: Thank you for giving Imogen's baby to my favorite PLL couple.

AGUIRRE-SACASA: She'll have a nice life, right?

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is available on HBO Max now.

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