It took six seasons, but Pretty Little Liars finally unmasked (in the truest sense of the word) its first villain. Unlike Mona and Charlotte before him, Dr. Elliott Rollins (Huw Collins) made his Big Bad debut by pulling off a silicone mask of the late Detective Wilden and revealing his true, evil British self. See? He was literally unmasked. No cloak of darkness. No hoodie. It was exhilarating.
During the explosive March 15 finale, co-creator Marlene King made good on her promise to put an end to the pervasive twin theory: The late Charlotte (Vanessa Ray) was actually Mrs. DiLaurentis's (Andrea Parker) adopted daughter and the biological daughter of her secret twin sister Mary Drake, who was also institutionalized at Radley Sanitarium. It turns out Mary Drake and Elliott, a.k.a. Charlotte's former flame, were working together this entire time -- and poor Ali (Sasha Pieterse) was just an unfortunate pawn in her husband's vengeful games.
In short, Elliott is not a good dude, or at least that's what his questionable actions have lead us to believe. MTV News chatted with Collins about his character's motives moving forward and maybe not being in cahoots with Mary Drake after all.
MTV: I have to admit that I saw this reveal coming. Not that I imagined he'd be pulling a Wilden mask off his face, but I had a sneaking suspicion Elliott was up to no good. I always joke that every new guy in Rosewood is guilty until proven innocent because there's always something shady and off about them, but for the most part, Dr. Rollins was seemingly perfect -- which was my first clue. He was too nice!
Huw Collins: That's true. It's kind of like real life, honestly. If someone's too good to be true, they probably are too good to be true. Don't tell my wife that. But I think he was intentionally introduced mysteriously. He was in the first episode and then he disappeared for three episodes because he was at the Rollins family farm. And when he came back he wanted to get married. Ultimately, it had just gotten to the point where Rollins was involved enough to be suspicious. We were starting to see his relationship with Alison developing to the point where we were learning more about him. You were finally seeing them explore their love for each other, which as we now know Rollins had no love for her whatsoever -- he was just manipulating her entirely. But it had gotten to the point where fans were like, "Maybe I can trust this guy. He seems like he genuinely cares for Alison." That's why the reveal was completely justified. It felt like you knew just enough about him, and this sweet relationship he had with Ali, to be devastated by the fact that it was all a lie.
MTV: When I saw Wilden walk through that door, I actually screamed. That was a very clever little trick.
Collins: The mask reveal could have gone one of two ways, and I know I'm a little biased, but I think it was a really cool reveal, and it looked really authentic. I loved it. It was great fun -- a long process to make it happen, but it certainly paid off.
MTV: When you signed on as Dr. Rollins, did you know that this character was going to take a dark turn at some point?
Collins: Absolutely not. I think coming in as a major recurring character, you never can tell how the jigsaw is going to fit together. Sometimes when you get cast as something, or even during casting, something doesn't work, or it doesn't play out like you want it to play out, and they intentionally don't reveal where they think your character is going for that reason. However, I also think the other element of that is they like not telling you stuff. They like releasing it to you bit by bit because it adds another layer to the mystery, and I think that's apparent on the show. Even when I explicitly asked one of the producers if I was correct in assuming that Rollins was not this good guy we've come to know, even then he was like, "I can't really tell you that yet." But Marlene did eventually tell me before the table read because I think she knew that I would want some time to process it, and Sasha and I sat down with Marlene once we got the script to get some answers and explanations as for what that meant for our characters moving forward because it was a pretty dark reveal.
MTV: Has Marlene divulged Elliott's motivations to you yet, or is that something she'll wait until production starts on Season 7 to discuss with you?
Collins: I did have a discussion with Marlene this week about Dr. Rollins and some of his backstory. I'm sure there will be further discussions, and I think that we will how he and Mary Drake came to be. Rollins's backstory is inherently involved with Mary Drake's and with Charlotte's, and it will be really interesting to see exactly what that backstory is and what came to pass and how they met -- and why he's British. All of these questions that we've been left with at the end of Season 6 we will find out in this upcoming season. We're going to see answers on a far more regular basis that you're probably used to watching Pretty Little Liars.
MTV: So you anticipate plenty of flashbacks?
Collins: There's going to have to be an element of it, yes, and I think a lot of people would want that. We want to see how this huge mystery that has gone on all this time, over the past six seasons, you want to see the inception of that. You want to see how the seed got planted. So I think there will be a big flashback element to it. There's so much backstory to understand because not only do we have these two characters, Mary Drake and Dr. Rollins, who we really don't know that much about, but we obviously have this huge five-year gap to explore because that's going to be an element of how this half of the season has gone. It's going to be really interesting to see the true motivations driving Mary and Elliott and see why they're doing what they're doing because they might not align on that front.
MTV: You filmed a lot of your scenes with Sasha this past season. Heading into Season 7, now that Elliott is part of the central mystery, do you foresee interactions with other characters, other Liars, in particular?
Collins: I hope so. Obviously, coming in as a love interest you pretty much know that most of your scenes will be with that one character, but now that Elliott has revealed himself as part of something much bigger, I'd anticipate more scenes with different characters. It will be interesting to see how we pick up things because at this point in time only Mary knows Dr. Rollins's true self -- or at least she thinks she does -- and no one else is any the wiser. He's still good ol' American Dr. Rollins. It will be interesting to see how quickly that develops. Will Alison find out that he's not who he says he is? When will she find out? It's very open-ended at the moment.
MTV: I'm sure you heard some of the fan reaction already, but there are some fans who are very convinced that Dr. Rollins is just Wren Kingston in disguise. Could it be possible that Wren and Elliott know one another?
Collins: I think a lot of fans wanted Elliott to pull off another mask at the end of the episode and have Mr. Julian Morris [Wren] standing there in my stead. I'm sorry to all those people I disappointed, but we've all got to work, so they're just going to have to deal with it! Wren is a beloved character on the show, and rightly so. I can see why people would be keen for him to return to Rosewood, and I think a lot of people have questions as to whether Dr. Rollins is related to Wren. Is there a connection there? I think it's left open for that to be a possibility.
MTV: They are very similar characters!
Collins: They're both British. They're both doctors. They both have a unhealthy fascination with these girls. What are the chances? I would have to assume that there's a good residency program in Rosewood for British doctors because it would seem proportionally unusual.
MTV: As we approach Season 7, there are a lot of seemingly different Bad Guys in Rosewood. Not only do we have this Uber A figure and Charlotte's killer is still on the loose, but now we also have Elliott and Mary Drake. So do Elliott and Mary Drake tie into the bigger mystery here? Do they have anything to do with the A game?
Collins: The best way I can see Season 7 is that we're looking at a battle royale in Rosewood. There's a multitude of evil forces culminating in one small, sleepy town in Pennsylvania -- anything and everything is on the table with regards to how that plays out. When it comes to this A character, Elliott and Mary Drake are probably at the top of the list, either together or separately. If you're willing to use subterfuge to convince your wife she's going crazy, then I think most people would be prepared to do anything. Right now, they're a team, but will they be a team forever? That's the question for Season 7.
MTV: Finally, are we supposed to believe that Elliott was the person responsible for Ali falling down the stairs?
Collins: It would be too obvious to assume he pushed her down the stairs, given the fact that he's trying to keep his cover. You'd know if someone pushed you, right? I think it would be difficult to push someone with enough that they tumble down the stairs without risking an overall plot that is so detailed that it would potential ruin the whole charade. However, I would say that they chances of him having a hand in how that happened, or somehow facilitating it, are likely. Again, given the fact that this is a very elaborate plot, and nothing in Rosewood is ever coincidence.