Keeping up with Pretty Little Liars is no easy task, especially when one episode can drop so many (figurative) bombs. The last time we caught up with the Liars, Mary Drake was revealed to be the late Jessica DiLaurentis's twin sister, and she and Ali's shady husband, Elliot Rollins, were in cahoots to take over the Carisimmi Group and gain control of Charlotte's A-funds. Oh, and let's not forget that Hanna was kidnapped by Uber A, who we now know as A.D., minutes after confessing her true love for her ex Caleb, her best friend Spencer's now-boyfriend.
Like we said, things are complicated in Rosewood.
In an effort to clear some of the confusion ahead of the Season 7 premiere on June 21, MTV News talked to cocreator and executive producer Marlene King and got the scoop on the madness to come, from the "epic romance" to one returning character's shocking relationship with Charlotte. (King wouldn't disclose the character in question, but we're calling it now: It's Noel Khan.)
You've called this season the most romantic season yet. You also described it as the season of homecomings and perhaps the deadliest season. That's a whole lot of action for one season. How do you balance it all?
Marlene King: I wish we had two-hour episodes, but we're squeezing it all in. It's a true testament to how jam-packed this season is. It moves like a freight train, and there are reveals in every episode. I think it's going to be really rewarding for fans to see the show move at this pace.
How do Aria and Ezra feel in the wake of their big hookup?
King: It's all hands on deck when we return. It's all about Hanna and how far they will go to save Hanna. But when they find a moment alone together, you realize that they're still figuring it out. She literally says, "I'm not really sure what's going on here. Are we even a ‘we' again?" And that's the beginning of their story.
Someone recently said that something from Ezra's past comes back to haunt him this season. Does it have anything to do with the Nicole mystery?
King: Oh, who said that?
It was miss Lucy Hale.
King: That's why I don't tell her anything!
So it's a meatier season for Ezra?
King: Because it is a season of reunions and homecomings, a lot of people come back from every cast member's past. There's a lot of people who come back and sometimes complicate and sometimes just make things better. And some of them are mystery suspects.
OK ... so maybe we'll get a resolution to the Nicole mystery?
I want to talk about the Hanna-Caleb-Spencer love triangle that was developed last season and might come up again this season. The show has never done a proper love triangle. Why now?
King: It just felt like a more grown-up thing to do. It felt very unrealistic that when we made the five-year time jump that all of the couples would be back together. So it felt very fair and reasonable that those ships would be parted. And we wanted to face the challenge of now that Alison has brought them back to Rosewood and A.D. is keeping them there, will they find each other again? That really was our theme when we broke up the couples. That was the journey we began, and this season, you'll find out the answers to those journeys. I give credit to the writers' room that we did a love triangle, but we did it very fairly. Spencer really did go to Hanna and ask for permission, and I think the result of that we discuss a lot this season. It comes up a lot — that it was a grown-up decision that they made, but they're still going to have consequences because they all still have these strong feelings for each other.
Caleb, out of all of the characters, is probably feeling the lowest right about now.
King: He is. He feels the most guilty because he helped Hanna launch the plan, and he didn't know there was a hole in the floor under the bed and a tunnel out of there.* So I think he feels the most guilty and the most responsible and the most driven to hashtag save Hanna. [Ed. note: #SaveHanna]
We got Angry Ezra last season. Will we see Angry Caleb this season?
King: Tyler [Blackburn] is such a great actor. He's got so many layers, and that character goes through a lot this season. It's so fun to watch it play out. He experiences anger and sadness and happiness and sexy time. It's a whole spectrum of emotions.
One of my favorite reveals last season was that Mary Drake was Mrs. DiLaurentis's twin sister, and that she was working with Elliot Rollins. Will his previous history with Charlotte be pieced together this season via flashbacks?
King: Well, that is a big part of the story we're going to tell this summer. Who is Mary Drake, and what's she about? And did Charlotte know about Mary Drake? How much about Charlotte did Mary Drake know? It's all part of the mystery that's woven throughout the season.
Can we expect to see Vanessa Ray this season?
King: She will be part of the season. Actually, one of our characters who's coming back had a relationship with Charlotte that we didn't know about, and we'll see that in a flashback.
You're planning a PLL wedding this season. What's the ratio of romance to mayhem at this particular Rosewood event?
King: I think it's 50/50. But it's going to be very, very romantic. All of the Liars are getting epic romance this season. They're having a lot of fun with it. At the table read, when the proposal was read out loud, a lot of people were crying, especially the Liars, because it's so romantic.
*LOL. This show is the best.