Pretty Little Liars is back on small screens this month, but as a brand new series with a fresh cast coming just five years after the original hit series concluded in 2017.
The show’s producers, who come from the world of dark youth dramas, having worked on Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, told LAMag about their excitement to work on the latest teen drama reboot (see Gossip Girl, 90210) and how they were overjoyed to work with the new cast at the premiere of the HBOMax series, which premieres July 28.
“When we were developing the show, we knew we wanted to create new characters, but we also knew we wanted those characters to reflect the world we’re living in, to reflect our friendships, to reflect our families, our loved ones, ourselves,” showrunner Lindsay Calhoon Bring said. “Especially right now, more than ever, I think a story about female friendship and empowerment is so important.”
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa added those early conversations included a discussion around adding a male character to the core group of liars, which was ultimately nixed; while they are focused on creating a new storyline for the franchise, they didn’t want to change the show’s beating heart: female empowerment.
“This is the franchise that is about these girls and it’s specifically about being a young woman going through the world. There’s the horror villain of A, who’s like Michael Myers, but it’s also about the daily dangers and the daily challenges and the daily traumas and dramas,” he said. “Hopefully you’ve got amazing friends like these girls to help you through it.”
A bit about the plot of the reboot: In the present day, a disparate group of teen girls find themselves tormented by an unknown assailant and made to pay for the secret sin committed by their parents two decades earlier. The show takes place miles away from the original setting of Rosewood but within the show’s universe.
“I think it really honors the original, but I also think it tells its own new story,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “It doesn’t feel like we’re trying to replace or fix or reinvent. The original is so perfect, but this is a new thing and it’s expanding the universe that was created in Sarah Shepard’s books and on Marlene King’s show.”
While both showrunners agree that they felt intimidated when this project fell into their laps, they admit the greatest joy is watching the five new main cast members consisting of super fans of the original series, Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles and Maia Reficco, realize they’re now taking the torch of the franchise.
“The Original Sin little liars, they themselves were such superfans of the original PLL, it’s crazy. So even I know they were so excited when some of the OG PLL’s started tweeting and posting about the trailer. I think it’s really fun to see those fans now embodying a new generation,” Aguirre-Sacasa said.
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