Every Connection Between the "Original Pretty Little Liars" and "Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin"

·7 min read
Photo credit: HBO Max
Photo credit: HBO Max

*Major spoiler for Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and Pretty Little Liars ahead!*

HBO Max's brand new show Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin has yet to cement any direct ties to its predecessor, but that doesn't mean fans of the original Pretty Little Liars aren't on the hunt for Easter eggs.

It's been over five years (!!) since we saw Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchells), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Spencer ( Troian Bellisario) on our screens, so let's start with a little refresher. Pretty Little Liars was a teen mystery-thriller show based on a book series of the same name by Sara Shepard. The story goes like this: After the assumed death of their friend Allison, former best friends Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer get a text from 'A' threatening to reveal their secrets. Across seven seasons, the girls teamed up to unmask the anonymous assailant who was threatening to reveal their darkest secrets.

The new spin-off, PLL: Original Sin, starring Bailee Madison as Imogen Adams, Maia Reficco as Noa Olivar, Chandler Kinney as Tabitha' Tabby' Hayworth, Malia Pyles as Minnie' Mouse' Honrada, and Zaria as Faran Bryant tells the familiar tale of a masked attacker threatening to reveal the Little Liars' darkest secrets. PLL: Original Sin adds a generational twist, connecting the frightening occurrence the young girls are experiencing to a tragic event their parents' witnessed 20 years ago.

Fans of the original PLL have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new spin-off since it was announced in September 2020 that Riverdale creator and showrunner, Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, was given the green light to reboot the teen drama. And, of course, viewers want to know if any hints of Rosewood would be brought into Millwood, where our five new liars reside.

Ahead, find the mind-blowing connections that Pretty Little Liars and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin have to each other, including plot Easter eggs and references to classic horror movies.

'A' is back in Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

First seen in the June 15 teaser trailer, 'A' is back and has ditched the red coat and all-black 'fit for a far more sinister look that includes a mask with no face. This 'A' has the same habit as the original 'A,' signing their threatening texts with the initial. It's easy to see the parallels between the new gals receiving their first text — "One down. Five to go. - A"— and Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer reading their first text — "I'm still here, bitches. And I know everything. - A."

Both series are set in Pennsylvania

Photo credit: Barbara Nitke
Photo credit: Barbara Nitke

According to Philly Voice, the original PLL is set in Rosewood, a fictional town close to Philadelphia, and based on the real-life upper-middle-class suburb of Rosemont. Original Sin's location, Millwood, is described by HBO Max as being a "blue-collar town" close to Rosewood. So maybe we'll get to see a glimpse of Rosewood since the two locations are so close.

There's a controversial adult and high schooler relationship

It seems that history is repeating itself regarding adult/high-schooler romances. In the first episode of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, we see Tabby *almost* kiss her boss Wes, who has already graduated from college and manages the local movie theater. This relationship seems to mirror the controversial relationship between Aria and Ezra from Pretty Little Liars. Aria was Ezra's student when the two formed a relationship. Big yikes. 😬

There are twins in both the original and reboot

Photo credit: Barbara Nitke
Photo credit: Barbara Nitke

Do twins mean double the trouble? Pretty Little Liars and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin writers certainly seem to think so! Both the new show and the original book series include a set of blonde twin sisters in the main character cast, with Alison and Courtney DiLaurentis in the novels and Mallory Bechtel playing Karen and Kelly Beasley in the reboot. Like Alison and Courtney, Karen and Kelly have a thing for pretending to be each other. We see this in PLL: Original Sin "Chapter Two: The Spirit Queen" when Kelly pretends to be Karen while talking to the principal of Millwood High School, Marshall Clanton (Robert Stanton).

At the end of Chapter Two, Karen is tossed from the school gym's rafters, killing her immediately. But since the girls often pretend to be each other, the question has to come up of whether that was even Karen who died. Imogen, who had been close friends with the twins, thought she'd approached Karen at the dance only for the girl to say she was Kelly. If the switch theory is true, that means Kelly was the one that died, and Karen is still alive.

Sound familiar? In the original PLL, Courtney pretends to be Alison, sending her sister away to live as "Courtney" in a mental institution called The Preserve. The real Alison escapes, coming back to kill her sister Courtney (aka fake Alison). Courtney's body is later found and believed to be Alison's body. It isn't until later in the book series that we find out Alison is alive and Courtney is the one who is dead.

PLL: Original Sin co-creator Lindsay Calhoon Bring tells TV Insider, "We do answer the question of is it Karen or is it Kelly in the season. We have fun with that. In our minds, Karen and Kelly are such amazing schemers and such amazing tricksters, and they have a history of fooling people and playing with people, so we think they could really fool anybody. Those two are clever girls."

PLL and PLL: Original Sin uses the same song in their opening credits

The haunting tune ("Secrets" by The Pierces) that plays while Emily, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna stand in front of their friend Alison's coffin during the opening credits of the original PLL is back. Remixed to be even creepier, the unforgettable lyrics of "Got a secret, can you keep it?" are heard while we watch the menacing 'A' destroy pictures of our new Liars.

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin pays homage to many horror movie classics

Photo credit: HBO Max
Photo credit: HBO Max

Like our little film buff Tabby, we've been doing our research when it comes to movie references. The new slasher vibe that Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin has reminds us of many flicks. The twins' plan of dumping red paint on Imogen when she accepts the Spirit Queen title comes straight from the film Carrie, while the first anonymous text Tabby gets from 'A' reads "What's your favorite scary movie?" a line taken right out of Scream. In addition, the show's key art poster looks like it could be an ad for the 1990s teen horror flick I Know What You Did Last Summer, further cementing PLL: Original Sin's connection to the scary movie genre.

And the horror movie references and Easter Eggs we've gotten in the first three episodes aren't the only ones we can expect to see during this season.

"Lindsay and I, as writers and creators, are fans [of the franchise]," Roberto tells TVLine. "We're fanboys and fangirls. We love this stuff. We love when characters [from other shows] pop in, we love the crossover episodes." At least at the beginning, however, the team did want to really establish our town and our girls without being in the shadow of that original, iconic franchise."

According to Aguirre-Sacasa, "Once you hit Episode 6, the Easter eggs — and more than Easter eggs — start coming fast and furiously." Even better, he teased that these exciting references to the original Pretty Little Liars will continue "up to literally the last moment of the last episode."

So keep your eyes peeled and this page at the ready because you never know what dirty secrets we'll uncover while watching Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin. — A

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