After seven seasons of addictive twists and turns, Pretty Little Liars is barreling toward its final reveal.
With the final cycle currently airing on Freeform, the stars behind the long-running mystery drama spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the finale being both a perfect ending and a possible launchpad for future Pretty Little Liars endeavors - namely, a PLL movie.
"There's been a lot of goodbyes," Troian Bellisario told THR at the recent Freeform upfronts in New York City. "I used to count our last day on set and our last time to do this and that, and I realized I need to experience all of these things and enjoy it and take it all in. I'm sure we'll do something together for the finale, and then I'm sure there will be a 'Where Are They Now?' special of some sort."
After last week's premiere, nine episodes remain before the PLLs part ways after a seven-year TV run. Bellisario said there is "so much" coming down the pipe that she couldn't detail, but promised that it all builds up to one satisfying ending.
"It's such a great roller-coaster ride," she said of the final season. "It's romantic and salacious and dangerous and thrilling; it's everything the fans want."
That promise was echoed by her co-stars Shay Mitchell and Sasha Pieterse, who each called the final season a "love letter to the fans."
"It was the hardest thing we've ever done," Mitchell told THR of filming the final season. "To even be able to come to work and say our lines without crying over them was a challenge in itself. But we made it through, and this is without a doubt my favorite season." Pieterse added: "We really did try to savor everything we could, and it shows onscreen."
Despite the collective sadness on set over saying goodbye, all three stars agreed that it was time for the drama to end its small-screen run.
"We're such a mystery-based show," explained Bellisario. "You could watch the chemistry and see these girls growing together and apart for years, but there's only so long you can drag the mystery part out. The fans have waited so long; they deserve answers. It truly feels like it is time for the show to end because it's time for those answers to be revealed."
Pieterse said the finale ties the story into a "neat little bow," but that she would jump at the chance at doing a movie and reuniting the cast in the near future. Show creator I. Marlene King had told reporters ahead of the premiere that she plans to find a way to return to the PLL world "at some point in time."
"Rosewood goes on; there's always more to say," teased Pieterse.
Mitchell agreed, adding, "Sex and the City had two movies, so you never say never, right? It would absolutely be nice to see the PLLs again in five years, but I'll be catching up with them sooner than that."
Bellisario said the show reaches a natural conclusion where viewers will "get to imagine these girls going on and living these amazing lives while staying friends with each other." Which is why a big-screen adaptation would have a very different feel.
"We joke around about it being like SATC, 'Let's just put the PLLs in Dubai and see what happens!' But, how would you bring them back together?" she mused. "Once this mystery is done, it all depends on what the story would be. Would it just be about what they're doing in life, and if that were the case, some time would have to pass, and it would be very different."
She continued, "We love working together, and I think any opportunity to be together we would take, but it very much depends on the circumstances of the story. How terrible would that be if we waited 10 years, and we came out with a movie and people were like, 'Uh that was it?' We want to end on a high note."
King, for her part, just launched a new series, Famous in Love, on the cable network. And though she calls the moment a passing of the torch of sorts, she stopped short of saying goodbye to her original series.
"PLL will always be special," King told THR. "We built this worldwide, beautiful family of fans. It will never go away - we don't have to ever really say goodbye to it. That's how I deal with it."
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Freeform.