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‘PLL: Summer School’ Has ‘Unwritten Rule’ About Not Killing Off the Leads — But No One Else Is Safe (Exclusive)

PLL Summer School Has Unwritten Rule About Not Killing Off the Leads — But No One Else Is Safe 801
Karolina Wojtasik/Max

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School fans shouldn’t be worried about the final girls being killed off — but everyone else is fair game.

“We love these characters and we’re rooting for these characters. We are rooting for these girls to be survivors and final girls,” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa exclusively told Us Weekly about how the writers’ room views Imogen (Bailee Madison), Tabby (Chandler Kinney), Faran (Zaria), Mouse (Malia Pyles) and Noa (Maia Reficco).

According to Aguirre-Sacasa, it is actually set in stone that the core five will always survive, adding, “There’s sort of an unwritten rule about them. But if you’re not them, terrible things might happen at any moment.”

Cocreator Lindsay Calhoon Bring agreed with the assessment while teasing the vision for season 2. “We can find that amazing horror film fodder while also — as Roberto was saying — protecting our current ethos that all of our girls are final girls.”

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The Pretty Little Liars reboot, which debuted on Max in 2022, picked up where the original series left off by introducing a group of friends who get tormented by a person named A. During the season 1 finale, the girls discovered that Angela’s (Gabriella Pizzolo) brother Archie was behind the murders.

The second season raised the stakes ever higher by introducing Bloody Rose — who may have a connection to Archie. Fans, however, should expect some changes as the show gets even more gritty, spooky and fun. After originally going by Pretty Little Liars: OG Sin, season 2 rebranded to reflect the new story line with Pretty Little Liars: Summer School.

“That was the biggest conversation we had after season 1. Were we going to keep the theme of the Original Sin? One of the reasons we decided to try a different theme and a different subtitle is because we felt like would we ever beat the original sin from season 1?” Aguirre-Sacasa explained to Us. “We thought, ‘Would it ever be as personal and as primal as [the girls being punished for their mothers’ crimes]?’ So maybe it’s OK to move off of that idea.”

Bring noted how important it was to build upon what OG Sin initially set up.

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“We did not want to forget any of the themes or the traumas from season 1. Rather than skip over them, we wanted our characters to work through them this season,” she detailed. “What’s more fun than summer — especially if you’re young. And the idea that the one thing these characters are looking forward to is their summer break and then it’s taken away from them and they’re stuck and they’re trapped.”

The new theme presented a way for the main friend group to keep addressing their issues.

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Karolina Wojtasik/Max

“We thought that was so great thematically to show where these girls are now as they’re trapped. They’re not moving forward from the events of their past and the events of season 1,” Bring told Us. “So this season was all about moving them forward, giving them tools to do so and letting them have fun. All of those things were really important to us.”

While there are hints at a lighter tone, Pretty Little Liars: Summer School is still the perfect slasher series.

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“There were a lot of conversations about how much was too much and is this something that our audience would respond to? One of the things people really responded to was the slasher vibes and the slasher villain. So that gave us the permission to really lean into that in season 2,” Aguirre-Sacasa said. “Whatever discussions we would have with our network and our studio executives — who’ve been really supportive — was, ‘Oh, is this leaning too much or do we need this?’ Those conversations were gone and we were really encouraged to lean into that. Bloody Rose is an even more terrifying and profound figure of horror.”

Bring, meanwhile, pointed out that setting the season in the summer gave them a specific timetable, adding, “The trick for us is keeping the horror alive, making things scary and giving life or death stakes. But [it is also] knowing that our seasons go over the course of months at a time. So it’s finding new and inventive and terrifying ways we can put our girls through their paces.”

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School is available to stream on Max with new episodes released on Thursdays.

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