Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisarion, Lucy Hale
What's in the trunk? Pretty Little Liars fans will find out almost immediately in the Season 4 premiere.
"Within 30 seconds you'll know what's in the trunk," executive producer Marlene King tells TVGuide.com. "We usually have these big reveals in finales, but this is one of the first time we've had had a premiere with lots of answers."
When the ABC Family series wrapped up its third season, viewers watched as Hanna (Ashley Benson), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Aria (Lucy Hale) and nemesis Mona (Janel Parrish) were pulled out of a burning house by a shadowy figure that a few of the girls — and the audience — recognized as the dead former Queen Bee Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse). Is she really alive? And is she the omniscient Red Coat directing the "A" Team all along? Plus: What did the girls discover in the final moment of the winter finale that had them gasping? King gives us a preview of what's to come below.
How much will be revealed in this premiere?
Marlene King: This whole season is the season of answers. We decided let's not wait until the last season of the show to give all of these answers. We have so many questions we've asked and fans have been really patient, so this is the entire season of answers and the premiere sets the tone for that.
Is what's in the trunk really that horrifying?
King: It's something I personally look away from every time I see that scene.
Mona is now working with the girls to uncover red coat. How does that change the dynamic?
King: It changes it up in a really fun and dynamic way. Mona has [a lot of] answers and now she needs the PLLs as much as they need her, so now she uses her knowledge as a bargaining chip to ingratiate herself back with them.
Can they trust her?
King: They're never going to trust her and there are some lovely scenes between Hanna and Mona where it's like, "Can it be business as usual? Can we go back to where we were? Is it ever possible for you to trust me again?" The PLLs aren't stupid — she hit Hanna with a car! So she has a lot of work to do to attempt to earn back their trust.
Will she be redeemed at all this season?
King: For me, she is, and I think you'll see there are some very noble gestures she takes on to prove that. She has a line in the premiere I just love, where she says to Hanna, "I really was your friend once and I really loved you once," and she means it and you can tell she means it. If you go back to Season 1 and look at Mona and how Alison treated her, you see why she snapped and became "A." There's a part of me that still feels bad for Mona and I think there's a part of Hanna that still feels bad for Mona and that's Mona's way in.
When will we find out if Alison is really alive?
King: We address it right away but you don't find the answer to it in the premiere. Was it Ali? Was it someone wearing an Ali mask? That really is the theme of the season as well and you will find out by the end of the season if it was Ali or them thinking they saw Ali or possibly someone in an Ali mask.
You tweeted that we'll learn the identity of the Queen of Hearts. Any hints?
King: I think it's really shocking and really fun and it's definitely an "OMG" moment. I don't people are going to be expecting who that is.
Keegan Allen told us that we're going to learn a lot about Toby's heartbreaking past. What will we find out?
King: We meet Toby's mom in the premiere in a flashback. We've hinted that something was wrong and she died when he was 14 or 15 and we really get into the story that there could be a mystery surrounding their death; it may not be what the Cavanaugh family thought it was. It turns out to be a story woven into our "Who is 'A'?" story.
Spencer and Toby are back together when the season starts, but how can she get past what he did to her?
King: The trust becomes an issue right away and it is hard to pretend like nothing happened. In the premiere, we find out "A" isn't done with Toby and "A" is going to give something to Toby if he delivers something in return. It really does open up a can of worms for Spencer and Toby and they're going to have to see if they can survive it.
Is there one character really targeted or highlighted this season like Spencer was last season?
King: In this season, "A" really decides to go after the parents of the PLLs. A couple of them encounter great difficulty because of it, but there is one parent who really suffers at the hand of "A" the most. There's one family who gets really drug through it this season.
You once told us you had thought about putting Aria and Jason together but it didn't pan out. Now that she's single, would you revisit that?
King: It's certainly not off limits and they have really great chemistry and Aria is open to dating. It takes her a little while to get there and she does this lovely scene with Emily where Emily says, "There's this thing called a double date. You wouldn't know what it is, Aria, because you've never been on one." She will start looking out there and realizing there is life after Fitz (Ian Harding).
Tell us about the new character, Officer Holbrook (Sean Faris)?
King: He's a new cop in town and he has a partner, Tanner, and they're good cops. We'll find out more and more what Wilden (Bryce Johnson) has been up to and he certainly has been after the PLLs, so it's nice to have two cops come on the scene looking for the truth. But sometimes looking for the truth isn't comforting to them; they have a lot to hide.
Tyler Blackburn is heading to Ravenswood. Will he get a good send-off?
King: I had long talks with both him and Ashley when we made this decision because both actors were apprehensive. We're giving them this lovely Casablanca moment in our Halloween event episode and they were both really happy with that and they feel like our fans will embrace it too and we certainly hope it feels seamless in that way.
Any final teases?
King: We've got a lot great new characters coming into Rosewood with answers, information, secrets, and we're really most excited about giving the fans answers. It's really exciting to know that people are going to finally realize if their theories were correct. We've been laying clues for a long time with little Easter eggs and it's fun to start watching them pay off.
Pretty Little Liars premieres on Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC Family.