Pretty Little Liars became one of the first TV shows to go viral on Twitter. The series was born on ABC Family — which later transitioned to Freeform — and centered on four friends, Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Spencer (Troian Bellisario). The quartet lived in a small Pennsylvania town where their fifth friend, Alison (Sasha Pieterse), went missing one summer. Over the course of seven seasons, the girls were terrorized by a mysterious person calling themselves "A," a person who knew their darkest secrets and had no qualms about exposing them.
Now the show is back, sort of, rebooted as Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin for HBO Max. The new series follows an entirely new cast of characters in a different setting, but based on everything we know so far, it promises to be just as insane as the original series. So get out your notebooks, because it's time to figure out who A is yet again.
HBO Max announced that Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin will debut on July 28 with three new episodes. Two episodes will follow on both Aug. 4 and Aug. 11, with the final three episodes debuting on Aug. 18, for a 10-episode total first season.
It was revealed in August 2021 that the first episode will be titled, "Chapter One: Spirit Week."
The first teaser trailer puts a haunting spin on the original theme song as "A" defaces pictures and posters of the new liars. There are still a lot of big questions about the show's central mystery and how the girls are involved, but the teaser definitely wants you to know that this is a more dangerous A than we've ever encountered before.
Developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Lindsay Calhoon Bring (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Frequency), the show received a 10-episode direct-to-series order in September 2020.
The description from the HBO Max press release confirms that the show is set in the same universe as the original. It reads: "Twenty years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in the present day, a group of disparate teen girls — a brand-new set of Little Liars — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin their parents committed two decades ago...as well as their own. In the dark, coming-of-age, horror-tinged drama Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, we find ourselves miles away from Rosewood, but within the existing Pretty Little Liars universe — in a brand-new town, with a new generation of Little Liars."
Filming began in August 2021 in upstate New York. The outdoor scenes are being filmed in the small town of Hudson, while interiors are being shot in nearby Saugerties, according to Hudson Valley 360.
The series centers around five young women. Bailee Madison has been cast as Imogen, according to Deadline. Imogen is a "true survivor" and a "final girl" who will "drive the mystery of uncovering 'A'." HBO Max announced that Chandler Kinney has been cast as Tabby, "an aspiring director and horror movie buff. Like the other Little Liars, Tabby's hiding a secret," and Maia Reficco is playing Noa, a "striving, sardonic track star who's working hard to get her life back to normal after a summer spent in juvenile detention. Malia Pyles is Minnie, the youngest of the group. "Having survived a childhood trauma, Minnie spends most of her time in a virtual world, but she is more than capable of taking on the dark forces of Millwood — including 'A'," reports Deadline.
Deadline also reports that Zaria will play Faran, a ballerina desperate to get out of Millwood as she fights "a thousand microaggressions" in the cutthroat world of ballet.
According to Deadline, other cast members include Alex Aiono as Noa's boyfriend; Mallory Bechtel as Karen, the Queen Bee at Millwood High School; Eric Johnson as the local sheriff; Carson Rowland as Chip, who has a crush on Tabby; Jordan Gonzalez as Ash, a transgender student and love interest for Minnie; Ben Cook as Henry, Faran's partner on and off the stage; Elias Kacavas as Greg, one half of Karen's dysfunctional relationship; Benton Greene as Faran's father Zeke; Lea Salonga as Minnie's mom Elodie; Sharon Leal as Tabby's mom Sidney; Carly Pope as Imogen's mom Davie; Elena Goode as Noa's mom Marjorie; and Zakiya Young as Faran's mother Corey.
According to the HBO Max press release, Lisa Soper (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) will direct the first two episodes. Aguirre-Sacasa and Calhoon Bring have also said they are excited to honor the original series while bringing in "unexpected elements" to the new show.
"We're such huge fans of what I. Marlene King and her iconic cast created, we knew that we had to treat the original series as #CANON and do something different. So we're leaning into the suspense and horror in this reboot, which hopefully will honor what the fans loved about the hit series, while weaving in new, unexpected elements," said Aguirre-Sacasa and Calhoon Bring in a statement.
"Roberto and Lindsay are expanding the Pretty Little Liars universe with more murder, mysteries, and scandal, and we can't wait," added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max.
Additional executive producers include Caroline Baron, Jimmy Gibbons, Gina Girolamo, Michael Grassi, and Leslie Morgenstein. Sara Shepard, author of the Pretty Little Liars book series, also has a writing credit.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin will be released exclusively on HBO Max. If it follows the usual pattern, episodes will be released weekly. If you want to watch (or re-watch) the original ahead of the new series, all seven seasons are available on HBO Max.