Easter ‘A’ggs are all around us!
*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.
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
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. 😬
Blink and you probably missed this teeny Easter Egg that Noa found in her mom’s purse. In episode 4, Noa discovers a pill bottle of oxycodone in her mom’s purse. Problem is the pills are prescribed to someone else. Specifically, they’re prescribed to a man named Caleb Rivers. Yep! The very same character Tyler Blackburn played for all seven seasons of the original Pretty Little Liars and the spin-off, Ravenswood.
During episode 7, the Millwood football team gets in a verbal fight with the varsity jacket-clad Rosewood football team at the Millwood town carnival. This confirms that the towns aren’t too far apart and that there is a sports rivalry between the two schools.
During Tabby and Imogen’s trip to Rosewood, they learn from Eddie that after the Radley asylum shut down, some of the patients like Angela’s mother were bussed out of town, while others were sent to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy in the town of Riverdale. Yes, *that* Riverdale over on The CW show.
In Riverdale, Sisters of Quiet Mercy is a super scary nunnery known for conversion therapy, torture, and working as a front for a candy drugs operation. But the Easter eggs don’t stop there. During episode seven, we meet the receptionist at Millwood High. Her name? Mrs. Bell, which is the same name as the receptionist at Riverdale High, over on Riverdale. They’re different actresses, but the connection still stands.
In case you’re wondering how Riverdale has snuck its way into PLL: Original Sin, the show is co-run by Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and the production company is Warner Bros. for both. So should we expect the Liars to head over to Riverdale during their exploration into Angela Waters? Will Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) pop in to give them some investigative tips? Probably not, but it’s still a fun Easter Egg to discuss, and be on the lookout for more crossover clues.
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.
In episode six, Tabby and Imogen head to Rosewood to discover any clues they can about Angela Waters’ mom, who use to be a patient at Radley Sanitarium. Once they arrive, they discover it’s been turned into the Radley Hotel. But luckily the front desk attendant knows a man named Eddie Lamb who can help answer any questions. You know, the same Eddie Lamb that befriended both Mona Vanderwaal and Spencer Hastings while they were patients in the original PLL series.
Tabby also pays a visit to a shop named “Ezra’s Books” while exploring Rosewood. For fans of the original series, you’ll remember that Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding) worked at a bookstore in Rosewood called Rear Window Brews. It’s entirely possible that this is the same shop with a new name, or Ezra opened his own store.
As a 16-year-old girl who just lost her mother, Imogen decides she is not ready to take care of her baby on her own. She decides to put her baby up for adoption and the adoptive family is revealed to be Aria Montgomery and Ezra Fitz.
Imogen explains to Tabby that Aria and Ezra have agreed to an open adoption, meaning Imogen will receive updates on her child as well as possible visits. While season two of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin has yet to be confirmed, we would love to see Aria and Ezra make a cameo appearance in the next installment.
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
Abby is an editorial assistant at Seventeen, covering pop culture, beauty, life, and health. When she’s not busy watching the latest true crime docuseries, you can find her strolling through Sephora, thrifting the perfect dress, or jogging with her pup.
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